LET ME IN (OCTOBER 24TH)
YOU'VE GOT RED ON YOU TAKES PART IN THE 31 DAYS OF HALLOWEEN CHALLENGE; WATCHING ONE HORROR MOVIE A DAY THROUGHOUT OCTOBER. SOME OF THEM OLD, SOME OF THEM NEW, SOME OF THEM HAVE JUST BEEN ON OUR SHELVES FOR YEARS GATHERING DUST, STILL IN CELLOPHANE...
Ok so I've kind of already seen movie. Sort of. Back in 2010 I had the privilege of seeing a rare showing of Tomas Alfredson's Let The Right One In during it's very limited theatrical release. I didn't really know what to expect at the time although the reviews had all been very positive and like most people who have seen it, I really, really liked it. It was an engrossing, touching film – at times darkly funny and at other times morbidly poignant, it also dealt with some fairly adult subjects, despite the fact it seemed to be about two curiously different children.
I had avoided the remake in a way (until now obviously) as I couldn't see much point in watching something that ostensibly seemed to be a straightforward American remake. The original was too fresh in the memory and you can have too much of a good thing and all that. The fact that it seemed to get an overwhelmingly positive response from those that saw it couldn't tempt me either. Alas, six or seven years have now passed and it felt like the right time to revisit it.
Let Me In moves the action from the Stockholm suburbs to New Mexico but retains the early 1980's setting. Owen is a lonely 12 year old boy in the horrid position of being in the middle of the messy break-up of his parents, whilst also trying to avoid the shitty bullies at school who make his life a misery. However when a mysterious young girl called Abby and what appears to be her father move into the same apartment complex, his life changes. They soon develop a rather intense friendship and suddenly Owen has something in his life that brings him some semblance of joy and hope. However, all is not as it seems. You see, Abby isn't really just a 12 year old girl - she's a vampire – and the man living with her isn't her father. And whilst we're not entirely sure what their relationship is, he seems to be responsible for providing food for her, if you know what I mean.
A girl's gotta eat, I guess!
Any regular reader of the site (and anything that I write in particular) will know that we're not the biggest fan of remakes, for a variety of reasons. One of those being that remakes aren't usually as good as their predecessors – and a lot don't even come close in fact. So it pleases me to say that whilst I don't think it quite lived up to the heights of the original, Let Me In is a really solid remake that maintains the spirit of the original whilst not being afraid to change a few things up. I think that's the key to most successful remakes. Try and keep the essence of why people liked the original so much but add sprinkling of new shit into the equation. At times it does feel a bit like a scene-for-scene remake but Director Matt Reeves adds some new visuals and subtle plot points to keep things feeling fresh. The realisation of Abby's vampire form is a real win here too. The original had the young Abby turn into a woman (albeit a vampy one) but here we get something a bit more scary.
One of the reasons why Let Me In can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with it's predecessor is down to the acting talent on display. Chloe Grace Moretz is perfect for this role, effortlessly combining a sense of vulnerability and raw power (a bit like she does in Kick-Ass actually). Richard Jenkins is grand as her 'protector' too, although I did expect him to crack a joke at any point (I blame Stepbrothers/Cabin in the Woods for that). But it's Kodi Smit-Mcphee who deserves special praise for his mesmerising performance as the troubled kid on the brink of adulthood – and also possibly something horrific. So much of his performance is through his face and the way he moves. His overbearing sense of isolation and hopelessness is almost overbearing at times but he manages to draw you in in a way that you can't help but feel immense sympathy.
Although the film doesn't have the same level of weird creepyness and sense of taboo as the original, it still manages to engage and touch and thrill when and where it needs to. The climactic scene in the swimming pool is fantastically shot. If you haven't seen the original, I suggest you check that out first and foremost. But if you can't handle subtitles (pfff) then this is a really strong remake that's worth your attention.