Vampires have been a cornerstone to horror nearly as long as the genre has been present in cinema. Classics like Nosferatu and Dracula have been inspiring creative minds for decades; now to the point of reinventing the monster for modern audiences. Similar to the original Swedish film, “Let Me In” tells the story of a lonely boy, Owen (Kodi Smit McPhee), who befriends a girl who is actually a vampire(Chloe Grace Moretz). When we mostly see vampires in movies it’s predominantly the evil side with little look into their psyche. However, “Let Me In” attempts to change all that.
From the start of the picture it’s obvious that Owen isn’t in the ideal position of his life. Issues arise at home as his single mother is going through the emotional turmoil that is divorce. On top of his home not being a comfortable refuge, it seems that Owen is completely surrounded by negativity; being the main target of bullies at school. The kids that torment him are much more than bad eggs- berating him with words and at times disturbing abuse. Having great choice in dialogue and young actors, you really begin to hate these kids; especially once you see the toll that is taken upon Owen. Kodi Smit-Mcphee does a great job portraying this timid loner, as we get a sense that he is just looking for a brighter outlook on life.
Unexpectedly, Owen is introduced to Abby as she moves in next door. Though we aren’t given much backstory, it is quickly revealed that she is in fact a vampire. As predicted, Chloe Grace Moretz puts on another fantastic performance. We get both a girl struggling with her own specific quarrels as well as the more sinister side of her. When her instincts kick in Abby becomes a rabid killer with very inhuman like movement. For the most part these scenes are in dimly lit areas, making the usage of CGI become less apparent- a smart way to showcase superhuman agility and carnage without showing the strings. As for the look it very much so the modern take on the undead with almost zombie-like white eyes and a slight discoloration of the skin; which can be jarring when regarding the vampire is just a twelve year old girl.
The film does begin quite slow, but in a matter of setting up the world in which Owen seems trapped in. Once the two characters meet the film begins to pick up for the better. The friendship between Owen and Abby is quite endearing as it portrays an innocent and all the more believable relationship between two individuals that couldn’t be more opposites to each other yet still compatible with one another.
There are a few instances of terror and suspense, but nothing that will keep you up at night. That’s no worry though, as the relationship between the kids is what really makes this film. If it had to be labeled “Let Me In” would be part horror, part romance and part coming-of-age. When a feasting of blood isn’t taking up the camera there is a much more beautiful aspect that seems to be missing from most horror films- a compelling story that makes you feel for the characters.