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Film / Let Me In

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Let Me In is a 2010 horror film by Matt Reeves (of Cloverfield fame, starring Chloe Grace Moretz and Kodi Smit-McPhee. It is an English-language remake of the Swedish film Let the Right One In, based on the book of the same name by John Ajvide Lindqvist.

In 1982, in Los Alamos, New Mexico, young Owen is tormented by bullies and frustrated with his parents, who are too wrapped up in their divorce to offer him much sympathy. Everything changes for him when Abby moves in to the apartment next door. However, Abby is not what she seems, and as Owen strikes up a friendship with her, he is soon drawn into her dangerous life.

For tropes on the original book, see Let the Right One In. For tropes on the Swedish film, see Let the Right One In


This film contains examples of:

  • Adaptational Heroism: Thomas In this version seems to have been divorced from the clear pedophile storyline of Hakan in the book and the softened version of it from the Swedish film. Here there is a scene revealing that his counterpart met Abby when he was a child.
  • Adaptation Distillation: This version distills the plot further than the Swedish version did. To the point that barely any characters other than the boy and the vampire even register, and one Composite Character is created to fulfill the function of one of the demoted characters at the climax.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: In Let the Right One In, Eli had dark hair and Oskar was blonde. In this film, Owen has dark hair and Abby is the blonde.
  • Adaptation Name Change: A lot of characters had their names changed to fit in better in America than Sweden. Oskar became Owen. Eli became Abby. Hakan became Thomas. Conny became Kenny (ironically his original name in the book was Jonny).
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  • Alas, Poor Villain: Thomas still has a sad ending ,despite the fact that in this version he's still a serial killer,holding a sobbing Eli in his arms and letting her feed on him before falling out the hospital window to his death. Especially considering what he does to his face to keep Eli safe beforehand.
  • The Alcoholic: In the remake, it was his mother that was the alcoholic.
  • Aliens in Cardiff: Abby has been roaming the suburbs of New Mexico.
  • Asshole Victim: Owen's bullies. Abby might be rather brutal when tearing them apart, but even if some of them expressed uncertainty about their final attacks on him, they were threatening to either drown Owen or leave him half-blind.
  • Battle Discretion Shot: Abby's slaughter of the bullies at the climax is obscured; the camera remains underwater and focused on Owen the whole time.
  • Berserk Button: Whatever you do, don't try to hurt the boy the vampire likes.
  • Big Bad: Kenny, Owen's persistent tormentor.
  • Big Brother Bully: Kenny's older brother Jimmy. It's implied that it's because of him that Kenny became a bully himself, since he calls Kenny a "little girl" to mock him in much the same way Kenny does to Owen. He's also the one who leads the bullies and threatens Owen with either drowning him or picking out one of his eyes, to the objections of Kenny and his friends who think he's going too far.
  • Blood from Every Orifice: If Abby enters a place without being invited in first, she bleeds from everywhere.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: In the remake, the bullies attack Owen until he wets himself.
  • Blood Oath: Owen cuts his hand and suggests this to Abby. Abby, being a vampire, takes it somewhat less than calmly.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: The Swedish film relied a lot on long shots to not focus as much on the gory aspects. This film was more open to those aspects.
  • Boy Meets Ghoul: A charming story where the bullied boy meets a charming vampire when she moves in next door.
  • Bully Brutality: The bullies that harass Owen and end up almost drowning him.
  • Children Are Innocent: Averted with the bullies and Eli being cruel and homicidal.
  • Coming-of-Age Story: Oddly heartwarming. Kind of.
  • Creepy Child: Abby counts as one giving how she murders people on screen. Although she's been a child for a long time.
  • Danger Takes a Backseat: One of the most intense sequences in the film has Thomas hiding in the backseat of a car in order to kill someone for Abby to feed on.
  • Dark Secret: The audience knows that Abby is a vampire the entire time; Owen finds out eventually. Stemming from this, Abby tries to hide the more gruesome aspects of her affliction from her new friend (such as what happens when she enters a house without permission, and what she does while sleeping/recuperating in the bathroom), but Owen deals with each in turn.
  • Darkness = Death: The finale pool scene starts out bright just like it was in the Swedish film but once the bullies come in they turn out the lights where the entire pool area let alone the pool is ridiculously dark as the violence is about to pick up.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: The remake has two instances of this, since it takes place in the 1980s. The first being Kenny being forced to do laps for sexually harassing a classmate. If the movie had taken place in modern day, his punishment would have been much more severe. Another one was Owen being able to buy a knife at only 12-years-old, which would not fly as easily in the post-Columbine society.
