Let Me In


Todd: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome back to Vagrant Fox! After what seems like a long hiatus where we ironically watched movies we didn’t review, we’re back with the American remake of a Swedish Film which is based on a Swedish novel. Both the Swedish versions are called “Let the Right One In” and the American remake we watched was called “Let Me In” because f*ck all those words, right?

From the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, to ET, to this. Progress.

From the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, to ET, to this. Progress.



 

 

Travis: This adaptation was rather faithful to the source so we will not be commenting on the Swedish version unless we feel the difference is important.

Let Me In is a period piece set in Los Alamos, New Mexico in 1983. As a period piece I felt they did very well as it reminded me how much I hated the early 80′s.

My only gripe with this time setting is I don’t recall seeing a single nod towards Star Wars, which was the only awesome thing early in this decade.

Todd: Not true! Indiana Jones was also from this time period. It’s interesting to me to note two things: 1.) Why the hell did they pick Los Alamos, NM for a movie that has a lot of central themes revolving around the fact that it’s a cold winter with snow. and 2.) The only nod to the 80s at all, besides the soundtrack, is that the protagonist has a Rubik’s Cube.

Travis: We begin this film in much the same way we do Severence; with a flash forward. There is a man in an ambulance being rushed to a hospital. It is indeterminate what the cause of his injuries are, at first glance they appear to be burns.

During the frantic ride I noticed he had handcuffs on his wrist keeping him on the gurney.

Shortly after, we are treated to this same man in a hospital bed being interrogated by a cop. He makes no reply to the police and they wander off. I noticed in this scene that he was not cuffed to the hospital bed. It was an odd oversight on the part of the police, and shortly becomes important.

Todd: Yeah, we find out later what happened to that guy, and it makes sense that the cops cuffed him. Maybe due to the extent of his injuries they didn’t bother at the hospital?

I’m going to start my rant against American remakes of foreign movies with this: In the novel and movie from Swede-land the main kid is named Oskar, and the other kid (Spoiler: She’s a vampire) is named Eli. For no apparent reason those names have become Owen and Abby.

What bugs me is, Oscar and Eli are both perfectly good American names. Why change them? Many of the other names in the movie (like Virginia) stayed the same. It makes no sense. I would understand if the kid had some random Swedish name like Asbjorn, then, you know, change it to Adam or something, but Oscar? No reason to change that.

OK, rant over. For now.

Travis: Eli is masculine and feminine in Swedish but mostly masculine here. Thus they changed it to Abby which is definitely feminine which makes no sense if they are shooting for ambiguity. They should have used a name like Erin if they wanted to maintain the sex question.

In the Sweedish film Eli was again, played by a girl, but was comported much more tomboyish. Our Abby is played by Chloe Grace Moretz, Kick Ass’ Hit-Girl, and she is obviously female. The only question to her sexual identity is her constant denial that she is in fact female.

And we return from the rant to find out the tragedy of not cuffing your severe burn patients. They will crawl out of bed and suicide out the 10th floor window.

Maybe this is new, but I don’t recall hospital windows being openable. Maybe things were different in old timey New Mexico.

Todd: In 1983 all windows were openable. The cop gets called away because of a phone call, and leaves the guy alone in the room.

I was interrogating a suspect, but it's ok, tell me what your problem is. I'm sure it's more important.

I was interrogating a suspect, but it’s ok, tell me what your problem is. I’m sure it’s more important.



Jordan or Shannon would have been better ambiguous male/female names. And for the record, in the novel, apparently the character was a male who was castrated in a vampire ritual.

Being a vampire sounds like it sucks. Hah!

Travis: In the Swedish movie it was the same and there is a scene where you can see Eli’s mutilated junk.

That scene was included in this version as well, when Abby comes over and needs to bathe and borrow clothes there is a part where Owen peeks in and I presume sees the same.

But seeing as we are poor little Americans with weak sensibilities that scene was edited so all we get is Owen’s reaction.

