It’s been a while since I was excited to receive a DVD in the mail. Perhaps it has been out of laziness or just sheer convenience, but lately I seem to gravitate to my watch instantly queue. With fondness, I remember the days of yesteryear (OK, two months ago)—when I would rip into that red envelope with the fervor of a child opening a birthday present. However, the last few DVDs sat on top of the bookshelf for close to a month before I made the effort to watch and return them. Sure, I could blame the holidays, but honestly, I am going to blame Jonah Hex. I must have subconsciously known it would be the stuff that boring, plotless nightmares are made of. I guess I should have listened to my intuition and sent that bad boy packing when it shot in through the mail slot (not a euphemism). I know, I need to move on from my Jonah Hex experience.
That being said, I was surprisingly excited when Let Me In came in the mail last week. Of course, this had to be one of the few movies that my husband wanted to see, so I had to wait until the weekend to watch it. Who said I don’t have willpower? So, after watching the Super Bowl, my husband and I felt it was only right to watch a vampire movie. Isn’t that the all-American thing to do: watch football, drink beer, eat apple pie and hot dogs, and watch vampire movies? Pretty sure there is something in the Constitution about that. If only the NFL had the football players read the Constitution instead of the Declaration of Independence, this would be cleared up. Eh, maybe next year.
Let Me In stars Kodi Smit-McPhee (try saying that name 12 times fast after drinking several glasses of wine) as Owen, a 12-year-old boy who doesn’t seem to fit in anywhere. He is bullied at school; and at home he is stuck in the middle of his parents’ divorce. However, things change for Owen when he meets Abby (Chloe Moretz), a girl who moved in to the building with her “father.” Owen soon learns that Abby “isn’t a girl”–her words, not mine. Let’s just say she plays for Team Edward, but the only glittering parts on this vampire is the blood splatter from her victims torn throats. Brutal. Owen has to decide how he will handle Abby’s secret as the cops close in on her as a suspect for several murders (and you thought you had a tough time in your adolescent years).
Although I have yet to read the book or watch the original film (Let Me In is a remake of the Swedish movie, Let the Right One In), I was pleasantly surprised by how much I like the American adaptation. I know, I could change my mind once I read/watch the other versions, but this film seemed genuine. There was no action-packed chase sequence, no raunchy sex scene, or the casting of a star from One Tree Hill as Abby and Channing Tatum as Owen (and please don’t ask why those names are even in my vocabulary). The actors seemed age-appropriate, sincere, and believable. The actors were very natural and did a wonderful job at making their characters come to life.
In this film, the story is all about the relationship between Abby and Owen; leaving many of the adults in the background. To underscore this point, there are several well-known actors (Elias Koteas and Richard Jenkins, for example) who are cast in small roles in this film. I had several moments where I thought the neighbor was played by Koteas or the father was Jenkins; but since each only had a few lines, I thought that couldn’t be them. It was. Now it may seem like I am obsessing over this minor point, but I believe that the use of these actors in the background only forefront the two main characters and allows the audience to enter into Owen’s world view. The adults, while present, are almost like the grown-ups in Charlie Brown: they exist, but not quite in the same depth as the kids. This allows for the story between the two kids to shine.
I should point out that Let Me In is a pretty slow movie. While some may think that pace is a factor in determining quality of a film, I would disagree. Some films are awesome because they are slow, allowing subtle nuances and character development to be savored. It’s not that I think all films should be slow, or that all slow films are good; but certain stories seem to ask for a more leisurely pace. I am fully aware that in the hands of another director, Let Me In could have morphed into an adrenaline-pumped horror film and that would have failed miserably. I like that the film took its time to draw out the story and didn’t exposition the heck out of itself. Trust me, I’ve been there, and you don’t want to be expositioned the heck out of. It’s painful.
Pleasantly, I found that Let Me In met my expectations—which is usually pretty hard to do. It has the feel of an independent, low budget horror film, making it a little creepy; and the story and the acting are strong enough to make it quite enjoyable. I didn’t find it overly scary or gory. Instead, I thought it was a unique tale of growing up, not growing up, and making human (er, or undead) connections. Yes, it’s about a boy and a vampire. But I think at the heart, Let Me In is about loneliness and friendship. It’s about the need we all have to be accepted and the comfort of having a shoulder to lean on. OK, I am probably reading too much into the film because I liked it, but oh well.
So, huzzah to you, Let Me In. I am now [almost] over Jonah Hex and will eagerly await the next DVD in my queue.
As always, thanks for reading and have a fantastic day!
Netflix Queue: 470