Before zombies, vampires were the ghouls who ruled. And some of them were quite sexy.
For instance, I found Frank Langella’s portrayal of the Transylvanian count very appealing. Then again, I was thirteen when I saw Dracula (1979) and much like my taste in cuisine, my opinion of what constitutes sexiness has changed. So, for sake of authenticity–and experiment–I watched a portion of the film the other night.
Frank Langella still holds up. The movie?…not so much. I had to bail.
Then there’s the vampire Jason Patrick–that’s the actor, not the vampire’s name–in Lost Boys. Now that’s a sexy vampire.
Chris Sarandon is sexy too, in Fright Night, (1985) but he’s too-too diabolical to be full blown sexy. (I know. The too thing is a bit much, but I’m keepin’ it. Obviously.)
But vampires aren’t always sexy. Nosferatu, the 1922 original, comes to mind.
The vampire in Matt Reeves’ 2010 psychological/romantic horror film, Let Me In, isn’t sexy either. And that’s a good thing since she’s a twelve-year-old girl.
Of course vampires are no tellin’ how old because they are doomed to sameness of their birth until someone puts a stake through their hearts or until the sunlight burns them to a crisp. In this regard, Abby (Chloe Grace Mortez) is no different from her ilk.
But she is unique.
For one thing, her skin emanates a hue of blue. Not that she’s the color of a smurf or–God forbid–of a humanoid Avatar. No. She’s more the color of an infant born without enough oxygen in the blood. The illness is called blue baby syndrome and the discoloration is subtle.
Abby is subtle too. She wears a drab hoodie and appears to be always cold, except that she isn’t. She walks barefoot in the snow without so much discomfort as most us have walking barefoot on the beach in 90 degree weather.
Oddly, the boy who lives next door to Abby has the same blue pallor. He too is twelve and, like her, he is an only child living with a single parent in dreary apartment complex. His name is Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee).
Owen’s not a vampire. But he is creepy. He likes to spy on his neighbors with his telescope.
Okay, that’s a no-no, but it’s not beyond the pale of early adolescent boyhood–or so I’ve been told. (I have girls.) It certainly doesn’t justify his complexion.
All right. Then try this on for size:
Owen likes to don a Michael Myers mask while he’s spying on his neighbors and he soothes himself by lunging at imaginary school girls with a butcher knife.
So yeah, this kid needs help.
And that’s too bad because he’s not going to get it from his mother, who is on a fundamentalist Christian/alcohol induced tear, or from his father, who is too preoccupied with the terms of their divorce to listen to the language of his son’s off kilter angst. What’s more, he’s a skinny little loner with big eyes and a pretty mouth, which makes him the easy target of a sadistic bully with homosexual urges.
One evening, Owen is taking out his frustrations on a tree with his newly purchased pocket knife.
“Are you scared? Are you scared little girl?” he jeers as he stabs the bark of the tree.
When he turns around, Abby is standing there.
“What are you doing?” she asks.
“Nothing,” he answers.
“Just so you know, we can’t be friends,” she says.
“Who says I want to be,” he answers.
But, of course, he does. Desperately.
Owen has observed this strange, pretty girl before, but this is first time they’ve talked. Little by little she warms to him. And before long they are holding hands and he is giving her gifts. She reciprocates with a gentle kiss on his cheek.
Meanwhile, a disheveled detective (Elias Koteus) is investigating a series of ritualistic murders perpetrated by a man in a mask made out of a garbage bags with cutout eye holes. Two teenagers from Owen’s school have fallen victim to the fiend.
Then a neighbor and object of Owen’s voyeurism is murdered. Though the murder appears to be unrelated to the ritualistic killings, it draws the detective to Owen’s door and into the orbit of all-consuming first love.
And perilously close to the duplicity of evil.
Director, Matt Reeves insists that Let Me In is not a remake of Thomas Alfredson’s critically acclaimed 2008 Swedish film, Let The Right One In. He doth protest too much.
That is not to say that his film is subpar. It isn’t.
Where Alfredson’s film is artfully stark, Let Me In is stylishly sleek. The difference is as American and as subtle as an electric blue IROC Z28.
And that’s a good thing.