Todd: At any rate, before we debate this to death, the scene shifts to Owen sitting outside in the snow on his apartment complex’s monkey bars. We find out a few things: 1.) Owen’s parents are going through a bitter divorce, 2.) Owen’s mother is apparently a drunk, and 3.) Owen is quite the voyeur, using a telescope in his room to spy on all his neighbors.

Travis: The best part is the one we skipped. Owen is shirtless in his room, the lights are off and he is wearing a transparent mask over his face. He has a knife and is menacing the mirror saying that he is going to “Cut you little girl”.

This is a clearly well adjusted 12 year old.

This is a clearly well adjusted 12 year old.



 

And then the voyeurism.

I don’t think the mother is a drunk, she has merely come to the realization that she is stuck in the early 80′s in New Mexico.

Owen’s voyeurism focuses on two targets. There is a couple across the way, and a man who loves to exercise. The couple are coming off a fight and are just starting some make-up sex and the man is doing some bicep curls. He decides to watch the couple.

Congratulations Owen, you just passed your gay test.

About 90% of Owen's day is dedicated to "being creepy".

About 90% of Owen’s day is dedicated to “being creepy”.



 

Todd: And he saw a boobie, and he almost got busted.

This leads to the neighbors across the way closing their curtains and forcing Owen to focus on a new voyeurism target: The old man and the little girl moving in next door.

True strength is being strong enough to have someone else do your heavy lifting.

True strength is being strong enough to have someone else do your heavy lifting.



 

He watches them show up all creepy and notes that the little girl, despite the snow and the freezing temperatures, isn’t wearing shoes.

By the way, the “Little Girl” references just keep coming. We find out this is what the school bullies tell Owen all the time.

Additionally there’s the “Little Girl” vampire who actually isn’t a little girl, so there’s that too.

Owen goes to school the next day where we find out that he’s being constantly bullied by 3 bigger kids and one of their older brother, who are complete jerks. I don’t understand the bully mentality anyway, but these kids just seem beyond cruel.

It's hard to tell if they're Crips or Bloods.

It’s hard to tell if they’re Crips or Bloods.



 

Travis: We see later that the main bullies older brother bullies him in the exact same way. So I guess this is how the bully expresses love. But yeah, it’s a little creepy.

That night Owen is chilling on the playground, as he does, when he sees the old man going out. The old man is off to drain some poor boy of his blood. I guess this is how the Vampire eats, by takeout.

I loved the old mans plan as he breaks into the car and lies down in the back seat. Then he pops up and strangles the boy from behind as if he is the punchline from every “There is a man hiding in the back seat” horror story ever told. He even has a bag over his head, presumably because he is ashamed of riding in the backseat of a station wagon.

Hefty makes an exceedingly good serial killer mask.

Hefty makes an exceedingly good serial killer mask.



 

Todd: It’s a creepy plastic trash bag too, which just adds to the awesomeness of the plan.

So, creepy old guy strangles this kid at a railroad crossing, which we both thought was bizarre because it’s not like you put your car in park when the train’s going by, so by all rights the car should have just rolled into the train and killed them.

But it doesn’t, and the old man drags the poor kid out into the woods where he hangs him upside down from a tree, punctures his throat and drains the blood into a plastic jug, which seems really inefficient, but what are you going to do? Seems like they’d have had a lot of time to come up with a better solution than this.

Travis: Actually hanging things upside down and slitting their throats is I believe how butchers drain things, so he might have that part right. The small debate we had was if the kid had been strangled to death or was just unconscious. The latter would make draining easier as the heart would still be beating.

Try to lean towards the bucket, would you?

Try to lean towards the bucket, would you?



 

Either way he slips during clean-up and spills most of the blood. Bummer dude, now you have to go tell your vampire friend they need to get their own dinner.

Todd: He goes back home to do just that and she berates him for his incompetence, which Owen overhears, but he just hears yelling, not what they’re actually yelling about.

Then the old man tells the girl maybe he screwed up subconsciously because he’s tired of doing this.

