Review: LET ME IN
Vampires. They have been a hot topic (no pun intended) the past few years. With the unfortunate popularity of the Twilight film adaptations and television adaptation of the Sookie Stackhouse books from Charlene Harris in the HBO show True Blood, vampires seem to be the new popular villain – like zombies a few years back. Two years ago, I saw a Swedish film called Let the Right One In at the local film festival and fell in love with its rather subdued nature. It was story about friendship and touched on the coming of age subject of love and interest in the opposite sex. It was also a story about a young person needing blood to survive. After the success of Let the Right One In, it was inevitable to remake the film for American audiences. When I initially heard about the remake, I was up in arms. I was mad. I loved the original and new that the tone would more than likely not be duplicated. However, Matt Reeves does bring some interesting things to the table.
If you are not familiar with the novel or its previous adaptation by director Tomas Alfredson, it is pretty by much the same in this American remake except the names have changed. We are introduced to a socially awkward child named Owen (previously named Oskar) who is constantly bullied by his male classmates. Shortly after the introduction of Owen, a young girl named Abby (previously named Eli) moves next door to Owen and a friendship forms. Meanwhile, murders are occurring and one of them happened to be a former classmate – which is how Owen becomes aware to it.o It is then learned that Abby needs blood to live and that these murders seem to have begun as soon as Abby and her father figure, played by Richard Jenkins, move in.
People who admire the quiet delivery of the previous adaptation might be put off by this film’s loud delivery. However, I’m happy to say that the performances from the children in this remake and the direction by Matt Reeves are exceptional. There is one scene in the film that will have most movie geeks and maybe even general audiences talking about it after it is over.
Let Me In opens introduces a character, a detective, that was not in the original novel or it’s Swedish adaptation by director Tomas Alfredson who is played by Elias Koteas. My only issue with this was the fact the majority of this remake highlights and focuses on the children. Granted., that is the way it should be. However, with this new version, you do not receive the same tragic feeling you received with the caretaker of the Abby character. That is where the book and the original adaptation excel ahead of this film. Koteas’ character is just there, just like Jenkins’ character which is unfortunate, but not that damaging to the overall film, as this is a story about Abby and Owen.
The film is beautifully shot and the direction is top notch. The performances by Kodi Smit-McPhee & Chloe Moretz are what really carry the film. Many people will mention the – soon to be infamous – car sequence, but don’t get the wrong idea that the film is full of visual gimmicks. The drama is still there. If you never saw Let the Right One In, this film is for you. If you have seen it before, just know that you may or may not like this version better. I saw it divide some fans at Fantastic Fest this year.