Theology and “Let Me In”

Posted: February 16, 2011 in Uncategorized

“Let Me In” is a remake of the brilliant atmospheric 2008 European vampire movie, “Let the Right One In.”  It is one of the few horror remakes that actually surpasses the original.  

The plot follows lonely 12-year old Owen who is picked on at school and caught in the midst of his parent’s divorce at home. One night Owen meets his neighbor Abby who lives with an older man she assumes is her father.  The two become very close with Owen asking Abby to “go steady” and she advising him to strike back at the bullies at school.

Eventually, Owen learns that Abby is a vampire and the older man is a former friend like Owen that Abby met decades before.  The older man slithers around dark parking lots at night searching for Abby’s victims until he is caught by the police and commits suicide. Owen must then decide whether to serve Abby or turn his back on her.

Unlike many other vampire flicks, Abby’s existence is not depicted as sexy or cool but bleak.  Abby is an addict who will do anything to get her fix.  Owen is desperate for friendship and must ask if he is willing to exchange a life of enabling a destructive force in exchange for the only real companionship he has ever known. 

Addiction pervades my own ministry context.  I help pastor a church in a town that is struggling within the grip of “pill mills” and crack houses. If you have Netflix Instant then take a look at the documentary The Wild & Wonderful Whites and you’ll get a glimpse of what we deal with in Appalachia. 

I see characters like Abby and Owen every day–addicts and those who enable them in exchange for something other than a television to fill their days.  They haunt the streets of Portsmouth, Ohio but are ignored by most of those who drive by them every day.

God recognizes our need for companionship (Genesis 2) and celebrates romance (Song of Songs) and friendship (Proverbs 18:24) but warns of the destructive nature of placing anything but God as one’s ultimate concern. 

Scripture refers to the elevation of anything created over the creator as idolatry–worshipping something as God that is not god.  Addiction is a form of idolatry.  In the movie Let Me In, Abby rips people apart in order to get her fix.  Addicts often resort to violence as well and, just like Abby, they are not above using others, like the one time friend turned pretend father for the vampire who will always look like a 12-year old girl. Thus, a true relationship is not possible for when the desire for the idol overwhelms the addict everyone becomes nothing more than a means to an end.

Idolatry cheapens relationships and eventually drains life of its pleasure.  We can only have a life worth living, including romance and friendships, if God, and nothing else, rests at the center of our desires and affections.

  1. I really enjoyed “Let the Right one in” and “Let Me In” looks interesting.

    While you look around and see addiction in pills on Ohio, I can not help but see addiction to status and popularity in the suburbs of Dallas. Around her the best examples is parents and their children. The child wants fame, skill, and popularity and the parents sacrifice everything (including God) to give it to them.

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