American remake of the superior Danish vampire movie, “Let the Right One In.” Story of a shy, sensitive and withdrawn young 12 year old boy, Owen, who unwittingly becomes good friends with a 12 year old girl vampire, Abby. Abby has just moved into the neighborhood with her dad, an older man who goes out to kill innocent young people and drain their blood for his vampire daughter to drink. Meanwhile, Owen is bullied by an increasingly violent older kid at school. Of course Owen doesn’t know Abby is a vampire at first but they become fast friends and her strange actions become more apparent to Owen.
The name of the film is the heart of the theme of this moral tale about the seduction and temptation of evil in our lives. The notion is that a vampire cannot enter the victim’s home dwelling unless she is invited in. Otherwise, she will die. So by the time Owen discovers Abby is this evil monster (he even calls his estranged dad to ask him is there real evil), he is already very fond of her, “going steady” and finds it hard to stomach her need for feasting, but finds it even harder to say goodbye to her. He is drawn to her. He is seduced by her sweetness toward him. There is no sexual aspect brought into this film, which keeps it on track thematically. There are several times where she is called “Sweetheart” or “Sweetie” by several people illustrating how sweet and innocent evil can come disguised into our lives. Is not Satan disguised as an Angel of Light? So, we are responsible for accepting the seduction of sin for a season.
So when Owen wants to see what happens to Abby if she is not asked into his home, she starts to bleed and die. He quickly yells out “you can come in!” to stop it. This is the point where Own has allowed his moral senses to be dulled by the friendliness of the temptation. He has stepped over the line. She has been so good to him, he can’t bear to see her in pain. And isn’t that exactly how all evil seduces us? It’s always “greyed” so that we blind ourselves to its true nature. She’s been a friend to him when no one else has, she’s taught him to stick up for himself with the bully, she’s even tried to share his candy with him, which causes her to vomit since vampires can’t eat candy of course.
It takes place in the 1980s and we see on the TV a news clip of Ronald Reagan talking about fighting evil by the power of Jesus Christ. Owen’s mother prays to Jesus Christ before their meals. Is this some kind of religious reference? Often, this is done to make political statements, but in interviews the director has indicated that it was not a political statement so much as a dealing with a state of mind in that era where the notion of evil being outside the United States instead of inside of us. So the movie deals with evil as an essence within us that takes us over.
By the end of the film, Abby’s father has died and so she needs someone to take over his task of providing blood. Owen takes that place as we see him traveling with her box that she sleeps inside. So Owen has embraced the dark side in this coming of age story, a demonic Romeo and Juliet that illustrates the subtle seduction of evil within us and how we succumb willingly and end up justifying the evil that we do.