So then the girl has to go out and kill someone.

Travis: The someone Abby goes out to kill is our exercise guy from Owen’s voyeur episode earlier. He is coming back from a run… at night… in winter… as you do… to find Abby at the far end of the storm tunnel curled up against the wall saying in her pitiful child voice “Help Me”.

Remember, it's never a good idea to "help" a child in distress.

Remember, it’s never a good idea to “help” a child in distress.



 

Here we have one of two advantages to being a 12 year old looking vampire, you can play the harmless child in distress card. The second being you can always get creepy pedophiles to be your Renfield.

Abby convinces the man to carry her back to the apartments and then attacks him after he picks her up. I’ll let Todd cover this as he disliked this sequence more than I did.

Todd: What I disliked about it was that it was nice and creepy, right up until the point where the guy picks her up, and then it just becomes “bad special effects extravaganza”.

We see from a long shot into the tunnel that Abby is bouncing around on the guy’s head and neck like Yoda bouncing around with a light saber, she’s like a pinball, and it really just pulled me out of the scene.

As you were pointing out with your one problem with the vampire mythos in this movie (which I’ll let you bring up later) my one problem was that everything seemed nice and creepy, and this would have been a great scene with her just gnawing into the guy. The super sped up, special effected vampire attack was completely unnecessary and actually, in my opinion, hurt the creepiness factor.

Travis: The special effect was used again later to demonstrate some super dexterity and it worked fine there. The problem here wasn’t that the effect was just bad (it was) but that it was unnecessary. Abby had complete control of her victim. He put her legs around his waist, her arms around his shoulders and her head on his neck.

The SFX team just made a mess out of what was a good horror atmosphere scene, and the film suffered for it.

Todd: Abby goes home and the old man realizes she killed somebody and he has to go hide the body. Which he does by shoving it under the water in the nearby lake. Also, this is a nice little setup because you better believe that this will come back to haunt him.

There’s also a nice foreshadowing moment here where he takes the metal pole that he used to push the body underwater and leaves it laying next to the lake. This metal pole becomes useful to Owen later.

Travis: This series of events, notably the conversation with the old man about how he is losing his touch, prompts Abby to change her mind about interacting with Owen and the next night she is on the playground again. This time to try and make nice.

Owen is out there stabbing a tree with a knife doing his “Little girl” chant when Abby shows up and interrupts. When a young man is hazarding a tree with a knife chanting “Do you like that little girl” and a little girl walks up and says hello, you might wonder about which of these two is the oddest.

Todd: It’s a tough choice at that point as both of them appear to be a little on the unsafe side. This is the point where he gives her the Rubik’s cube.

Product placement. Thirty years too late.

Product placement. Thirty years too late.



 

Somehow she’s never seen one.

Travis: The Cube popped up in the early 80′s so it’s not inconceivable that she hadn’t encountered one before then. As we learn later Abby is a fan of puzzles as Owen finds some odd ones in her room. Owen lends her the cube and they part ways for the night.

I knew only crazy people enjoyed that cube.

Todd: That’s the thing that threw me about her not knowing what it was. She points out that she’s a fan of puzzles, and if I recall correctly you couldn’t walk twelve blocks or watch more than seven seconds of television in 1983 without somebody trying to sell you a Rubik’s Cube.

Anyway, Owen gets up to go to school the next morning and there’s the Rubik’s cube, solved, sitting on the jungle gym.

Vampires are good at Rubik’s Cubes.

Travis: They have a lot of free time.

Todd: So Owen’s at school now, watching Romeo and Juliet (the version that everyone got to watch in school, that shows Juliet naked) and instead of paying attention to what should be one of the greatest moments of all middle school he’s copying the Morse code alphabet onto a sheet of paper.

The bullies notice this and confront him in the bathroom, and for once he tells them no. So the big bully smacks him with a car antenna, cutting his face, and the other bullies freak. They don’t know how he’s going to explain that to his mom without them getting in trouble.

