We See Chick Flicks: “Let Me In”

Starring Chloe Moretz and Kodi Smit-Mcphee
Directed by Matt Reeves

You’ve probably heard all the buzz and controversy about “Let Me In,” an American adaptation of the Swedish vampire flick “Let the Right One In.” Those who love the original swear that “Let Me In” can’t be half as good. I have to say that I really can’t recall any part of “Let the Right One In,” even though I saw it about a year ago. Maybe that says that it really wasn’t all that remarkable to me? Or maybe it was such an intense horror film that my brain has safely blocked it out of my memory for good reason? I don’t know, and I’m not going to get into the debate of which one is better. All I know is “Let Me In” had me completely captivated from beginning to end, and I haven’t been able to get the film off my mind since I saw it on Monday night.Director Matt Reeves, who also directed “Cloverfield,” does a wonderful job of building suspense with the help of a jarring soundtrack and dark, almost sepia-toned imagery. But the real stunner of “Let Me In” is Chloe Moretz, who played Hit-Girl in “Kick-Ass.” As vampire girl Abby, Moretz convinces you that she’s this un-human creature with every grotesque snarl, ferocious bite, and bloodthirsty tantrum. Gone is the romance that’s prevalent between most vampires and humans. There’s no glamouring. Abby savagely attacks and bites with the intent of any hungry animal.

But it’s through her interaction with social outcast Owen, played by Kodi Smit-McPhee, that we glimpse into her humanity. They form a profound bond that isn’t based on carnal desires, but on their mutual loneliness or maybe boredom on her part. The trailer leads you to believe that Abby is the evil that has invaded this small town, but, really, Owen’s vicious bullies are the true evil. And they definitely get theirs.

Despite being an American film, “Let Me In” has the feel of a foreign film because there isn’t an oversimplification or over-exploration of the facts. Everything is what it is and you have to pay attention. I will say, though, that nothing was surprising. I felt as if I were walking right along with Reeves, not like he was yelling back to explain what happened. I also found “Let Me In” more suspenseful, if only for the cacophony of sound signaling doom and gloom, than scary. Abby’s grisly vampire moments were horrific and strangely satisfying because for much of the film she’s simply a peculiar 12-year-old girl. I wholeheartedly recommend seeing “Let Me In” in the theater, and just might see it again myself.