Let Me In is a film that should and will be watched and enjoyed by a
large audience. It is a well-crafted and visually striking film with
impressive performances from its young cast. Director Matt Reeves is no
doubt indebted to the atmospheric horror masterpiece, Låt den rätte
komma in (Let the Right One In), and for those lucky enough to have
seen the original, you may find yourself feeling a little ripped off
when you leave the cinema. Despite its numerous strengths, Let Me In
is just another film to add to the long list of pointless Hollywood
Let Me In tells the story of Owen (Kodie
Smit-McPhee, The Road), a bullied and lonely boy who befriends
Moretz, Kick-Ass), a mysterious young girl who we soon discover
is a vampire. Questions surrounding Abby and her guardian (Richard
Jenkins) arise following a string of malicious attacks that shock the
quiet town of Los Alamos, New Mexico. Meanwhile, Owen struggles with his
developing feelings for the unusual Abby, as well as the increased
ferocity of his bullies’ attacks.
Moretz plays Abby, a young girl with a dark secret – and taste for
Following the critically and financially
successful Cloverfield, Reeves slows things down in an attempt to
replicate Tomas Alfredson’s unique and stunning visual style that made
the original film so impressive. Alfredson voiced his opinion that the
only reason to remake this film was to improve upon the original –
something he deemed unnecessary. Reeves has openly stated that this film
is a remake of the film, rather than another take on John Ajvide
Lindqvist’s novel. Thus, it seems appropriate to judge the film with
this in mind, considering Let the Right One In had not long
opened in European cinemas before this remake was being developed.
Unsurprisingly, Let Me In pales in comparison despite being an
impressive thriller in its own right. Hints of the original are still
there, but instead of a sparse, bleak aesthetic, Reeves gives us warmer
tones and more conventional characters. While Alfredson recognised that
less is often more, Reeves moves in the opposite direction, offering
jolting and unnecessary CGI and a policeman sub-plot that feels a little
on the clichéd side. It’s important to recognise the way Reeves captures
memorable scenes from Alfredson’s adaptation. At no point does he
reinvent them in a way that extends or improves upon the original. Again
I ask – what’s the point?
Kodi Smit-McPhee continues to deliver engaging
performances, this time as the innocent Owen.
Thankfully the heart of this tale remains.
The relationship between Owen and Abby is so moving and their simple
exchanges are the highlight of the film. In terms of framing, Reeves
doesn’t stray far from Alfredson’s visual realisation, preferring to
capture the actors in effective close-ups. These young actors are
phenomenal and have already showed the world what they are capable of.
The innocence of Owen is captured simply in Smit-McPhee’s piercing eyes,
while Moretz once again inhabits a character that is well beyond her
All things considered, this remake is
certainly not a complete waste of time or money. It is a gripping,
engaging and highly accessible introduction to the source material – but
it’s a lesser retread of the original. Hopefully the release of this
film will spark a renewed appreciation for the initial film adaptation
which exhibited just how effective modern vampire tales should be told.