Don't look at my teeth, I just had spinach.

Don’t look at my teeth, I just had spinach.



 

Travis: The bully calms his friends by saying that Owen will just tell his mother that he fell down and Owen does just that. But Abby gets the real story out of him later and launches into “Dear Abby” mode by telling him to hit back; more specifically to hit harder than he would dare.

Owen is unconvinced at the time but he does take the words to heart.

They retire to their rooms and Abby kicks the old man out of his room so that she can morse code some stuff through the wall with Owen. This is the first direct sign of replacement.

What's the morse code for, "You're creeping me out"?

What’s the morse code for, “You’re creeping me out”?



 

Todd: I like that Owen asks her what he’s supposed to do if hitting them harder doesn’t work and she says, “I’ll help you.” And his response to that is a very typical, “But you’re a girl”.

He has no idea.

This starts off a little montage where Owen asks the gym teacher (who’s Russian for some reason) about after school strength training (something else that will come up later), then steals 20$ from his mom’s purse while a picture of Jesus watches over him, then takes Abby to his favorite hangout spot where he plays Ms. Pacman and buys Now & Laters.

In all fairness, I still think this is what a date looks like.

In all fairness, I still think this is what a date looks like.



 

I’m amazed the bullies have never found this place and ruined it for him.

Travis: He insists that he wants to buy some candy for Abby but she obviously doesn’t want any. Seeing his distress, she agrees to let him buy her some candy which she eats, and then promptly throws up out in the parking lot.

He is super happy that she let him buy her some candy, and is barely perturbed that she immediately vomited it back up.

Having eaten my share of Now & Laters, I can both understand Abby’s nausea and Owen’s acceptance of such. Though the inability to eat food thing is a common Vampire trope.

This sequence works on two levels as Abby lets Owen set himself up as the provider and Owen gets to be the strong one as she is sick.

Todd: After making his date puke they head back to the apartment complex where apparently Owen’s mom has been looking for him. He straight up lies and says he was there the whole time, and when he turns around from yelling to his mom Abby has vanished.

When we see Abby again she finds old guy getting ready to go out on another run.

I've packed everything I need. Plus a jar of acid. Just in case.

I’ve packed everything I need. Plus a jar of acid. Just in case.



 

This time he gets into a pretty squishy situation though, hiding himself in the back of a guy’s car, and then the guy picks up a friend and he has to ride around with them for a while, waiting for an opportunity. It’s very tense.

Travis: This was one of the better sequences in the film I thought. There was much tension with the two in the front seat and the audience wondering if the old man will be discovered.

In the Swedish version this took place at the high school and it was a very dark scene.

Here the passing streetlights gave us periods of visibility and the passenger kept reaching into the back to drop off or pick up items.

They pull into a gas station and being that this is old times the driver has to go in to pre-pay. At this point the passenger reaches back and feels the old mans leg, then turns around to see a shoe and then a crazy guy with a plastic bag for a face.

The old man is forced to make his move, choking out the passenger and hopping into the front seat. He peals out of the station going backwards, as by this point the driver and a couple of passers-by are now chasing him down and he backs through a fence and rolls down a hill.

The scene here was shot from inside so you see the chaos of the crash. Very reminiscent of the car crash from Fight Club.

Trapped in the car with the kids on the way, he pops open a bottle of acid he has and douses his face with it so as not to be identified.

I realize the old man is a dude that kills people to drain blood for his little vampire buddy, but I cannot figure out how this caper would involve a plastic bottle of acid. Unless this was always his fallback plan in which case I think he needs to come up with better plans.

Todd: I thought the bottle of acid was always his backup plan for when he got caught, since he seemed to assume it was inevitable.

And now we’ve slipped back to the beginning of the movie, where the ambulance was taking the guy to the hospital in handcuffs, and yeah, now it makes sense.

The important part here is that he writes a note to Abby telling her he’s sorry, and then he throws himself out the window to die. Stupid hospital with easily openable windows…

And now Abby is on her own again and needs a new Renfield. Hey, guess who she picks to take his place?

