Let Me In

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Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee) is a meek and timid twelve year-old who lives in an apartment complex in Los Alamos in the early months of 1983. A series of murders in the area have baffled police (Elias Koteas) who reaches out to the community for help. Targeted with physical abuse by a group of school bullies (Dylan Minnette, Nicolai Dorian, Brett DelBuono), Owen doesn't appear to have any friends and is babied by his divorced mother (Cara Buono, whose appearance remains obscure at best) and perplexed by Rubik's cube until Abby (Chloe Moretz of KICK-ASS) appears. She's also twelve, his new next-door neighbor, but she inexplicably goes about her business barefoot, even in the snow.

Owen's attraction and interest in her is undeniable. As their friendship deepens, they communicate via Morse code by tapping on the wall to each other. He asks her a lot of questions and she tends to be evasive, but it eventually comes out that she's a vampire and requires human blood for sustenance. The guardian she lives with, who she says is not her father, takes care of her and is responsible for the murders that have plagued the town. He takes it upon himself to obtain the blood of human victims to help feed her, but through a botched abduction with a prospective victim, he meets his own premature demise.

Owen suffers a violent run-in with his abusers; Abby encourages him to fight back, and he does - with a metal pole that nearly turns the leader of the pack, his foremost antagonist, into Van Gogh; he's nearly expelled. This refreshing bit of power causes him to bring Abby to a place he used to hang out in, a dingy cellar. Cutting his finger and asking her to form a pact, he sees what she really is for the first time - a creature with a voracious appetite for human blood, though she possess the willpower not to harm him.

Abby goes to Owen's apartment, but as a vampire she must be invited in by him. The police officer meets a violent end when his sense of duty takes him to the apartment. Owen sees what Abby is capable of for the first time.

Although the outcome of the penultimate scene wherein Owen is forced to hold his breath underwater by the bullies is the same as it was in the original, it was more shocking and worked better in the Swedish version. Although Abby can fly, we actually never see it. There are moments where she attacks her prey with decisive viciousness, and the CGI works well.

Michael Giacchino has written a creepy and elegiac score, some of which sounds reminiscent of Jerry Goldsmith's creepiest moments in ALIEN and POLTERGEIST.

Unfortunately, the film's trailer makes it look run-of-the-mill, as it's edited in the predictable cookie-cutter fashion that plagues just about all trailers in Hollywood nowadays. If you have seen the original film (LET THE RIGHT ONE IN), watch the remake with an open mind and enjoy it for what it is - a moving story about love and acceptance with top-notch acting by two fine young performers.

Reviewed by Jonathan Stryker