"Let Me In"

I didn't expect that "Let Me In" would be my cup of tea - Fandango.com says that it's rated "R" for "Strong bloody horror violence." However, the film ended up surprising me, in that its actual content - when one looks further than the bloodshed - told an interesting story, and one that we all might be able to relate to, even as humans.

Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee, "Matching Jack") doesn't have a lot of friends and is being bullied by his fellow classmates, so when Abby (Chloe Moretz, "Kick-Ass") moves in across the hall from him, he is happy to be able to make a new friend. From the very start, however, something is off about her - she tells him that they can't be friends, and she doesn't wear shoes while walking in the snow, even though she says her feet aren't cold. Abby lives with a man Owen presumes is her father (Richard Jenkins, "Eat Pray Love"), and they pretty much keep to themselves. Soon, against Abby's initial decree, she and Owen become friends, and it is then that he learns the truth about her: she "needs blood to live," as she tells him, and although she's 12 years old, the same age as him, she's "been 12 for a while now."

There were definitely a few cringe-worthy scenes in this movie. Most of the scenes in which Abby turns vampire-esque (she is able to jump to/from trees with abandon, her eyes narrow, and she has blood all over her face) are quite grotesque, and there is a scene in a hospital in which a "new" vampire burns and turns to dust when the window shade is open. Ignoring these, however, I actually found the movie to be quite good, albeit slow in parts. It's based on a Swedish movie, too, called "Let the Right One In," which I haven't seen, but I had heard that this version (the Americanized one) has a lot more bloodshed in it.

Maybe see this movie. Like I mentioned, I don't usually like horror films but I did like this one, although it's probably not one I will rent when it comes out on DVD. However, I believe that both horror and non-horror fans can find some value in it. The themes in the movie are ones that we, as humans, can relate to - a boy is beat up daily by bullies and looks to make a new friend; a girl knows it's wrong to steal (although she needs blood instead of food, in this case) but is so hungry that she cannot stop herself from doing so (indeed, a scene in which Abby sits on a play structure clutching her stomach portrays her more as a starving, undernourished child than a vampire that will stop at nothing for blood). The end of the movie, too, although quite gory at first, is kind of touching in a way, as Abby returns and helps Owen to fight his tormentors. I also really liked how the film "showed" more than "told" - the identity of the man Abby is living with, for example, can be figured out through a photograph lying on the table. "Let Me In" is definitely not for the faint of heart, but I found it to be an interesting twist on a subject that is becoming all too omnipresent in today's movies and TV shows, and it is a film I would recommend for those seeking "real" vampires that don't sparkle when they step outside into the sunlight.

"Let Me In" will be in theaters on October 1st.

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