She heads to the apartment complex, knocks on Owen’s window (who’s asleep) tells him he needs to invite her in, and when he does she slips into bed with him naked and lays there with him while he sleeps. I assume she doesn’t need to sleep.

Hello! Cute girl at your window! Hello?

Hello! Cute girl at your window! Hello?



 

Travis: The difference between this scene and the flash forward from the beginning is now we get to see Abby arriving at the hospital having heard it on the radio; did she run there?

Anyhow the night nurse is distressed to see this little girl with no shoes on but won’t let her go up to see her father, probably because a) the guy was horribly acid burned and b) he came in handcuffs. But she does let slip that Abby’s “father” is on the 10th floor. Abby turns and exits the hospital.

The phone call the detective got in the flash-forward was from the front desk down on the first floor telling him that someone claiming to be the burned man’s daughter had come looking for him.

The nurse was unable to track Abby outside as when Abby went out she scaled up to the 10th floor from the outside. More CG but worthwhile in this usage to demonstrate Vampire agility and strength.

She knocks on the old mans window and he gets out of bed since there are no handcuffs holding him in and opens the window.

Yeah, his face is horribly acid scarred though his birthmark is still present on his cheek. Can’t win em all. Abby wants to take him away but he instead leans forward inviting her to drain him. She does and he falls to his death.

Now we have come full circle, and Abby needs a new Renfield.

I've come to rescue yo... OH GOD! Um... how about a merciful push instead?

I’ve come to rescue yo… OH GOD! Um… how about a merciful push instead?



 

Todd: In the morning when Owen wakes up she’s gone.

Today is the day the class is taking a field trip to the frozen lake.

Couple of things happen here: 1) Owen finds the metal stick that old guy used to shove the body underwater in the earlier scene, and when the bullies come he uses it to smack the lead bully in the ear, slicing it, and causing them to bail.

And 2) they find the body frozen under the lake.

My favorite part is that the gym teacher sees the confrontation with Owen and the bullies happening, but also sees the crowd of kids around the body (even though he doesn’t know there’s a body yet, just a crowd of kids) and has to make the decision which is more important.

He picks the body.

Travis: The hit Owen dishes out is good, cuts a large chunk out of the bully’s ear and the bully goes home crying.

Just what Owen has always needed: A weapon.

Just what Owen has always needed: A weapon.



 

Owen meets up with Abby later that night and recounts his story to her and she is might proud of him. This has the beginnings of a wonderfully codependent relationship and Owen decides it is time to show her his secret underground lair.

Todd: The secret underground lair was never really explained. Is it an abandoned building nearby? Is it near their apartment? Is it just some random empty apartments in their building?

All we know is he used to hang out there with an older kid, there’s a record player there, and some pretty nice furniture. I was thinking that even as a kid I’d be afraid to hang out down there due to the mice, insects, and other creepy crawlies that would have invariably moved in.

Travis: Owen hasn’t gone down there since his friend moved away until it was time to show Abby, though what he did before the story picked him up is unknown. I imagine that he was content hanging out on the playground as he didn’t want to be down there alone either.

Want to see something really scary? Wait, why are you smirking?

Want to see something really scary? Wait, why are you smirking?



 

So now own has the bright idea to become blood-brothers or is it blood-siblings if the other is a girl? This is an important bit here as own cuts his thumb, it wells up a bit and drops to the floor, on seeing this Abby vamps out falling to the floor to lick it up off the floor.

She gets some vamp eyes and worried for Owen’s safety runs out of the underground lair. The Lair is near the apartments as she immediately runs into the apartment courtyard and CGI climbs up a tree. In this case the CGI worked as vampire like dexterity was required to make this move.

This is how most of my dates ended too.

This is how most of my dates ended too.



 

Todd: The CGI here was fine, as opposed to the scene in the tunnel where it was unnecessary.

