The idea of being a vampire might appeal to some, eternal youth sounds pretty good right? There are a huge amount of movies that portray the life of a vampire in a positive light but then there are films like this one. Let Me In isn’t about the fun and games one could have as a creature of the night, it’s a dark, brutal story about a bullied boy who falls in love with his neighbour; as you might have guessed, she’s a vampire. While she may portray innocence on the outside, deep down she’s a ruthless creature that’s willing to do anything to survive.
An unnamed police detective tries to question a mysterious, terribly disfigured man about a recent murder. The detective is called to a phone and told that the man’s daughter was just downstairs. While he is on the phone, the man jumps out of the window leaving behind a scrawled note that reads “I’m sorry Abby.”
Two weeks earlier, Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee), an unhappy and lonely 12-year-old boy who is neglected by his divorcing parents, sees a young girl named Abby (Chloë Grace Moretz) and an older man, Thomas (Richard Jenkins), moving in next door and notices that she is barefoot despite the snow.
Owen meets Abby one night and asks if she is cold upon seeing no footwear on her feet. Abby states that she doesn’t get cold. Owen and Abby become close friends and start communicating by Morse code through the walls of their apartments.
At school, a bully named Kenny (Dylan Minnette) and two of his friends constantly terrorize Owen, who lies to his mother about it but tells Abby the truth. Abby encourages him to retaliate.
Thomas murders a man and collects the blood, but accidentally spills it. Hungry, Abby attacks a concerned neighbour named Jack (Chris Browning) to drink his blood, revealing that she is a vampire.
On another night, Thomas hides in the back of a teenager’s car, murders the passenger, and tries to flee, but crashes the car and becomes trapped inside. He pours concentrated sulfuric acid on his face, disfiguring himself to prevent his identification. He is taken to the hospital, bringing the story back to the first scene.
Abby learns what happened and climbs up the hospital building to see Thomas after speaking to the front desk worker who noticed that Abby is barefoot upon departure and couldn’t find her afterwards. She knocks on the window and he points to his throat, unable to speak, and leans out of the window; Abby drinks his blood. Thomas passes out and falls to his death.
That night, Owen is awakened by Abby who insists he verbally invite her in.
The next day, Owen’s class goes ice-skating on the river. Kenny and his friends threaten to throw Owen into a hole in the ice. Emboldened by his relationship with Abby, Owen hits Kenny with a metal pole, splitting his left ear and causing him to scream in pain.
Later, Owen sees Abby and hoping to make a blood pact with her, cuts his finger. Unable to control herself, Abby laps up a drop of Owen’s blood revealing her vampire form. Not wanting to hurt Owen, the barefoot vampire flees and instead attacks a woman named Virginia.
The next night, Abby admits to Owen that she is a vampire after seeing her bleeding when she is not invited in and that Thomas was not her father. Owen discovers an aged photo of her with Thomas as a young boy. As Thomas continued to age, he posed as Abby’s father while she did not physically age past twelve.
In the hospital the next morning, a nurse goes into Virginia’s unit to open the curtains and finds Virginia feasting on her own bloody wrists. She has been turned into a vampire by Abby. As sunlight enters the room, Virginia bursts into flames that quickly spread throughout the unit, killing them both and setting the entire floor on fire.
The next morning, the detective forces his way into Abby’s apartment and finds her asleep. He begins to uncover a window but is distracted by Owen. Abby wakes and attacks the detective to feed on his blood. The dying detective appeals to Owen for help, but Owen does not intervene. Abby tells Owen she will have to leave town. They share a kiss and he watches tearfully as she enters a taxi and leaves, which leaves Owen distraught.
Will this be the last time Owen sees Abby? Will there be any repercussions for the murder of the detective and Owens retaliation to the bully? Watch Let Me In to find out.
There’s just something about the way blood looks on fresh snow, it’s really rather beautiful. Let Me In is surprisingly dark and grim for pretty much the entire film and I suppose it should be. Much like Claudia (Interview with the vampire) before her, Abby is stuck in the body of a 12 year old girl for eternity; you can imagine that might depress you after a few centuries.
Chloe Moretz does a really great job of portraying the two different sides to Abby. On one hand she’s a cute, innocent, doe-eyed girl but at the same time that’s something she uses to lure in unsuspecting victims.
I won’t lie, I found the relationship between Owen and Abby to be really rather sweet. I bought into their connection and felt emotion when things didn’t turn out the ways that they wanted it to but it’s just not that kind of story.
I think my favourite moment of the movie had to be the revelation about the man you think is Abby’s father, Thomas. Once you see that black and white photo of them together it changes the way you feel about Abby and her intentions towards Owen. It’s just really sad to think that Thomas was just a young child like Owen and was completely taken in by Abby and yet never really received any appreciation for it. It makes you wonder how many others there have been before Owen and how many more there will be after. Abby may be a 12 year old girl physically but mentally she is over a century old, it really makes you see how cruel and calculated she is capable of being.
As I mentioned above, I really loved the visual style of this film. A snow filled backdrop is perfect for this kind of story and it really adds a lot to many scenes. There are a couple of dodgy CGI moments when Abby jumps around in her vampire form but for the most part it’s all well done.
In the end, Let Me In adds something unique to an over-saturated genre. There are a couple of points that go unresolved like an opening scene involving Owen in a mask and what happens with his mother. It’s a little slow-paced at times and almost strays too far towards romance until the eventual reveal changes everything.
Let Me In