Monday, November 01, 2010


There are several types of horror movies (teen, psychological, action, comedic, etc.), but not many have heart. That's not to say that they don't attempt to tug on the heartstrings—in a non-violent way. There are plenty of children-related horror films (Godsend, The Forbidden, The Orphan, The Box, etc.) that involve the loss of a child or the attempts of saving one, but those are more like melodramas—horror-themed soap operas. They're horrors that include drama. This film, however, is a drama that includes horror.
Abby (Chloe Moretz from Kick-Ass) is a pretty, young, blonde girl who travels with an older man (Richard Jenkins from Eat Pray Love and The Visitor) everyone believes to be her father. She never goes out in the day and she doesn't wear shoes, even though there's always snow on the ground. In the real world, she'd be considered disturbed, secluded, and, most of all, lonely. Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee from The Road) is a pale, timid, friendless boy who's suffering through his parents' tense divorce, neglected by his alcoholic mother, and bullied by three of his classmates. An outsider is the exact type of friend these two need—someone who understands their solitude, who understands their inability to fit in. Before Owen learns what Abby is, their friendship is as normal as any. He tries to introduce her to new things (Rubik's cube, & Now and Later candy), and she encourages him to stick up for himself and conquer his enemy. But after he learns what she is, their relationship becomes truly interesting and ultimately heartbreaking.
Whereas most viewers are probably sympathetic towards Abby's inability to go to school, enjoy candy, or do anything a normal preteen does, I was more saddened by Owen's fate. When he asked her to be his girlfriend, she told him that she wasn't a girl. She said she was "nothing." At first, I thought that was just her way of distancing herself from the human race, so she wouldn't get attached, but then I realized she's right. After so many decades, she had accepted what she was, and she did what she had to to survive. It wasn't just "avoid sunlight" and "drink blood." Her main source of survival was her guardian. Once I saw the photo booth strip of her with the younger version of her caretaker, my heart broke. This girl is terminally lonely and she must spend the rest of her life continuously replacing her best friend, subjecting them to a life of carnage and denying them any sense of normalcy. She knew that her current caretaker was growing weary of their murder-drain-drink routine, so once he committed suicide, it started to seem like she was auditioning Owen for the role—not intentionally, but instinctively. She kept trying to see if he would accept her, seeing how much she could get away with.
There's this exchange in one scene. After she accidentally showed him her true face, as she hungered for the blood that dripped from his hand, he went to her apartment and refused to enter until she said he could come in. He wanted to be treated the same way she asked him to treat her. He was very emotional and adamant, and it was like, for him, the title represented being "let into her way of life." But I think what it means for her is that she wanted to be let into his heart.
In the end, you don't feel too bad for Owen, because of the good influence she ultimately has on him, and how much he technically gains—as opposed to loses—when he decides to run away with her. But at the same time, you can't get the image of her former caretaker's acid-burned face falling to his snowy death out of your head. Abby's not just a vampire that feeds on the body, but the soul. And it makes you wonder how lonely a child would have to be in the real world to give into a life filled with death.
If you're looking for a good scare, I suggest you look elsewhere, for all you'll get here is sorrow. Abby looks pretty creepy when she bares her teeth or mauls an innocent bystander, but the real terrifying monster in this film is the bullied bully, Kenny (Dylan Minnette from "Lost"). He inflicts the pain he wishes he could inflict on his big brother on Owen, humiliating him and emotionally scarring him by giving him painful wedgies and slashing his face with a blade. It's the perfect film to take a bullied victim to, because in this current pop culture climate, where celebrities are taking a stand against gay-bashing bullies and encouraging closeted and depressed children to stay strong, I think this generation would find Owen's ultimate revenge quite enjoyable.

1 comment:

  1. It was a very emotional film. It will stir up all the emotions in you. I have watched it a fortnight ago but it is lingering in my mind. I have watched many films but none of them had ever left such lasting impression.