Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Let Me In: "A Multifaceted Tale of Seduction that Pays Homage to the True Nature of Vampires"

By: Da’Mon Guy
       Let Me In is an enjoyable, intriguing, multifaceted narrative. It successfully intertwines a horror premise with a tender story surrounding two lonely children to showcase the true nature of vampires. The film is a slow paced story of seduction and friendship. The film stars Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Road) Chloe Grace Moretz (Kick-Ass), Richard Jenkins (The Visitor), and Elias Koteas (Defendor).

     A lonely, troubled, young boy is befriended by a little girl with a very dark secret.

     Let Me In is an intriguing, engaging tale that returns the vampire genre to its roots. It is a remake of a 2008 Swedish film of the same name. The film is labeled as a horror movie but it isn’t truly a horror movie in the sense of the title. The film is a convergence of genres as it is part romance, part drama, and part suspense story all of them are interwoven with a horror theme to produce the final successful outcome, Let Me In.

     This entertaining expose is a story that is has a horror premise but it’s actually much deeper as it addresses a number of themes within it. Let Me In filters in themes such as about friendship, romance, seduction, oppression, and isolation just to name a few. It even manages to filter in one of the current problems that surround the youth of today, bullying.

     Let Me In is a first rate seduction story, it harkens back to classic vampire stories, where Dracula would use seduction to lure his victims. The overriding theme of the movie is seduction, as it emphasizes the true seductive nature of vampires. It focuses on the connection between Owen and Abbey. The film shows how Abbey slowly seduces Owen. Not in a sexual manner but seduction none the less. Owen is an extremely isolated and emotionally repressed young boy. He is a low point in his young life and in need of any level of connectivity that he can get. Abbey picks up on this and it opens the door for the seduction to begin. The film eliminates the sexual nature associated with seduction and as it focuses more on the way that seduction involves satisfying a desire or need. Let Me In does this but with a child like innocence.

     The movie uses a number of aspects to accentuate the mood and premise of the story. The director of the movie goes through painstaking efforts to put the audience within the world of Abbey and Owen. He tries to establish multiple moods from oppression, to isolation, to victimization. All of these factors contribute to the budding relationship between Owen and Abbey. The cinematography is also used to accentuate the story’s very dismal atmosphere. The cinematography gorgeously enforces this. It cleverly mirrors the loneliness the two children feel in their lives. The director reinforces this theme by focusing on the level of isolation and the lack of connectivity that Owen has with mother. One specific way that he does this is the faces of Owen’s parents are never shown. Owen’s mother is seen but never her entire face. This establishes a level of loneliness and shows that Owen has no a distant relationship with his mother. It leads the audience relate to the level of isolation that Owen feels. A small but great cinematic touch.

     Let Me In features a duo of standout performances by both of our young stars. Chole Grace-Moretz (Abbey) and Kodi Smit-McGhee (Owen) both deliver powerful performance that drive this bizarre tale of friendship. Moretz and McGhee both show skill beyond their years as they have terrific chemistry with one another. Both are equally adept at conveying the daunting tasks of portraying these difficult characters. McGhee does a wonderful job of depicting the troubled young boy, Owen. His portrayal is extremely well done as he compels the audience to feel a great level of sympathy for Owen. The film requires a large range of emotional scenes and the two young actors deliver. Moretz continues to impress with every role. She hasn't disappointed to date and is quickly becoming a very exceptional young actress. Richard Jenkins is great in his limited screen time as Abbey’s conflicted “guardian.” Jenkins gives surprising depth at feeling torn at helping Abby, particularly in a heartbreaking scene when she touches his face as she can see the weight.

     There are very minimal detractors from this story. The CGI of the film was very poorly done, completely mishandled. The CGI version of Abbey was extremely visible and detracted from the entertainment value of the film. The second is the film moves at an extremely slow pace. The story takes a long time to develop. The film focuses on the innocent relationship between Owen and Abbey but it moves really slow almost to the point of becoming tedious. It nearly loses the attention of the audience during some parts.

     The film exquisitely incorporates many of the original concepts that the vampire genre introduced audiences to many years ago. The name of the film alone, Let Me In, aptly suites the story and is precursor of the one of the original concepts of the vampire genre. The film filters in concepts such as: the concept that vampires must be invited in to their home. Vampires aren’t allowed into the home of a subject unless invited, hence the title. Vampires must be taught to feed initially before they have an understanding of the concept that they must feed on others. Meaning that when a vampire is first turned they have to be shown how to feed. Otherwise they will attempt to feed on themselves.

     Let Me In doesn’t rape, ravage, and pillage the concept of vampires in the way that many of the current vampire trends (Twilight) has. This is a very enjoyable tale that uses one of the longest lasting and most used characters in fiction. It pays homage to the character in a way that it deserves. Fans of horror films as well as those who aren’t will enjoy this clever story.


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