Grade B

Based on the Swedish movie “Let The Right One In,” “Let Me In” is a complex story of love, loneliness, bullying, absentee parents, the need for companionship, and what people are willing to do to for those they love…and yes, this is a vampire story, and a reasonably scary one at that.

Taking place in 1983 (a time before security cameras and cell phones were everywhere), Kodi Smit-McPhee plays an unhappy boy who doesn’t have any friends, has parents who are separated, and gets bullied by three boys who are each twice his size.  His life is about to get very interesting — for better and worse — when new neighbors arrive at night to his apartment complex.   Enter Chloe Grace Moretz (as a little girl who only appears at night, and who is accompanied by an old man presumed to be her father).   Moretz and McPhee have their first meeting in the snowy playground, she being barefoot and quite hostile to McPhee’s presence; but as time goes on, a trust between them forms, leading to a strong bond that will be tested when Moretz’s true nature is revealed to McPhee and the body count rises and the police slowly figure out who is doing the killings.

My most memorable, movie moment of “Let Me In” is the scene when McPhee finally fights back against his bullies.  Holding a large stick, McPhee faces off against his three tormentors.  Lead bully says he is going to take the stick away from McPhee and shove it up McPhee’s ass.  Lead bully takes a step forward and McPhee hits him on the face with the stick.  In what seems to be slow motion, lead bully stops, falls on his knees, and then starts screaming like a bitch.  At first I thought the bully was just a punk who couldn’t take a little hit, but then it is shown that the  bully’s left ear has been ripped almost in half!   Oh, well, serves him right.

“Let Me In” stands apart from the other vampire movies because the two main characters are played by little kids, and we get to see the evolution of the relationship of these two outcasts go from being strangers to lovers (using the word’s most simple definition).   I enjoyed the amazing performances of McPhee and Moretz, the outstanding direction of Matt Reeves, and the tight screenplay that moved things along fairly quickly even with scenes that were “slow.”  One major complaint though…a shenanigan, actually.   Why did Moretz let the old guy do most of the hunting for victims?  Although small in stature, Moretz had the strength of about 10 men, so she could easily hunt for herself; or better yet, she should hunt with the old guy so that the chances of success would be much higher.   This is the biggest flaw I noticed in this movie; but no movie is perfect, and I thoroughly enjoyed this story despite this huge shenanigan.  Vampire fans should not miss “Let Me In” as it’s one of the better vampire flicks out there in the past 10 years.

— M