It's Horror Movie Month! "Let Me In" Review

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A remake of the Swedish film Let the Right One In, this 2010 version is still set in the 1980's, although the location has changed from Stockholm to Los Alamos, New Mexico. There a 12-year-old boy named Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee) lives in an apartment building. A girl named Abby (Chloe Moretz) moves into a unit with a man (Richard Jenkins) that Owen takes to be her father. Soon afterwards, a series of bizarre murders take place, prompting an investigation by a policeman (Elias Koteas).
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It's Horror Movie Month! "Let Me In" Review

Rating: R (violence, language, sexual situations)
Length: 116 minutes
Release Date: Oct. 1, 2010
Directed by: Matt Reeves
Genre: Drama, Horror, and Mystery

Directed and written by Matt Reeves, "Let Me In" is a romantic vampire movie that mostly received positive reviews from critics and viewers. It's a commendable remake of the Swedish movie "Let the Right One In," which was based on John Lindqvist's novel. It's a fresh take of vampire romanticism which has been popularized in the recent years by the 2008 romantic fantasy movie "Twilight." The movie elicits sensations of tender affection as well as intense anxiety and dread.

Vampire romanticism is a popular genre not only in movies but also in TV shows like "Vampire Diaries" and "True Blood" as influenced by the smoldering romance between the main protagonists in "Twilight." "Let Me In" received much critical acclaim for the effective performance of the young characters and for Matt Reeves' solid directing. Reeves previously created "Cloverfield" which is a sci-fi thriller movie that also shows clever, artful directing.

"Let Me In" involves two 12-year-old children, Abby (Chloe Grace Moretz) and Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee), who develop an innocent, sympathetic friendship with each other. Abby initially appears mysterious. She's a blood-craving vampire who needs a daily dose of blood to survive.

The subtext of their relationship is simply loneliness. This feeling results from being outcasts in their own worlds. Abby has been living as a bloodthirsty vampire for a long time now, and she has only one known companion who poses as her guardian. Owen, on the other hand, is meek and fragile, and he's often bullied at school. He's also mostly ignored by his parents, who are in the middle of a divorce.

The movie begins in 1983, when a disfigured man is brought to an ambulance. A police detective (Elias Koteas) investigates the case and interviews the injured man, who's considered a suspect in recent murders. However, a few minutes later, the man jumps out of the window, leaving the detective baffled.

The scenes then rewind to two weeks earlier. Owen often binges on candy and isolates himself in his room, where he occasionally spies on the neighbors with the use of a telescope. He sometimes stands before the mirror and imagines that he is a sadistic serial killer.  Abby soon moves into the next apartment with her clumsy guardian (Richard Jenkins). The first time they meet each other, she tells Owen that they can't be friends. However, the two share a unique connection, and Abby becomes Owen's ally in a pact of sworn mutual protection.

Their bond grows stronger as Owen discovers that Abby is a vampire who needs human blood in order to survive. They constantly communicate in Morse code on the apartment walls. Owen continues to be bullied at school by Kenny (Dylan Minnette) and his pals Mark (Jimmy Pinchak) and Donald (Nicolai Dorian). Owen never tells his mother about getting bullied, but he confesses his heartaches to Abby, and she offers to help him and urges him to fight back.

There are intense moments in the film when the two protagonists encounter horrifying events that force them to make decisions. They develop a closer, more fervent companionship as gruesome crimes take place.

Moretz and Smit-McPhee's powerful performances are hauntingly believable. They easily evoke feelings of sympathy, sorrow, compassion, and anxiety from the audience. They show outstanding maturity and chemistry on screen. As a ferocious vampire, Moretz convincingly portrays the vicious side of her character. She exhibits an impressive performance, particularly in scenes where she shows off Abby's vampire capabilities.

"Let Me In" holds several surprises for viewers. Reeves demonstrates delicate sensitivity and visual wit, with most of the action scenes shot in low light, and the images warped and blurred to convey the protagonists' disorientation and isolation.

With Matt Reeves' sharp script, the storyline is entirely captivating. Reeves successfully managed to depict interesting characters with evident onscreen chemistry. The movie has an eerily fascinating mood that focuses on the characters' intimacy and emotions, rather than slick horror effects. The pacing is also good, and the soundtrack suits the mood perfectly.  The last half hour of the film picks up a quick pace as threatening situations impend.

"Let Me In" is a poignantly fascinating vampire movie that captivates the viewer's attention. It lets you see and feel how Owen and Abby go deeper into their world that's teeming with various dangers and threats. The friendship and love they share are more evoking than many similar recent movies in the vampire genre. This remake has an emotional depth that resonates with the original movie.

Rating: 4 out of 5