She drops down on an unsuspecting Virginia and starts feeding, hungry after the taste of Owen’s blood (but knowing she needs Owen later for Renfieldian purpose, she can’t eat him) and she gets interrupted by Larry, Virginia’s erstwhile lover and she runs off.

Owen comes home to find his mom passed out drunk, and he calls his dad, who gives us some line about Owen’s mom being a religious nut and telling Owen not to listen to that crap.

Dad, I'm in love with a vampire. But it's cool, lets talk about your problems.

Dad, I’m in love with a vampire. But it’s cool, lets talk about your problems.



 

This is, by the way, the only mention of mom being a religious nut in the entire movie. I have to assume that was a bigger subplot in the book. Though she does have a Jesus picture that watches you steal 20$ bills out of her purse.

Travis: Owen’s parents weren’t getting along. Owen wanted to talk about Vampires but dad never game him the chance, instead taking the opportunity to bash his mother.

It is a definite decision on the film-makers part but we never look at the parents. The father is phone only and the mother is treated like a Charlie Brown teacher, always off screen or edge frame. They are obviously not important to Owen’s world. When he is on screen the only characters that share space with him are Abby and the Bully as these are the ones that shape his life, not his parents or his teachers.

Todd: With the exception of the Gym Teacher.

Owen heads over to Abby’s to talk to her and basically confront her about being a vampire. Since he freaks out a little and she lets him go, I guess he decides she’s ok. She could have killed him, but didn’t.

We then get to see a series of events at the hospital, with the cop talking to Larry, and then Virginia biting into her own arm to feed herself the blood they’re giving her (six pints so far, according to the day nurse) then the nurse goes in to check on her, opens the curtains, and the sunlight causes her to burst into flames.

This will not be covered by your HMO.

This will not be covered by your HMO.



Travis: From here we see that transmission is easy. It explains why Abby prefers her blood from a bucket, and when she does feed it is to the kill.

Later that night Abby goes to visit Owen again. I guess she figures 12 hours is enough to get over the whole “I”m a Vampire” thing.

I’ll now have my nerd moment.

She has to be invited into the apartment; hence “Let Me In” (though that is also a subtext for Owen accepting Abby into his life).

Up to this point everything Abby has done as a Vampire has been in some way physically possible. Immortality, hyper-kinesis, strength, photo-sensitivity and regeneration are not impossible.

We as humans don’t have these powers usually, but if you understand our limits you can see the small changes needed to negate them and vampirism working as a natural mutagen on our bodies could do those things. Her teeth don’t even fang out, she straight up bites people with regular human teeth.

Oddly enough the one thing that doesn’t work with natural vampirism is a blood only diet. You wouldn’t get enough of what you need just from the blood.

But the title of the movie is the problem I have on this brand of Vampire. There is absolutely no reason a vampire, as a natural creature, needs to be invited into a home. That is threshold magic, it’s as old as stories and completely supernatural.

It is the only supernatural aspect of Abby the Vampire, the rest is simply extraordinary. And I hate them for that.

The Beaver is still waiting on his invitation

The Beaver is still waiting on his invitation



Todd: We now get to the one place where the change from the book and movie is sort of weird, which is, in the book and movie Abby used to be a boy, who was castrated, and is now a “girl”.

This is evidenced by Owen’s voyeurism getting the better of him, and he can’t help but take a look after Abby has a shower and in the original it’s a sort of creepy moment, but now it’s sort of a “Ooh, a naked girl” moment. Which is a different tone.

But we’re coming to the end now, because the Cop is on to Abby, due to the attack on Larry and Virginia, and while Owen starts to become the Renfield, watching over the apartment while Abby sleeps (covered in blankets in the bathtub) the Cop shows up.

Travis: We touched on this earlier, but in this version I believe she is also a castrated boy but the shot of her in the shower was edited out so we’re just left scratching our heads as to why a child that looks obviously female keeps insisting she isn’t.

The Cop still only suspects he is at the correct place. He came asking questions around the complex when the jogger was found and Abby’s apartment was the only one that didn’t answer the door but at the time he moved on.

