Synopsis: A young boy named Owen is terrorized at school by evil bullies. One night he meets a girl that tells him right off the bat they can’t be friends. Guess what happens?
Year Released: 2010
Director: Matt Reeves (Cloverfield, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes)
Movie Pitch: Everyone likes vampires right? They’re huge in media right now, Vampire Diaries, Twilight, it’s all over the place, let’s add one more.
Favorite Death: There’s a part where Abby is sitting in a tunnel that so happens to be where this one guy often goes jogging. She’s sitting alone, pretending to have been hurt, when she suddenly attacks this guy. I can’t say for sure this is my favorite death because they’re literally all the same, but this was the first one you get to see Abby in action. It took me by surprise, so I guess that’s something.
Funniest Part: Within the first 10 minutes of the movie, we’re introduced to Owen’s dark side. One night he’s washing dishes and sees a knife sitting on the counter. I thought maybe this meant he was going to kill someone. However, the next second, we’re presented with a scene featuring a shirtless Owen. He’s wearing one of those transparent Halloween masks and wielding the knife. He’s talking to his reflection and saying things like “You scared little girl?” It took me by surprise and gave me hope this movie might not suck if we have an unreliable main character. Unfortunately, I was disappointed soon after.
What they did right: I really hated the bully characters and the suspenseful scenes were done really well. For example, my actual favorite part of the movie was when the old dude was in the back of that guy’s car, then he picked up a passenger. That was a really well-done sequence. The acting, overall, was excellent and the story was okay enough for me to want to know how it ended.
Special effects and lighting: It was a really dark movie, both story wise and literally. The lighting was gloomy, which is expected for a movie featuring a vampire. Special effects were awesome actually. Particularly during the part where the old guy pours acid on his face and is deformed. The blood is really realistic, and the vampire-face makeup isn’t super cheesy.
What I thought would happen: Given the first scene we spend with Owen, we learn he’s reclusive and doesn’t have a single friend. He also has a weird obsession with knives and fantasizes using them on his bullies. We don’t get that context until after we see him talking to his reflection though, so I thought he might be a closeted killer. I thought he might try and find a victim, then fall in love with the girl he found once he discovered she couldn’t die.
I could probably outline this movie on one sheet of paper. It’s very slow-going and has minimal story-based scenes.
Let me just start by saying that this movie is TWO HOURS LONG. I apologize if I mix up scenes or forget to add some. A lot of the movies I watch often run into the issue of including too much in too little time. This film has the opposite problem; there’s not enough to stretch into this two-hour escapade.
As the beginning credits roll, we see a man struggling to be held down in the back of the ambulance. He’s later taken to the hospital and put on a very loud ventilator. After being visited by a man we don’t learn is a cop until the movie is nearly over, he jumps out the window to his death.
Fast forward a bit and we meet Owen. He’s a lonely kid with zero friends and parents that are getting divorced. He spends most of his time being alone, eating Now and Laters, and people-watching. He’s extremely awkward.
We go with him to school one day and learn that he’s being not only bullied but physically abused by a trio of miscreants. They call him a little girl and have really bad hair.
Once he’s home that night, he sees a girl and an old man moving into the apartment next door. The girl never wears shoes and is, therefore, the most interesting thing in Owen’s life.
One day, Owen is stabbing a tree with a pocket knife he bought when he’s approached by Abby, the girl next door. She asks him what he’s doing, then without prompt, tells him they can’t be friends because “that’s just how it is.”
Of course, the two become best friends as the movie goes on.
There are more scenes of bullying, more scenes where Abby and Owen meet up in the courtyard of their apartment building, and a lot more of Owen staring at people.
There are several scenes in which we expect Owen and Abby to kiss, but they don’t. This lends a bit to the Stranger Things controversy. These children are both 12 years old (even though Abby is a much older vampire). In my opinion, there’s no reason for romantic tension and nudity (yes, nudity. At one point Abby completely undresses and crawls into bed with Owen). I feel like that’s pushing things a bit too far and distracts from the fact that this is supposed to be Owen’s only friend.
Because most of the movie is filler violence by bullies, Abby eating people, and The old guy there are only a few scenes that stand out to me.
To feed Abby, The Father must go out and kill people, drain them of blood, hide their bodies, and bring the blood back to Abby to drink so she stays alive. This means he’s got an M.O. for doing this dirty deed. He breaks into cars, hides in the back seat, and kills the driver at the first chance he gets.
There’s one scene in which he’s hiding in the back of a car and the driver picks up an unexpected passenger. The driver and passenger then stop off to get gas, and while the driver is inside paying, the passenger remains in the car. He turns on the music and goes to light a cigarette, but as soon as he turns around to search his bag for a lighter, The Father jumps up and attacks him. He then drives the car away and crashes it. To avoid being recognized once the driver and his friends return, he pours acid (that for some reason he always has with him) over his face.
He later ends up in the hospital and we’re given the context needed for the intro scene. Turns out, he fell out of the window after giving his blood to Abby that visited him.
I loved this scene. It was really dramatic and suspenseful. It made you feel something (unlike the rest of the movie) and gave a lot of meaning to the relationship The Father had with Abby. We later learn that Abby and The Father are lovers- which is super weird. I kinda wished they had gone more into that because she was turned at age 12 and he’s been growing old with her since he was the same age. It’s a sweet romance and the fact that he was willing to become completely disfigured for her is pretty adorable.
Another scene I’ll note here is the scene where Owen finally stands up to his bullies. His gym class is sent out to play hockey on a nearby frozen lake. As the other students are playing, Owen finds a metal pole. he holds it up in defense as his bullies approach and after being taunted by all three hits the biggest, nastiest one on the side of the head.
As the bully cries, another child screams on the other side of the lake. For some reason, this takes precedence to the gym coach and he basically leaves the bully to fend for himself. The other kid was screaming because they found a dead body which then sparks the investigation into Abby and “her dad” but that’s a whole other thing.
The interesting thing about this scene is that we’re meant to be happy that Owen has finally beat his bully. It’s stripped away from the viewer and from Owen by diverting attention away from the scene where it all happens.
I don’t like that at all. Throughout the movie, I wasn’t sure whether or not to trust Owen in the first place. After that scene, I was left more confused. The movie doesn’t give us a verdict on how we should feel about him. The bullies don’t really say anything after it happens and he just gets in trouble like any other kid would.
I’m getting way too deep into this movie, what can I say? It was really long.
In the end, Abby runs away, then comes back when Owen is nearly drowned. How she knows what’s happening when she had left for her new town the night before is beyond me.
She kills the bullies and she and Owen take a train ride out of town, you know, because Owen is basically an orphan and his mother was just the worst (she wasn’t btw).
The special effects make this movie stand out and are the reason it’s a Meh and not a Nope. The way Abby attacks her victims is impressive. Although it’s often hidden by darkness and fast camera movements, it’s still there and decent. On top of that, the burned face of The Father is realistic and horrifying. So it does well in that area, but not any others.
This movie has an actual plot, good acting, and characters we (kinda) care about. However, it moves slowly and stretches a tired story-line too thin, therefore making it suck (badum tss).
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