REVIEW: Let Me In

Until recent years, there have been English language remakes of foreign language films and like remakes in general, they flopped or became great successes. However, regarding Let Me In, expectations weren’t very high because I was at first against the idea of an American remake having loved the original Swedish version Let The Right One Inand I ended up surprised at how good this film really was although I still prefer the original version. There were many positive signs about this film seeing as it almost spits in the face of those atrocious American fantasy horror films we see nowadays, the filming of it was just splendid and the acting was so good.

However, what were the negative key points and weaknesses within Let Me In? First of all, it felt like a typical Hollywood film and didn’t quite bring anything new to the screen whether part of the original version or not, secondly it didn’t bring anything new that we hadn’t already seen before and thirdly, it wasn’t as scary or as emotional as the Swedish version was. Then again, the third point could be because I (as well as those who have seen the Swedish version) perhaps knew what was coming so this perhaps is a film that is more for fun entertainment than anything else. No, the film isn’t terrifyingly scary where nightmares could be along the way but it does have its moments where you will get a lot of fun out of. Also, because the title of the film is so similar to the original film, it didn’t completely feel like an individual American film despite being a remake.

The sensitive target of vicious bullying at school, 12-year-old Owen (Smit-McPhee) is a social misfit from a broken home. By day Owen dreams about laying waste to his classroom tormentors; by night his attentions turn to his reclusive neighbors in their austere apartment complex. One evening, as Owen takes out his pent-up aggressions on a tree, his new neighbor Abby (Moretz) appears over his shoulder. A young girl wise beyond her years, Abby just moved in next door to Owen with her stoic caretaker (Jenkins), who seems to harbor a sinister secret. Compelled by Abby’s apparent imperviousness to the harsh winter elements, her frail disposition, and the fact that she’s nowhere to be found before the sun falls, Owen senses a kindred soul, and strikes up a friendship with the girl, despite her repeated attempts to maintain an emotional distance. Simultaneously, their community grows vigilant following a series of vicious murders, and Abby’s caretaker vanishes without a trace. Later, as Abby begins to grow vulnerable, her bond with Owen strengthens. By the time Owen begins to suspect that his evasive new friend is something other than human, it starts to seem as if Abby could use a good friend after all. Given that his bullies are growing more emboldened by the day, so too could Owen.

Two leading child stars who are becoming worldwide recognition for their fantastic roles in films in recent years (Chloe Moretz in Kick-Assand Kodi Smit-McPhee in The Road) and now it is only fitting that if they are going to make a remake of a film that was released only a short time ago, they would need two child stars to portray the leading roles and what a fantastic choice it was to select Smit-McPhee and Moretz! Kodi Smit-McPhee – an admittedly underrated child star who gave a great performance in The Road alongside Viggo Mortensen but this time he stars in something different than anything he has been involved in. At first, there were uncertainties that McPhee would give the leading boy (Owen in Let Me In and Oskar in Let The Right One In) an innocent touch and make us feel sorry for him but he surprised me and he pulled it off really well. No, he wasn’t as good as Kåre Hedebrant in Let The Right One In but Kodi Smit-McPhee was definitely the best child actor to choose for a remake.

2010 has been the breakthrough year in Chloe Moretz’s childhood as well as acting career by first portraying Mindy Macready/Hit-Girl inKick-Ass and now playing Abby in this one. If there is anything that Moretz has proved thus far in her career is that she seems to lean closer towards playing darker characters in adult themed films. Another strong reason why Smit-McPhee and Moretz portrayed the two leading roles together is because both show the innocence of children at the same time especially Abby seeing as she wants to be a normal girl but she is almost like in the complete control of her vampire self and she becomes a whole different person when that happens. In many ways, her performance was like Linda Blair as Regan MacNeil in The Exorcist but in a few others, its totally different. I can’t choose who was better out of Chloe Moretz as Abby or Lina Leandersson as Eli in Let The Right One In.

Matt Reeves, who was previously known as the guy who directed Cloverfield goes somewhere slightly different where he hadn’t been before not only from a film that involves romance but the style of filmmaking as well. I wasn’t keen on Cloverfield but now after making a successful remake and filming it well, he has made up for Cloverfield and now has become in my good books and hope he goes on to make some more decent films in the future. However, I will say that it will take some beating to top this one.

Overall, Let Me In is an absolutely brilliant (but rarely successful) remake that was a true honor to its original film. However, Let The Right One In was better because it was scarier and more emotional and together (perhaps more the remake seeing as it is American), they both show exactly what the Twilight film franchise should have been like as apparently shown in the books. It perfectly manages to slide away from vintage Hollywood crap that we see nowadays and it felt very surreal and rather unorthodox like the original Swedish version and the original novel does. Fair enough if one decides to see the remake first but still need to see both American and Swedish versions. In a word; bravo!

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~ by SJMJ91 on 18/05/2012.

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