The first part of this will simply be a recap of the post. Below I’ll have a bold line notifying you of spoiler material if you haven’t seen the movie and still want to. I know this movie has been out for awhile, but it’s not often that I’m in the mood to watch a ‘scary’ movie and make the time to do it. My wonderful wife went to a ladies’ get together and left me home alone, so I thought it the perfect time for ice cream and scary stuff.
I really didn’t remember the previews for this movie. I think I knew that there was a little girl vampire and a little boy. I didn’t know if she was pestering him every night, trying to get in and kill him. Or maybe it was really cheesy and his parents actually say “don’t let strangers in”, then he goes and invites the girl in to kill his parents. Something weird like that is what I was expecting. What I got was something else entirely.
The basic plot of the movie is, a little girl moves in to the apartment next to this little boy named Owen. He can hear arguing between the little girl and her father through the wall, and the little girl comes out to talk to Owen when he’s playing in the central courtyard of the apartment complex. All the while there’s this wonderfully-mustached police officer looking into a string of mysterious deaths in the area. Not surprisingly, all the corpses have been drained of blood.
Of course, being a skinny twelve-year-old boy, Owen gets picked on by bullies at school. And vampire girl (named Abby) encourages him to stand up to the horrible bullies. Does all this sound interesting enough to watch?
CAUTION: below this line is spoiler material you may not want to read yet
Since seeing Interview With A Vampire, I found the idea of children vampires just generally horrible. Combining an image of cute innocence with this monstrous bloodthirsty creature is just disturbing. What I don’t recall happening much in Interview was a real “I’m a child that is miserable being stuck as a vampire”. It very quickly turned into “I’m much older than I look and have adult thoughts. I stop being cute as soon as I creepily smile or talk.” For a lot of Let Me In, I was hoping this little girl vampire was as innocent of it all as she seemed. Turns out the old guy traveling with her is not her father. He was a friend of hers back when he was a child about her age. Now he’s a serial killer that travels with her, slitting people’s throats and draining the blood to feed to her. What a great friend! We find out later on another twist of the vampire legend. If Abby bites someone and doesn’t kill them, they turn into a vampire too. Also she loses her will power at the mere sight of blood and turns simply into a creature of appetite. All good reasons to keep her away from attacking people herself. We don’t want more vampires running around, and we don’t want her leaving the corpses strewn about when we could more easily toss them in a river.
Eventually the old guy’s murdering goes awry, and he dies. By now Abby and Owen have become friends and Owen is starting to realize what Abby is. She convinces him to stand up to bullies at school, and he does. Because he was a ‘nice boy’, he barely escaped suspension for sending an older kid to the ER bleeding out of a damaged ear. Well then the cop’s story ends rather abruptly. He comes upon the apartment after following clues (good detective) and finds Owen and Abby there. He thinks Owen is in danger right before Abby attacks the cop and sucks him dry. There’s this moment while Owen is watching this that he could reach out his hand and comfort the cop as he’s being eaten alive by Abby. Instead Owen closes the door. Abby decides now that the heat is on and a cop has been killed, she should leave town.
Right after this, Owen gets attacked by the bully whose ear he jacked up. Not just him, but the bully’s mean even-older brother who threatens to drown Owen. As the bully is holding Owen’s head underwater, Abby bursts thru a window and quite literally tears the bully, the bully’s older brother, and the bully’s 2 benign side-kicks into several pieces. Owen, seeing that his life can’t return to normal, decides to travel with his new friend Abby.
As I said, I wanted this little girl to be the victim. She was a sweet girl who got bitten and is trapped with this monster and she’s doing the best she can to contain it. She doesn’t want to die, because most people don’t. So she drinks blood that this nice old guy brings to her.
But no, that’s not what I see at the end of this film. I see this very old, manipulative vampire. She makes a friend, uses that friend for all he’s worth, and then replaces him with a new friend when his time is up. Of course, the person a 12-year-old girl is best able to lure in is 12-year-old boys, so that’s who she keeps befriending. Despite how real their friendship may seem, Abby is just a people-user that manipulates young boys into a life of shared crime and bloodshed.
Turns out this whole movie is a remake of a Swedish film. I’ve heard from a few reviewers that the original is better. Next time I’m in the mood for a terrible story about manipulation and moral compromises, I’ll probably give that a watch. I guess the title really makes sense if you think about it. It wasn’t about letting people into your home; it was about letting people into your life.