Note: My review doesn’t contain spoilers, per se, but it does assume you have some knowledge of what the movie was about and gives away some general themes.
This afternoon a friend and I went to see an early matinee of Let Me In.
Synopsis: A bullied young boy (Owen) befriends a young female vampire (Abby) who lives in secrecy with her guardian.
We agreed that we had to go to an early matinee in case it was scary, because we are both wimps, and if it was scary we needed to have plenty of daylight hours to recover.
As it turns out, it wasn’t particularly scary. Actually, it WAS scary, but the parts I found scary weren’t the parts that had to do with the drinking of blood. The scary parts? The bullies. Interestingly enough, the violence carried out by the vampire was less unsettling to me than was the violence done by the human bullies. I don’t know if this was intentional on the part of the film makers, but it certainly raised some interesting questions about what makes a monster. Is the monster the one who takes human lives for food, or is the monster the one who is casually cruel, who hurts for the sake of entertainment? And then, of course, as the story unfolds you see that the one hurting little kids for laughs is, in turn, being hurt by someone higher up the food chain, and then you ask . . . who is hurting THAT one?
I was intrigued by the fact that I never got to see Owen’s mother’s face. And it adds, in a really disturbing way, to the feeling of isolation you feel on Owen’s behalf. No one is present with Owen except for Abby. Is it any wonder that, even knowing what she is, he doesn’t turn away from her? She’s the only person in the movie who sees him, who touches him in a kind way. (The bullies touch him, but . . . yeah.)
And yes, there’s a lot of tension, of the old-school walking-toward-the-door-behind-which-the-monster-lurks-scary-music-slooooooooowly-open-the-door-what-will-you-find? variety. So I found the movie . . . intense, and disturbing, but not scary. I thought the acting was excellent, the look was gorgeous (very monochromatic, lots of golden-yellow), and the director thankfully didn’t have a heavy hand with the gore. It was “tasteful”, if that word can be applied to a vampire movie.
My overall impression, walking away from the movie, was sadness, and loneliness. Would I recommend seeing it? Sure. Will I be seeing it again? No. At the very least, I’ll be mulling this one over for a while.