Let Me In Review
But for the rest of this review, let’s try and forget that Let Me In’s central character, Abby, is a vampire. That may sound impossible to do, given the plot of the film, but Let Me In is a movie that takes a supernatural element and uses it to create lasting character moments. Like the best horror movies, the actual element of horror (here, the vampire) takes a backseat, and it’s our analysis and reliability of the characters that terrifies.
Let Me In takes place in a snowy region of New Mexico in 1983. The film has beautiful cinematography - the town itself feels like a living, breathing character. There’s a certain disconnect between the cold isolation of Los Alamos and the small apartment complex where Owen and Abby live. Snow fills every shot and there’s a nice color palate filled with blues, grays, and tans. Night shots are especially well done, and you feel a sense of dread from the second the movie starts. Equally effective, Michael Giacchino’s haunting score goes a long way to immerse you in the film.
This feeling of dread never dissipates, and Let Me In takes the often-scary world of adolescence and uses that to employ a feeling of unrest. Owen is a lonely child - his parents are going through a messy divorce, he’s constantly bullied at school, and he’s tackling the idea of love and relationships. Growing up is a scary thing, and Let Me In uses the shift from adolescence into adulthood to tap into psychological horror. Owen is relatable, but he’s not necessarily a person that we want to relate to. This is the movie’s greatest strength.
I should also mention that America doesn’t deserve full credit for this movie. Let Me In is based off a 2008 Swedish film called Let the Right One In. Apparently, we’re too lazy to read subtitles or too vain to watch foreign films. Then again, I shouldn’t talk because I haven’t seen Let the Right One In. Still, the Swedish movie is only two years old - was a remake necessary? Maybe it’s more of a re-imagining. I’m not sure… but the same thing is happening with the Stieg Larson trilogy (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest). I don’t understand it - maybe we just like making movies.
Again, don’t let any of this turn you away from Let Me In. It really is a great film that isn’t afraid to show violence or gore. The violence we see never feels gratuitous, and it isn’t meant to shock (although it probably will). It almost always fits in contextually, and the movie is better for it. Yes, Let Me In has some disturbing images, but it also has some great action sequences… including the best car crash I’ve ever seen in a movie. Trust me, it’s amazing.
As I said in the beginning of this review, don’t let the vampire hype make you miss this surprisingly well-crafted tale. Author Flannery O’Connor said that the perfect ending to a story should feel inevitable yet surprising. That’s the case here. Let Me In couldn’t have ended any other way, but it’ll still take you by surprise. Go check this movie out - it’ll stay with you long after the credits roll.