Based on a 2008 Swedish film and the novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist, “Let Me In” easily makes my list of the 10 best vampire movies ever made. (Look for my picks in an upcoming post.)
The protagonist is Owen, a shy, frail, 12-year-old boy who is picked on mercilessly by bullies. Owen’s life brightens when a (seemingly) young girl named Abby moves into the apartment next door with a man who appears to be her father. Owen falls in love with the pretty, fair-haired lass – unaware that she is a vampire.
The movie owes a debt, obviously, to “Interview with the Vampire,” which also features a little girl vampire. But unlike that film’s Claudia, who resents being a woman trapped forever in a child’s body, Abby never ages in her own mind. She remains a pre-teen, prone to schoolgirl crushes. As she tells Owen after he discovers her secret and asks how old she is, “I’m 12. I’ve just been 12 for a long time.”
Masterfully, the film’s writer-director Matt Reeves is able to make this at once a tender love story and a grisly tale of terror. With its theme of star-crossed young lovers, it has echoes of “Romeo and Juliet.” Indeed, Franco Zeffirelli’s sumptuous 1968 film of the play is referenced in a brief clip, as well as in the horror movie’s haunting score. The filmmaker makes Abby sweet, ethereal and tantalizing, while not pulling any punches when it comes to her monstrous nature. Her vicious, predatory and cunning side is put on full display in several gory, frightening scenes. (I don’t think I’m giving too much away when I tell you that those bullies buy the farm in spectacular fashion – you know they’re toast pretty much as soon as they appear on screen).
Much of the credit goes to 13-year-old Chloe Moretz, who plays Abby. With her dreamy eyes and bee-stung lips, this nymphet has an allure not unlike that of Olivia Hussey, who was just two years older when she made prepubescent boys’ hearts flutter as Juliet in the Zeffirelli film.
It’s enough to make you understand why Owen is willing to sacrifice everything for Abby, even his own innocence.
Speaking of little girl vampires, check out this strange news item I reported for Weekly World News, headlined, “COUNTESS DRACULA REINCARNATED AS THREE-YEAR-OLD GIRL.” http://books.google.com/books?id=2_MDAAAAMBAJ&lpg=PA5&ots=2XY-5L7IbW&dq=Countess%20%20Dracula%20reincarnated%20as%20this%203-year-old%20girl%20weekly%20world%20news&pg=PA5#v=onepage&q&f=false