A Look Back: Let Me In

There is an unavoidable plot-hole built into TV shows that revolve around the supernatural in Everytown, USA at least if they take place in the same community week after week – mainly that an alert viewer must conclude that virtually everyone in it, young and old, has amnesia. How else to explain why there are so many bizarre happenings on a regular basis, but most townfolk remain blase? Why do so many people – particularly “new kids in town” – keep disappearing/dying at a remarkable rate? Wouldn’t parents eventually join forces and form some kind of alliance to figure out why their offspring keep meeting a grisly fate – especially since the local authorities don’t seem to be making a dent in permanently solving the problem? Why is there not a mass exodus to avoid the unfortunate fate of so many?

I was reminded of all this when I looked up “Let Me In,” on IMDB, a horror movie featuring middle school age children, a remake of “Let the Right One In,” which is based on a book of the same name by Swedish author John Ajvide-Lindquist. There’s apparently a new TV show based on this, too – I don’t know how long it’s going to continue for (if it hasn’t ended already), but I suspect that most of the non-major characters will suffer from amnesia, in order to prolong the drama. Obviously, a movie doesn’t have to worry about this issue, though there was likely some challenge in translating the setting from Stockholm to New Mexico. But the premise stays true to the book.

It’s said that beggars can’t be choosers, and this also tends to be true of friendless, bullied movie youngsters like the one Kodi plays. So if a new gender-fluid individual (Chloe) around your age who bizarrely goes barefoot in winter, smells a tad funky and can solve your Rubik Cube overnight moves into your apartment complex, it’s not a bad idea to return her overtures, awkward as they may be. Given that you are also dealing with your parents’ acrimonious divorce and are the target of a junior Cobra Kai at school, you don’t have many alternatives. Thus you might overlook some oddities like the fact that she lives with a reclusive, light-averse guardian (Richard Jenkins), appears at your window at odd hours (but luckily when your single mom isn’t home), and can only enter a room after being given permission. Besides, Chloe soon proves herself to be a valuable ally when it comes to giving advice on how to deal with the bullies, although there are bigger crimes afoot in their community – involving bloody deaths, icy ponds and hospital wards – which helpfully show President Reagan on the telly so you know it’s the eighties. There’s also that PSA from those years, “It’s 10 p.m. Do you know where your children are?” that gets cleverly inserted into the film, as well. (In this case, the answer is a resounding ‘no’.)

Although Elias Koteas as the detective who valiantly tries to put all the pieces of the puzzle together, gives solving the mystery his best shot, he is ultimately no match for Chloe who, after dispatching him, goes over to the local indoor swimming pool to rescue Kodi from a gang attack that threatens to drown him – or equally worse. The two are successful at this, as well, and are seen in the last scene on a train heading off into the unknown. It’s not exactly an exuberant ending as flying a luck dragon while the bullies cower in the Dumpster, but it’s still satisfying – even though uncomfortable questions will likely nag at you for some time afterward.

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