Starring Kodi Smit-McPhee, Chloë Moretz and Richard Jenkins

Written and directed by Matt Reeves

Overture Films

Nine times out of ten, Hollywood remakes of foreign horror films are awful. Thankfully Let Me In, a remake of the Swedish vampire movie Let the Right One In, is that one time out of ten where it works.

The reason it works? Director Matt Reeves, whose last film was Cloverfield, respects the source material, John Ajvide Lindqvist’s novel, and has adapted it from a personal point of view. Reeves isn’t just cashing a cheque, he’s filming a story that matters to him.

The scene is winter 1983, New Mexico. Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Road) stars as Owen, a lonely, bullied adolescent who fantasizes about revenge against his tormentors. He befriends Abby (Chloë Moretz, Kick-Ass), a girl apparently his own age who moves in next door with a man who appears to be her father (Richard Jenkins). Except Abby isn’t twelve “more or less” – she’s an age-old vampire.

Reeves’ cast is well-chosen. Smit-McPhee carries the film as the story is told from Owen’s perspective. His skinny frame suits his character’s vulnerability, and he conveys fear and dark longing convincingly. Likewise, Moretz, a fanboy crush after playing Hit Girl in Kick-Ass!, can evoke both sympathy, desire and fear as Abby, the little girl who needs blood.

Richard Jenkins as The Father

But the standout performance is Richard Jenkins as Abby’s caregiver. There’s a pedophilic aspect to his devotion, certainly, but there’s also real love and a disgust at what he has to do for her, and Jenkins plays it perfectly.

There’s a lot of blood spilled in Let Me In and many thrills to be had, but it’s as much a love story and a drama. Reeves’ obvious respect for Lindqvist (they corresponded prior to Reeves writing the script) means there aren’t vast differences between his film and fellow director Tomas Alfredson’s version, but Reeves personalizes it enough to make it significantly different in terms of its ideas, especially in matters of faith and how good and evil are defined.

If you haven’t seen Let the Right One In, go rent it. You can borrow my copy. But see Let Me In, too, and cast a vote with your wallet for smart, affecting horror cinema. Even if it is a remake.

Rating: 4/5

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: