Saturday, 6 November 2010

Let Me In

Year: 2010
Director: Matt Reeves
Screenplay: Matt Reeves, based on the novel and screenplay Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist
Starring: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Chloe Grace Moretz, Richard Jenkins, Elias Koteas, Cara Buono
Running Time: 116 minutes
Genre: Horror, drama

Summary: In March, 1983, in Los Alamos, New Mexico, twelve year old Owen (Smit-McPhee) lives with his religious, alcoholic mother (Buono), who largely ignores him, on a depressing housing estate. He is also frequenty bullied at school. One night he meets a new neighbour, Abby (Moretz), a seemingly ordinary twelve year old girl, who lives with an elderly man (Jenkins) assumed to be her father. A strong friendship soon blossoms between Owen and Abby until he learns that Abby is, in fact, a vampire, and her "father" is behind a brutal series of ritualistic killings in the local area which he has done to provide her with the blood she needs.

Opinions: The 2004 novel Let the Right One In by Swedish author John Ajvide Lindqvist has previously been adapted as a critically acclaimed and successful Swedish film directed by Tomas Alfredson, and now an English-language version has been made. It's hard not to feel cynical when a successful foreign language film is given an English-language remake, especially when it's only been a couple of years since the release of the Swedish film. In fact, Alfredson was, understandably, very angry at the news that his film was being remade on the grounds that he thought a film should only be remade if there was something wrong with the original and he didn't think that there was anything wrong ith his film, and he is perfectly correct that there is nothing wrong with the earlier film.
However, leaving that aside, Let Me In is a very good film in it's own right. For the most part it sticks very closely to the earlier film and fairly faithful to the original novel (both movie versions excise the novel's gruesome zombie sub-plot). The film has a good sense of time and place with striking visuals of the snow-bathed housing estate. Director Reeves, best known for the 2008 monster movie Cloverfield, delivers some striking scenes, in particular a sequence where the camera is in the back seat of a crashing car. He also has some of the more traditional horror movie scares happening in the background of scenes, and although there are computer generated special effects used, they are mostly fairly subtle. The movie's main strengths are in superb performances from Kodi Smit-McPhee and Chloe Moretz in the lead roles who make their characters if anything even more engaging and sympathetic then their Swedish counterparts.
While sticking a little bit too close to the original to really become it's own thing, this is a fine, well-made movie that deserves a wider audience than traditional horror audiences and should appeal to fans of the original as well as newcomers.

Kodi Smit-McPhee and Chloe Grace Moretz in Let Me In

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