A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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.
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 ...
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?
- In theaters: October 1, 2010
- On DVD or streaming: February 1, 2011
- Cast: Chloe Grace Moretz, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Richard Jenkins
- Director: Matt Reeves
- Studio: Overture Films
- Genre: Horror
- Run time: 115 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: strong bloody horror violence, language and a brief sexual situation
For kids who love vampires
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.