Let this movie in

Justin Law

{jcomments on}American filmmakers tend to screw movies up when they get the opportunity to remake them. With “Let Me In,” the recent remake of the great Swedish vampire film “Let the Right One In,” I had the obligatory remake-phobia, despite having Matt Reeves’ (director of “Cloverfield”) name to it.

While “Let Me In” doesn’t quite hit the same emotional high or is as resonant as its doppelganger, it’s still well made, well acted and worth seeing.

The set-ups are the same; a young boy (Kody Smit-McPhee) befriends a mysterious girl (Chloe Moretz) that moves into the apartment next to his. The boy, named Owen in this remake, finds solitude in the girl, named Abby in this remake, from the relentless bullies at his school.

As their bond strengthens, Owen finds out that his new friend is actually a blood-sucking killing machine.

“Let the Right One In” has gained a little cult following consisting of almost everyone who has seen it. Unfortunately, it’s not many.

Matt Reeves found a way to keep the necessities in there, and just a few things are changed that doesn’t deter from the film. A shot for shot remake would have been useless.

The snowy landscape is kept the same as the original, but here, the setting is New Mexico circa 1983 (the original took place at an unspecified date). There is a job I’ve been eyeing out in New Mexico for quite some time, and I hope the bitter winter as depicted in “Let Me In” is exaggerated.

I appreciated the dead, icy cinematography that they kept, though. A bright, sunny backdrop with people grilling out and bouncing beach balls to each other under the glistening Santa Fe sun would have been an odd backdrop for the dark story at hand.

The performances are strong, especially from the two main child actors.

I haven’t seen Smit-McPhee in anything prior (he was in “The Road,” which I missed), but he makes for a sympathetic little boy.

Moretz also has a good performance, better than her last one as a gun-wielding child who blew the brains out of a room full of men in “Kick-Ass.”

Another great performance is by Owen’s school bullies.

In this version, they really get a lot meaner, almost sadistic, in their bullying. This just proves that American kids are meaner than Swedish kids.

I never got to see “Let the Right One In” in theaters due to it’s limited accessibility. In fact, I had to watch it on YouTube, cut into about fourteen different videos.

I was glad to see some of my favorite scenes play out right in front of me on a theater screen. Scenes such as the awesome pool scene and the girl bursting into flames on the hospital bed are done with grace, and have enough changes to where it’s not a mirror image of the remake.

Honestly, I’ve already reviewed this movie in reviewing the original last school year. There are some differences, and the original is far better, but the remake still manages to capture the anxiety of being an outcast adolescent.

See it, but see “Let the Right One In” as well.