Let Me In

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Let Me In Movie Poster Image
Vampire remake is much gorier than Twilight.
  • R
  • 2010
  • 115 minutes
Popular with kidsParents recommend

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 9 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 30 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Main character Owen is an awkward kid who's dealing with life in a miserable little town, an absent dad, and a mother who's a distant religious fanatic. Bullies threaten him at school, and he has no friends until he meets a vampire girl about his age. It's nice that Owen finally connects with someone, but needless to say, theirs is a rather unhealthy relationship. Their behavior together is often irresponsible -- it includes lying, too much sexual tension for such a young age, revenge, and running away. And the girl actually kills several people with no consequences.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Owen is a quiet misfit who can't quite connect to anyone until he makes friends with vampire Abby. Unfortunately, she's the wrong kind of influence, so neither of their characters can be seen as a positive role model. The adults in the movie don't fare much better; most of them seem miserable, trapped by their sorry fates, and unable to connect with the children in a meaningful way.

Violence

Bloody attacks, sucking of blood, gushing blood, neck snapping, strangling, disposal of dead bodies, thumb slicing, suicide, a face burned with acid, scary vampire images, bodies bursting into flame, and attempted drowning. There's a car accident that's shown from inside the car. A 12-year-old boy plays with a kitchen knife. Also severe and violent bullying among the middle schoolers; the hero fights back by hitting a bully in the side of the head with a large stick. In one death scene, viewers can see a pulsing vein in the victim's neck slowly stop moving.

Sex

In one controversial scene, the 12-year-old vampire girl takes off her clothes (nothing is shown) and climbs into bed with the 12-year-old boy. There's no hint of sex or even kissing, but the boy does choose this moment to ask the girl to go steady. Later the boy and the girl share an awkward, sexually charged moment alone in a secret room, though nothing happens. Otherwise, the boy spies on his neighbors and catches a man and a woman about to have sex. Viewers see a naked breast and kissing. Some bullies at school try to remove a girl's bathing suit (the act is more malicious than sexual).

Language

Strong language throughout, including many uses of "f--k" and "s--t," as well as "Jesus," "Jesus Christ," and "God" (alll used as exclamations) and "goddamn," "pissed," "ass," and "crap."

Consumerism

Most brands/logos are used to help establish the movie's 1983 setting: Rubik's Cube, Ms. Pac-Man, KISS.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Several secondary characters, all teens, are seen smoking cigarettes. One of the main adult characters smokes regularly.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Let Me In is a very gory remake of the 2008 Swedish vampire movie Let the Right One In. It has similarly somber mood, more blood, and a bit less mystery. Both movies include some fairly controversial elements -- such as a 12-year-old girl disrobing (nothing is shown) and climbing into bed with a 12-year-old boy (nothing happens). There's also teen bullying and smoking, strong language (including "f--k" and "s--t"), and many disturbing and frightening images (lots of which are soaked in gushing blood). Teens who are looking for something weightier than what the Twilight saga has to offer will appreciate the strong characters and performances, but it's not age-appropriate for younger viewers -- or anyone with a low tolerance for gore.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written by1koip July 8, 2011

Let Me In Review

I found this to be an awesome movie with great meaning and special effects, though I would not recommend this for children under 12. I myself am only 10 but I h... Continue reading
Adult Written byclarence August 7, 2015
Teen, 14 years old Written byantoineisthebest April 25, 2011

amazing remake

I just watch it and it's amazing movie, for everyone who as a medium tolerence in gore,(we see a young women burning,a girl is attacking a dectetive alot i... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byCyonnara October 9, 2010

Amazing Remake

This film was amazing, I was just like everyone else, worried that they made a remake so quickly, but Chloe Moretz and Smit-Mcphee show amazing chemistry and pr... Continue reading

What's the story?

The slightly odd Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee) lives a lonely existence in wintry New Mexico, circa 1983. His parents are divorced, he has no friends, and he's the target of merciless bullies. One night he meets his new neighbor, Abby (Chloe Grace Moretz), who seems even odder than Owen: She doesn't go to school, she can't eat candy, and she can solve a Rubik's Cube. Abby warns Owen that they can't be friends, but they make a connection anyway -- and by the time that Owen learns that she's a vampire, it's too late -- she's his only friend, and she has begun to help him come out of his shell. How long can a friendship like this last? Will Owen survive his bullies long enough to find out?

Is it any good?

Director Matt Reeves has kept very close to the much-loved, critically acclaimed Swedish original Let the Right One In, including its hushed, wintry atmosphere and deliberate pacing. The new film adds in more intense, gory sequences (and some particularly awful CG effects), as well as some more "explanatory" sequences that provide more information on the characters; there's less mystery here.

The more obvious gore has the effect of neutralizing the movie's climactic sequence. In the original, it's a shocker, but here it's yet another gory scene in a long line of them. As a remake, it resides in the shadow of the original, and there's no real comparison. But the expert performances by youngsters Kodi Smit-McPhee and Chloe Grace Moretz go a long way in rescuing the new movie. These tender, emotionally mature characters provide the centerpiece for a very intense, effective coming-of-age story.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the film's violence and blood and gore. How did it affect you?

  • Is fighting back a good way to deal with bullies? Did Owen's actions help his situation? What are some other ways of dealing with bullies?

  • Owen clearly needed someone to reach out to, but is Abby the right choice? Who else could he have reached out to?

Movie details

For kids who love vampires

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