Let me get this out of the way, I didn’t see the original movie (I know, shame...), so this won’t be a review comparing the two movies. This is my first impression of this story, and this movie. And what was my impression of this movie? Well, I walked away liking a lot of things about this story, and how this movie was done.
This story follows a 12-year-old boy named Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee). Life has dealt him a bad hand, as he struggles with parents that are getting divorced, being bullied at school, and having no friends. There is a light at the end of the tunnel when a young girl named Abby (Chloe Moretz), and her “father” move in next door. Finally a friend, who as a young boy, he quickly wants to be more than just friends, however, she has a secret that may make or break their relationship.
There are a lot of things that I liked about this movie, but the first thing I have to mention is the acting. As far as young actors, last year I thought Isabelle Fuhrman did a wonderful job as Esther in Orphan. Kodi and Chloe do an equally terrific job in their roles. They really mastered all of the characteristics of their characters, and played off of each other very well. When it was time to love the characters you loved them, and when it was time to doubt them, you doubted them.
Maybe their acting is good because the characters are so interesting. When describing Owen, you could say he is awkward, different, impressionable, and just looking to be loved. A big reason for his insecurities is the environment he has grown up in. Given his struggles, you would think it would be easy to feel sorry for him. However, if you take a closer look at him, it isn’t as simple as it seems. It is interesting how just before you really find out about his struggles, they play him off as being somewhat troubled. There is a scene early on, when he is looking in the mirror with a knife in his hand, and a mask on his face. He repeats a phrase, which leaves you thinking that he is a disturbed little boy. It kind of reminded me of the young Michael Myers in the Halloween remake, but lacking that true evilness. Then there are a few things he does after meeting Abby, which could give you reasons to think differently about him.
Abby has similar characteristics as Owen, but for a very different reason: she is a vampire. She is awkward, and different because she is hiding that secret. Impressionable, because even though she doesn’t want to get close to Owen, she can’t help but be charmed by his unusual manner. She found someone that is on the outside of society like her. As far as looking to be loved, it may not be as obvious as Owen, but every vampire needs a companion. Then, there are her vampire characteristics. She may look harmless, but she is far from it. There are a few times when she goes from helpless little 12-year-old to vicious, hungry vampire. I am definitely not letting her in my house!
Put these two characters together, and you get a great love story. Did I just say love story? I guess I did! It turns out to be a love story without all the love and romance. They are only 12 years old (or in a 12 year old’s body) after all, so maybe you could call it bonding. There is no sparkling vampire, or sappy “I love you” dialogue. The story mostly centers around Owen and his struggles, but over the course of the movie, a bond is formed between Abby and him. In one of his classes, he is reading Romeo and Juliet, which he relates his situation to. Not that there are two families forbidding them to be together, but it is more about the situation that each of them are in. He has some growing up to do, and circumstances have to change for her before they can truly be together. While each of them may give you reason to dislike them, ultimately you can only root for the pair.
The movie moves at a slow and steady pace, which seems to fit with the characters, but it may be too slow for some people. If you like the characters, then it shouldn’t bother you too much, but if you aren’t connecting with them, it may be a bore. The movie is kind of like a boxing match when two fighters are just circling the ring taking jabs at each other. Then all of the sudden, one of them starts going for the knock out blow, and the action picks up before going back to jabbing. Of course, most of those “knock out blow” moments were vampire related, and there is just enough of them. One of those moments that is most note worthy is when she goes into Owen’s apartment without him giving her permission to come in. During True Blood, we got to see what happened when Sookie revoked a vampire’s invitation while they were in her house. This time we get to see what happens when a vampire comes in without an invitation. Now I know why vampires don’t crash parties!
I don’t usually get hung up on shots in a movie, but I thought this movie had some very interesting ones. There is one at the beginning with the cop standing outside a glass window door, and you see a reflection of a TV showing a speech by Ronald Regan. Then, there is the shot of Owen’s eyes as he is looking through his telescope. One of the more terrifying shots is when Abby looks up, as she feeds on one of her victims. Also, there is her final vampire act in the movie. Instead of showing you everything that happened, which I usually prefer, they give you a taste of it, but leave you with the lasting image instead. In this case, I thought it worked well. It really shows the extreme other side of her, and the lengths she will go to with the proper motivation.
A lot of people think that a remake can’t be as good as the original. If that is the case here, then I am anxious to see the original because this remake is a pretty good movie. The characters are intriguing, and the acting is great. It is a brilliant story of how a young boy, who is potentially heading down the wrong path, has a chance encounter with a vampire that changes his life potentially forever. It covers many elements of a true vampire’s life, which gives you just enough bloody moments. The movie’s pace and setting fit perfectly with the characters, and produce some great shots. I give this movie 3.5 pools of blood.