He returns to that door and knocks again and owen looks through the peep hole and sees him. Since he knew the guy was a cop from the first go round he doesn’t want to open the door but backing away he steps on a creaky floorboard.

The Cop busts in all probable cause style and Owen hides in the kitchen. The cop finds in the mess of the apartment the wallet from the first kid that was killed, among other things, but also a note Abby left for Owen telling him she was in the Bathroom.

Not pictured: Good detective work.

Not pictured: Good detective work.



Todd: Where he makes his way now. He lifts the blankets, takes down the paper covering the window, and lets some sunlight hit Abby.

Now they’re into it, and Abby has to attack to keep herself from being killed.

Trying to explain to a cop that you’re a vampire and you’ll come talk to him later at the station, when it’s dark, is probably a non-starter.

Travis: In Renfield-101 Owen learned to sneak up on the guy holding a gun and warn his vampire. The cop turned and was startled by the kid, and this was long enough for Abby to jump up on him and get to gnawing.

Imagine if I'd wasted time calling for backup.

Imagine if I’d wasted time calling for backup.



The door was knocked shut in the struggle so there is a nice shot of Owen just staring at the door while he can hear the two inside. Abby walks out a short bit later all covered in cop blood and gives Owen a hug.

Oh hey hugs, well this turned out all right after all.

Oh hey hugs, well this turned out all right after all.



Aw, how sweet. But now Abby knows her apartment isn’t safe and she tells Owen she has to leave. I like how at this time she makes no mention of Owen coming with her.

Todd: Owen is in fact headed to his after school “Strength Training” Class, which mostly involves him swimming in a pool, for some reason. And the bullies are in full effect now. Having been proven incompetent in the bullying department, our main bully’s older brother is taking over.

He gets one of the lackeys to set a fire in the dumpster out back as a way of getting everyone out of the gym (including the teacher) and leaving Owen alone to be bullied.

This plan has so many points of failure that it’s almost too ludicrous to mention them all, but not the least of which is, what happens if the gym teacher just calls the fire department and hangs out inside? Or for that matter, what if Owen manages to make it out with the other 30 or so kids? Their plan hinged on Owen being slower than everyone else and the teacher abandoning 30 kids he’s supposed to be watching to go check out a fire in the back alley.

Travis: So the Bully’s older brother, who we have seen bullying the Bully earlier in the film in a very similar fashion to Owen, decides that he needs to step in and teach people what happens when they mess with his brother in a “nobody hits my brother but me” sort of way.

They trap Owen in the pool and say that if Owen can hold his breath for three minutes underwater they’ll let him go. Otherwise they’ll kill him or some such.

I'm peeing my pants right now, but you can't tell.

I’m peeing my pants right now, but you can’t tell.



Under Owen goes and the other bullies get antsy but they stop arguing once Big Bully asserts his authority. We then cut to Owen underwater and get a great scene.

Glass hits the water, we hear screaming in that “I’m underwater and everything sounds strange” way. There is implied activity, something else hits the water, a body is drug high speed through the frame and finally the hand that had been holding Owen under falls past him, severed at the forearm.

Owen surfaces and sputters for breath, looking up at his savior, presumable Abby though she is never shown. Like with his parents the events above the surface don’t matter. All that matters is the bullies pushed him down, and Abby pulled him up.

I know this is a birth allusion, but all I smell is chlorine

I know this is a birth allusion, but all I smell is chlorine.



Going back to Todd’s notion that the bullies plan was terrible, so is Abby taking a leap. I can only imagine that after leaving Owen in the apartment her plan involved following Owen around until he needed some saving, then swoop in and be the hero.

What if Owen gets in trouble during the day? What if Owen gets in trouble on the wrong side of a threshold? What if Owen never gets in trouble…. many points of failure here.

But Based on what we have seen of Owen’s life so far, waiting for something horrible to happen to him wasn’t that bad of a bet.

