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Movie ReviewsRating: 4.5 of 5 yaps

Let Me In

In order to successfully remake a film, there has to be some reason behind it. Transferring the brilliant Swedish film Let the Right One In to America seems like it would just play off the different locations. Instead director Matt Reeves what he personally can bring to the subject material, not the country.

The plot and all of the key scenes are the same in both versions. A twelve-year-old girl moves into the neighborhood with her caretaker (Richard Jenkins). Every night the caretaker finds an unexpected person and slits their throat to bottle their blood for Abby, the little girl. Meanwhile young Owen is having trouble with bullies at school and strikes up an innocent relationship with Abby.

It’s the vampire romance film that’s actually…you know…good. The original version remains one of the best horror films of the last decade, but this one holds its ground as an equal. It is because there is strong enthusiasm in its filmmaking. All of the big set pieces in the original were designed to unsettle you, to creep you out. In Let Me In, Reeves is ready to scare you and he’s successful.

He doesn’t rely on gore, but there is plenty of spilled blood. Reeves is not ripping off Hitchcock or Carpenter, but creating his own style of effective horror. If the original was showing you a frightening image, Reeves wants to take a few steps closer and put you among the terror. Everything is more intense and that never cheapens what is going on. There is one extended sequence from inside a car that is just a wonder to watch.

With these additional steps towards the action, there seems to be more of a focus on the relationship. A love story among twelve-year-olds is a difficult one to accomplish, but Reeves lets them interact more. These honest moments makes the payoffs at the end of the film have more resonance and then the film is even more haunting.

The two young leads have already established their quality before in other films. Kodi Smit-McPhee was given acclaims for his role in The Road and Chloe Moretz stole the show in Kick-Ass. In this they continue to be impressive young actors, but Moretz takes it one step further. She brings something very profound as she adds an extra element of soul and soullessness to the performance. There hasn’t been this much sorrow in a character’s demeanor while still transforming into an animalistic monster. It will never happen, but she deserves a Best Actress nomination at this year’s Academy Awards.

This is a horror film that should have a powerful reaction to audiences. With so many films of the genre that are being spit out like on an assembly line, this stands out as a movie of true quality. Nothing is “Americanized.” It still challenges the audience with its subject material, pacing, and the intelligent way it presents the story. There were plenty of fears that the ages would be raised to 18, the leads wouldn’t be as disturbing, or elements of the ending would be changed. Instead there is a level of maturity and inspiration not typically seen out of Hollywood. For once, the remake does not belittle or embarrass but stand as a worthy companion to another excellent film.

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9 Responses to “Let Me In”

  1. [...] new ownership, they co-produced a number of projects but weren’t fully back on the scene until “Let Me In” (2010) was released, a remake of the Swedish vampire thriller “Let the Right One In” (2008). [...]

  2. [...] the Swede behind the moody vampire drama “Let the Right One In” (which was followed by an American remake), and screenwriters Bridget O’Connor and Peter Straughan seem intent on crafting a film that [...]

  3. [...] find, and Moretz continues the great work she’s done in films like “Kick Ass” and “Let Me In.” Kingsley, of course, chips in another stellar, effortless performance, and Baron Cohen merely [...]

  4. [...] and less than spontaneous. She’s been terrific in everything else I’ve seen her in (“Let Me In,” “Kick-Ass”), so I can only fault Scorsese’s direction of [...]

  5. [...] would simply say this was the original version of “Let Me In,” but according to the box office, not many of you saw that film. Both movies are worthwhile, but [...]

  6. david zebell says:

    I liked this one, although I’m not really into vampies. It held my interest and was definitely unusual. A little gorey with a farey tail like atmosphere.

  7. Peach says:

    So…

    I watched the original Swedish version about a week before seeing the remake. My first impression after the remake was that the production company could have saved money by just dubbing the original in English. The very very few "additions" in the remake, and the very few alterations (I think they progress the story maybe a smidgen faster than the original) I don’t think were really enough to warrant a "remake" monikor.

    Also, as much as I guess people want to laud Reeves for trying to stay true to the original and not sacrifice quality for an "Americanized" audience, I don’t think they did any of that. I honestly disagree that anything in this remake was in any way more accessible for "American" audiences than foreign ones. And, honestly, the original (supposedly set in the early 80s) might only have been actually "scary" in the early 80s. In 2008, and now with the remake in 2010, the child vampire is tame. It’s not very psychologically thrilling and the situation isn’t even extraordinary. So while I might be a desensitized philistine (though I don’t think I am) I expect more from my movie writers. I thought the original was passable, but the remake was so simply boring that I almost fell asleep halfway through.

    Reeves should have only released his remake as a film school final project.

  8. Nik Browning says:

    Sounds good, and I’ll probably see it. But I still think that not enough has been done by US distributors to sell foreign language films to US audiences. I’m glad that this version sound to stand up to the original; but as you know, most don’t. They simply take some plot essence and apply it to more beautiful / vapid Hollywoor types.

    So if we could, Let’s all praise this movie and then demonize the reasons it exists.