BluRay/DVD Reviews

LET ME IN

By • Feb 28th, 2011 •

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Let’s get the Hollywood-bashing out of the way now, and leave that to the IMDB message boards. Was it necessary to remake the Swedish arthouse horror LET THE RIGHT ONE IN a mere two years later? Absolutely not. With that being said, all blame cannot go to the big studios. Americans, by and large, do not want to read subtitles. Such accusations are not directed toward Films in Review readers, of course, but I used to work in a video store, and you’d be surprised at how many people asked for their money back when they realized the movie they rented was…in another language?!?

Director Matt Reeves (CLOVERFIELD) takes the Swedish story (based on a book by John Aivide Lindqvist) and translates it to snowy New Mexico, in the 1980’s. The story centers around Owen (Kodi-Smit Mcphee), a twelve year old who is bullied at school, has no friends, and is caught in the middle of his parent’s divorce (the mother appears in scenes, but we never see her face – not unlike a “Peanuts” cartoon). Then the mysterious, bare-footed Abby (Chloe Moretz) moves in next door with a man who appears to be her father. Owen and Abby form an innocent friendship, until he realizes her secret: She’s a vampire.

Sound like a pre-teen TWILIGHT? I’m sure that was part of the reason for it being made, but LET ME IN does a good job at staying true to the horror elements while featuring characters that are morally ambiguous. This makes the love story at the center both touching and terrifying. We learn in the film that Abby’s father isn’t her father at all – he is her lover. This role, played by the always wonderful Richard Jenkins, could have come across as creepy, but Jenkins’ pathos is so strong that I couldn’t help but view his story as a great tragedy. Can he technically be considered a pedophile since he met Abby when he himself was a kid? He got older physically and she didn’t. Now, he has taken on the responsibility of killing innocent people to supply her with blood. We shouldn’t root for him, but in one terrific (and the most memorable) scene, we witness his murder routine get botched along the way, and find ourselves at the edge of our seats, hoping he doesn’t get caught… to which I found myself asking, why doesn’t she go out and kill for herself? We see her do it a couple times in the film, and a little girl (especially with her super-human vampire strength) could certainly get away with murder more easily than an inefficient old man.

The casting is excellent. Moretz isn’t as androgynous as the girl who played Abby in the first film, but her personality is more present. She and Mcphee have enough chemistry to make the romance work. There are scenes in this film that are very cute, which makes the ending all the more bittersweet, knowing that he will eventually take Jenkins’ place as the reclusive “father figure” who must become a serial killer to keep her alive…. The most noticeable change in the story is the addition of a detective played by Elias Koteas, who I always like, but is wasted. His character appears for a few scenes, in an attempt to string along a more familiar suspense narrative, but ultimately goes nowhere.

CLOVERFIELD had some of the best CG I’ve seen to date, and somehow the CG in this looked cheap. On the other hand, I think the practical effects are amazing, especially the car-crash with Jenkins. There is a special feature on the DVD that shows a step-by-step of how it was done, and is the best feature on the disc. Although I could have done without some of the computer effects, it doesn’t take away from the film. It’s a good one, but I would have enjoyed it more if it were not so familiar. But I guess that’s to be expected when the same story is made twice in two years.

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One Response »

  1. if they make a sequil it should pick up where the first one left off on the train and abby should turn owen into a vampire so they can stay the same age forever

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