Todd: So, what the bully actually told him was, he’d cut out one of Owen’s eyes, in an “Eye for an Ear” kind of biblical thing.

So now we’re at the end with the last shot of the movie being him on a train with a giant trunk and a stack of Now & Laters, doing morse code knocks to the trunk to let us know Abby is inside.

So, I guess in return for Renfielding he’ll be supplied with a lifetime of bloody hugs and Now & Laters.

Oh yeah, that'll do.

Oh yeah, that’ll do.



Travis: And that is Let Me In. It was a Financial “Meh” and a Critical “Well that just happened”. The original was a cult quality retelling of a mildly popular book.

In the US though the studios didn’t know how to market the film, audiences and critics didn’t know what to expect, and the film had some problems at a basic level.

Notably you can’t have a sexually ambiguous character played by an obviously female actress; it just creates awkward dialog.

Second, the relationship between Abby and the Old Man is never explained exactly, there are scattered clues throughout but the mystery is never defined, rendering the clues pointless.

Thirdly, this landed smack in the middle of “twilight”-mania so it never stood a snowball’s chance in hell.

And Finally period pieces are tough enough, but nobody wants to be reminded that the early 80′s existed.

Todd: Except Rubik’s Cube manufacturers

Travis: Lets kick off this weeks Good, Bad and Ugly.

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

The Good

Travis: I’m an annoying little nerdling that likes fiction to obey rules, even if the subject is ridiculous. And while I railed against the threshold, the take on Vampirism in this movie I was totally cool with. F*@k you “Twilight”.

Todd: Along the same lines, I don’t feel this story ever strayed into “Well, that couldn’t happen” territory. The creepy apartment complex with it’s interesting collection of characters, and the pseudo-pedophiliac relationship between Abby and the old man, and the divorcing parents. I mean, all this stuff is so believable that it adds an air of authenticity to the story overall.

Plus, as I pointed out a couple of times during the review, the script itself is fairly tight. There’s a good bit of foreshadowing with the pole creepy old guy uses to push the body underwater becoming the pole Owen uses to whack the bully; there’s the bully calling his little brother a little girl, which is the same thing little brother bully calls Owen, which is the same thing Owen fantasizes about calling victims in his fantasies; there’s the really well used voyeurism aspect to Owen’s character. Just a lot of little things done very well.

The Bad

Travis: The Old man needed one more scene. They should have taken the 5 minutes of flash-forward and used it to let us know who that guy is so we might care about his sacrifice.

Todd: For me the bad was the changes they made to, seriously, just the characters names. It felt so unnecessary. Oscar had to be Owen? Because Oscar’s not an American name? Or Eli? That had to become Abby?

There’s just no reason for it and it bugs me.

The Ugly

Travis: And the Ugly is once again the lighting. I realize this is a vampire story but it is also a love story. So cool it off with the night filters when they are inside surrounded by actual lights.

I will counter my own complaint on the lighting as when the sun was out with a vampire in the scene (new vamp in the hospital, Abby in the bathroom) the sun was absurdly bright which was a touch I liked.

Todd: My Ugly is that one scene with the completely unnecessary CG vampire attack.
Would have been so much creepier with just a little girl killing a big guy (remember, he was the workout health nut) by tearing into his neck. Instead it looked like a cartoon.

Travis: Final Thoughts?

Todd: Probably didn’t need a remake. The Swedish one is just fine. Though I did like the trash bag masked killer riding in the back of the car scene better than the attack in the high school from the original. Other than that, no reason not to just watch the original.

Travis: It did need a remake because it is not a bad story and plenty of people won’t watch a foreign film. And don’t gloss over the original, it had quite a few pacing and editing issues.

I will say that if you are going to do a remake you need to be careful with your setting and period. The people that will care about Vampires will have trouble remembering the early 80′s. Your built in audience for this film are Twilight lovers, film geeks and pedophiles. If you don’t cater to them your box office take will be creepily unprofitable.

And that was Let Me In, we watched it so now you don’t have to.