  • Demoted to Extra: Most of the mid level characters from previous versions are excluded from this version.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: In Let Me In they try to kill Owen for splitting Kenny's ear, in self defense no less. This is distilled from the book where there was an ongoing series of events to get there, but this is the same level as from the Swedish film.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Owen is at first brutually targeted by the bullies until after Abby's encouragement he finally strikes back splitting Kenny's ear in the process.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Owen and Thomas to Abby, if you consider Abby evil. Kenny and Jimmy to each other.
  • Eye Scream: Referenced; Kenny's older brother threatens to put one of Owen's eyes out.
  • Facial Horror: Thomas after pouring acid on his face looks all the worse for it when he is in the hospital.
    • Virginia in the remake as well where she is not only vampiric but getting rapidly burned by the sun.
  • The Faceless: Used in the English-language film to signify this is principally a tale about childhood (more or less), with adult characters mostly peripheral and often fleeting. Owen's island-like status is emphasized by his absent father only making one scene by telephone, and his mother – a fairly constant presence in the book – appears numerous times yet is never once seen properly on camera: she varies from being a distant figure, a ghostly reflection or obscured by a door, to fully visible yet thrown way out of focus or seen only from the neck down; even a passport-type photo glimpsed in her wallet is crumpled to the point of indistinguishability.
  • Foreign Remake: Let Me In is an American remake of the film version of Let The Right One In.
  • Freudian Excuse: It's implied that the reason why Kenny bullies Owen more harshly than the others is because he himself is being bullied by his big brother. His brother even calls him a "little girl" which is what Kenny has been calling Owen.
  • Gender Flip: Abby here is 100% female, her counterpart in the book and Swedish film, Eli, on the other hand was a castrated boy who for his/her reasons presented or was assumed to be a girl.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: In a deleted scene, it's revealed Abby's uncle was a vampire who turned her after apparently raping her.
  • Hands-Off Parenting: Owen's mother is clearly completely detached from his life due her own alcoholism and despondency over her failed marriage. She is completely unaware that Owen is being physically and emotionally tortured by bullies every day at school and is developing psychological quirks at home due to his sheer loneliness. She thinks everything is just fine and dandy with him. Owen's father, meanwhile, hasn't even seen him for an undetermined amount of time and is also oblivious to his plight. It's an ironic point that Abby, a vampire, shows more genuine concern for Owen's well-being than either of his parents. It makes Owen's decision to leave with Abby at the end of the film completely understandable.
  • Kubrick Stare: Abby does one while feeding on the man in the tunnel.
  • Lighter and Softer: Ironically in the same film that didn't mind showing more blood several characters are less morally murky in this film than the book and Swedish film. Owen is still a bullied kid who has a knife who thinks about attacking his bullies, yet he doesn't do a fraction of the stuff book Oskar did from shoplifting and setting a fire at his school. Thomas is separated out from Hakan by dropping all the pedophile storyline in favor of him having met Abby similar to how Owen did when he was younger.
  • Man on Fire: Virginia again although this remake shows it more gradually compared to the other versions.
  • Must Be Invited: The movie universe takes this rule very seriously. When Abby violates it, the results are very bloody.
  • Nightmare Face: Played deadly straight with Abby.
  • Prequel: The comic Let Me In: Crossroads, which John Ajvide Lindqvist did not want made (he unknowingly sold the comic rights.)
  • Rapid-Fire "No!": At the end, Kenny can be heard pleading with Abby in this fashion before she kills him off screen.
  • The Renfield: Thomas procures blood for Abby. As such Owen appears to have taken over this role for the future.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Owen's expression in one scene plays off this trope. He worries he is being groomed to be this once he sees a picture of Thomas and Abby together when he was younger.
  • Roaring Rampage of Rescue: Abby slaughters Owen's bullies in order to save him from being drowned.
  • Sadistic Choice: The climax involves a sadistic contest of Owen being held underwater; if he can spend 3 minutes below the surface he just gets a cut on his cheek but if he can't spend 3 minutes below the surface, he gets his eye gouged out. Mind you he is also being held down by a bigger teen's hand which could also drown him instead. Also in the end averted with another sadistic ending, Owen's vampire lover comes to even the score.
  • Tears of Blood: If Abby enters a place uninvited, she bleeds from her eyes... and her nose... and her mouth... and pretty much everywhere else.
  • Undead Barefooter: Abby never wears any shoes.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Abby pulls one of these in order to lure in a victim, pretending to have been injured so that he'll pick her up, allowing her to feed on him.

Example of: