Wed September 22, 2010
Let Me In
Consistent with the lore. It's good.
By John DeSando, "It's Movie Time," "Cinema Classics," and "On the Marquee
Owen: You kill people.
Abby: I do it because I have to. (from Let Me In)
I do reviews of vampire movies because I have to; with the exception of Bella Lugosi as Dracula and Max Shreck as Nosferatu, I am rarely moved by weak attempts to play with the formula. Need I say more about the corruption of the sub-genre by the Twilight Series, an epic treatise on teenage longing devoid of vampire tropes and replete with long stares that take the stories nowhere.
Let Me In, based on the Swedish smash novel and film Let the Right One In, is a somewhat old-fashioned and successful vampire tale about two twelve-year olds, vampire Abby (Chloe Moretz) and effeminate intellectual Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee). As for most pre-teens, theirs is a rough connection filled with doubts and discords, but through it all they are surprisingly close and caring.
In the sense that a vampire story should have more than bloody necks, this film achieves the psychological crossover by being true to what I know and remember about those emotionally parlous times. Owen and Abby are social outcasts who suffer for their uniqueness, she because of her need for blood and he because he is sensitive (I don't have to forewarn you about what eventually happens to Owen's bullies).
While the very red blood flows freely in the vampire tradition (I went home to cook a nice marinara sauce for my pasta in the Hannibal Lecter tradition), the film also includes common elements such as the divorcing parents, the snooping cop, the bully motif, and atmospheric music. I can accept all but the bullying sequences, which are trite and overwrought in the revenge category.
Good bye brooding, grey Twilight; hello bloody Let Me In. This is a film that relies on both dialogue and openness to bring a loving relationship to life and death.
John DeSando co-hosts It's Movie Time, Cinema Classics, and On the Marquee for WCBE 90.5. The shows can be heard streaming at http://publicbroadcasting.net/wcbe/ppr/index.shtml and on demand at http://www.publicbroadcasting.net/wcbe/arts.artsmain Contact him at JDeSando@Columbus.RR.com