Swedish film remake daunts the audience
By Elise Favis
Don’t let the ‘vampire horror/romance’ theme pull you away from this eerie, yet affectionately refreshing tale of love and fear.
Let Me In, the American remake of the 2008 Swedish film, Don’t Let the Right One In, is a thought-provoking horror thrill ride that will leave you in unforgettable awe and with chilling terror.
If you’re looking for an action-filled, gory, dumbed-down film, look elsewhere. Let Me In is full of symbolic details and terrific performances by young actors.
Let Me In is as fearful as it is innocent – and you’ll find yourself admiring Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee) and Abby (Chloe Moretz)’s relationship rather than sympathizing with Abby’s murder victims.
Owen, bullied by schoolmates and neglected by his divorcing parents, lives with his mother in a run-down, dreary apartment. Owen’s life seems to miss a spark until he discovers Abby, a peculiar, yet admirable girl who moves in next door. Owen is unaware that Abby “needs blood to live” – she is a vampire, possibly hundreds of years old, but still seems to have the intact, rebellious and innocent mentality of a 12-year-old.
Though these two children have seemingly clearly different lives, their connection is bittersweet. Through the early stages of their relationship, there seems to be some tension between them. Abby attempts to keep her true identity secret from her lover. Owen is driven by his love for her, but also fears her uncontrollable evil impulses.
Abby relies on her father to harvest blood for her. He wears black garbage bags as masks, hides himself in the backseats of stranger’s cars, and awaits the perfect time to strike. He appears to be compelled to carry out the duty, but, at the same time, is distressed and uncomfortable about the situation.
“Are you going out?” Abby asks, noting the backpack and bloodstained plastic containers on the small counter.
“Do I have a choice?” her father answers in a disconnected tone.
Regardless of the romance and personal obstacles the lovers attempt to overcome, there are also some great horror scenes in this film, such as when a newly bitten female vampire wakes up in the hospital. She is so overcome by the desire for blood that she grabs her own arm, and gnaws incessantly on her bare bones. The nurse, unaware of the circumstances, opens the blinds to the previously dark room. The sudden light burns the vampire and the entire room is engulfed in flames.
The cinematic effects in this film were uniquely artistic. The film begins with a long string of ambulances with sirens echoing. Inside one of these ambulances, we are shown an acid-burned hand, but never the face of the victim. It immediately pulls us into the story, because of the curiosity it provokes.
All in all, Let Me In successfully lived up to its predecessor, Let the Right One In. The director brilliantly portrayed the emotion between Abby and Owen, all the while staying true to the original. Though some horror fans may find the film slow, I believe it gives a new outlook on horror and is a beautiful story of revenge and romance.