So what is it about horror movies these days? The past few I’ve actually went to the theater to see have been nothing short of dull. Yesterday, I dropped $10.50 on a ticket to see one of the latest horror flicks out there, Let Me In. At the concession stand before the movie, I ordered up some Italian coffee. I’ve never bought coffee at a movie theater before, and I made an offhand joke to the girl I was with that at least I wouldn’t fall asleep during the film. Little did I know that the caffeine in that cup would likely be the only thing to keep me awake. Lord knows the movie didn’t.
Let Me In, at its core, is the love story between an awkward, lonely 12 year old boy and a vampire in the person of a 12 year old girl. The boy, Owen, is caught in the middle of a crumbling marriage between a distant father and a religious, alcoholic mother. One of the things I did like was the presentation (or lack of) of Owen’s parents. The father never appears in person, only as a disembodied voice during occasional phone calls. His mother, despite being physically present, is not really there, either. We never see her face, and in virtually every scene, she’s seen pouring yet another glass of wine before passing out on their couch. Owen is dangerously close to being an orphan. At school, he’s tormented and tortured by a group of three classmates led by one particularly sadistic boy who’s tranferring the poor treatment he receives from his brother onto Owen.
Owen spends his time sitting alone in the courtyard of their apartment complex, and one evening, he meets the new girl, Abby, who just moved in next door. Over the next few weeks, (and believe me, it felt like a few weeks) Owen and Abby grow close despite her warnings that they can’t be friends. At the same time, we see why. Abby’s father, or at least the man we’re supposed to think is her father, spends his nights stalking, killing and draining his victims of their blood to feed Abby’s hunger.
The story itself actually has some fascinating undertones, with the lonely little girl vampire just looking for someone to connect with, and the disenchanted little boy suffering in his domestic Hell just looking for the same. The end is fairly predictable, especially after we discover the secret of her father, but its not inconsistent with the film. Unfortunately, the plot takes too long to develop, and the constant courtship-type scenes between Owen and Abby are an odd, uneven combination of cute and boring. It felt like I spent half of the film’s two-hour run time watching the pair just stare unemotionally at one another.
After about an hour, sixty minutes that contained about five minutes worth of action, I began to yawn uncontrollably, and to feel really grateful for the coffee. There was a very real chance that I would have fallen asleep, otherwise. Even the movie’s conclusion was somewhat boring, despite it being quite literally like a bloodbath.
At the end of the day, Let Me In isn’t a terrible movie, it’s just dull, and it does win some points for trying a different, more realistic take on what a vampire would go through in this day and age. The film is a remake of a Swedish film, Let the Right One In, and like too many other Americanized remakes of foreign films, you should probably stick to the original.
This one is worth a look on dvd somewhere down the line, but save the ten bucks for something better, like a pillow. It’ll make the nap this movie induces much more comfortable.