Let Me In (2010)

3

It’s yet another American remake of a horror movie from elsewhere in the world (Sweden, in this instance, is the country that gave us Let The Right One In) and it’s come along only two years after the highly-acclaimed original so just what can Let Me In actually bring to the table? Quite a lot, as it turns out.

I’m not going to ramble on and on and get all defensive but I think I should start by making sure everyone is aware of just how little I actually liked Let The Right One In (the full review is here). So my expectations for the remake were not high. I guess that’s the same, ironically, as the expectations of those who loved the original movie.

I’ll still summarise the story here, for anyone who missed talk of the original. Young Owen (Kodi Smit-Mcphee) is a quiet lad who spends his days at school trying to avoid eye contact with some particularly vicious bullies. One day a young girl named Abby (Chloe Grace Moretz) moves in to the apartment next to his and the two become friends after a faltering start. The problem is that Abby is a vampire and doesn’t want Owen to break off their friendship when he eventually finds out. That looks likely to be sooner rather than later when Abby’s human helper (Richard Jenkins) ends up failing her and getting himself hospitalised in the process. And there’s a determined policeman (Elias Koteas) trying to figure out just why so many deaths have been happening in the area lately.

Essentially, Let Me In adds nothing to the original and actually trims some of the more intriguing ideas but it makes just enough small changes to feel like a very different movie. The emphasis here is still on the friendship between two apparent children, the bullying of the young boy is still an important catalyst and there’s a mix between drama and horror but Let Me In actually provides some real tension and scary moments, something sorely lacking from the original film.

Director Matt Reeves also wrote the screenplay from the book by John Ajvide Lindqvist and has made some savvy decisions in moving the focus ever so slightly back to a central story thread that gets it’s strength from the actual vampirism.

The acting is all superb, with Smit McPhee and Moretz both excellent and the adults doing just as well to hold their own. Dylan Minnette is also great as the bully, Kenny, and gives a performance that makes you want to punch him in the face (I mean that as a very genuine compliment in respect to the behaviour of his character).

Call me what you will, I much preferred this to the overpraised original film and it did such a good job that I now appreciate the first film a little bit more, too. Every decision made, from shot choice to material left on the cutting room floor, is absolutely correct. Those who say they never watch remakes would do well to break their rule in this instance. I hope that THIS Hammer revival proves to have some staying power.

Let Me In is available to rent here in the UK from 28/2/2011 and will be available to buy on 14/3/2011.

DIRECTOR: MATT REEVES
STARS: KODI SMIT-MCPHEE, CHLOE GRACE MORETZ, RICHARD JENKINS, ELIAS KOTEAS, DYLAN MINNETTE
RUNTIME: 116 MINS APPROX
COUNTRY: UK/USA

Film Rating: ★★★½☆

3 Comments
  1. Chris Knipp says

    I agree that this remake has something to offer, though my heart remains true to the original. In its understated way it’s more coherent. Curiously though the American version is more loud and violent, the Swedish one is more frightening, especially the final vengeance in the pool. And for Americans, Richard Jenkins may be too recognizable by now.

  2. Chris Knipp says

    But I did like ‘Let Me In’, don’t get me wrong.

  3. Kevin Matthews says

    I think the American version WAS louder and more violent but I also think that worked, in this case. I didn’t really find the original version more frightening but that finale was slightly better. And I know Richard Jenkins quite well and think he was quite well covered by the make up in this outing, though perhaps Americans do know him much better (I’ve no idea what his exposure level is over there, no flasher pun intended).
    🙂

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.