Reviews

Let Me In

4

Relax – the kids are all right…

Let Me In review

Cult Swedish vampire drama Let The Right One In wasn’t really about vampires.

It was, in fact, an incredibly sweet, subtle story about loneliness, friendship and the mysteries of childhood. Cloverfield writer/director Matt Reeves gets this.

His terrific American remake gets almost everything about the original, beautifully translating its plot, character and even style with intelligence, reverence and affection.

This time round, we’re in early ‘80s suburban New Mexico. Ronald Reagan is on the TV.  'Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?' is on the radio.

And snow is falling on a 12-year-old boy called Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee), who’s tormented by bullies at school, and a strange little girl-next-door called Abby (Chloe Grace Moretz) who doesn’t seem to feel the cold.

Cast before their breakout turns in The Road and Kick-Ass, Smit-Phee and Moretz are superb, giving performances that are arguably even more gentle and fierce than their Swedish counterparts.

They also help Reeves amp up the first film’s theme of gender confusion: Owen gets jibed as a "little girl" at school and Abby declares, "I'm not a girl. I'm nothing."

Although fans of the original will note that a key shot is missing... Some things, it seems, a mainstream audience just aren’t quite ready to see yet.

That doesn't include some seriously brutal jolts of vampire throat-ripping, mind.

Despite amping up the vampirism with CG, Reeves skillfully adopts the original’s choice of long, suspenseful shots and intricate sound design to construct a fearful, wintry mood.

But the one moment when he uncorks a flash of original visual invention – an unbroken single shot from inside a crashing car – is so brilliant it makes you crave more.

Because overall, for anyone who’s seen Let The Right One In, Reeves' remake feels slightly less intriguing and slightly more familiar than it should. It’s an excellent film.

It just would have been even better if Alfredsen hadn’t made it first. As the scenes slide by, Let Me In follows the snowy tracks of the original so squarely that it doesn't quite leave enough fresh marks of its own.

But there’s still plenty here to be fascinated by, in this strange world where children are dangerously ruthless and clueless adults stumble around after them (Elias Koteas’ cop and Richard Jenkins’ mentor both fade into that background).

Proving that even the most faithful remake is never truly redundant, Let Me In is a welcome surprise – a movie strong enough to stand on its own and satisfy fans of the original.
 

Verdict:

If we hadn’t already seen it in Swedish, we’d probably be talking up Reeves’ dark, gripping vampire remake – and its two lead performances – as something rather special. Actually, we’re going to do that anyway.

Film Details

  • 15
  • UK Theatrical Release Date: November 5th 2010
  • Genre

User Reviews

    • aliceISalive

      Oct 18th 2010, 21:20

      5

      this is so faithful to the original. which makes me happy. Kodi Smit-McPhee and Chloe Grace Moretz are weirdly good actors for such young 'uns. I actually think this might be better than the first because of the way they explained her 'father' a bit more. also it had more gore.

      Alert a moderator

    • macateb

      Oct 18th 2010, 22:03

      4

      I've just seen this tonight at a preview screening and loved everything about it.

      Alert a moderator

    • nickynoos

      Oct 19th 2010, 16:46

      4

      Loved the film, what a wonderful story of friendship

      Alert a moderator

    • duncan1964

      Oct 19th 2010, 16:50

      4

      A remake of the 2008 Swedish vampire flick "Let The Right One In", this is a very hard film to critisize as it sticks so closely to the original its almost a carbon copy. The story of a young boy befriending a strange girl who moves into his apartment block this keeps the same colour palete and, with a few exceptions, keeps all the same set pieces as the original. It gets rid of the local drunks subplot, replacing them as victims with other neighbors which is a smart move, and a one shot set piece in a car is a tour de force. If you havent seen the original this is one of the best horror films of the year, if you have seen it you might come out of this one wondering why they bothered

      Alert a moderator

    • duncan1964

      Oct 19th 2010, 16:51

      A remake of the 2008 Swedish vampire flick "Let The Right One In", this is a very hard film to critisize as it sticks so closely to the original its almost a carbon copy. The story of a young boy befriending a strange girl who moves into his apartment block this keeps the same colour palete and, with a few exceptions, keeps all the same set pieces as the original. It gets rid of the local drunks subplot, replacing them as victims with other neighbors which is a smart move, and a one shot set piece in a car is a tour de force. If you havent seen the original this is one of the best horror films of the year, if you have seen it you might come out of this one wondering why they bothered

      Alert a moderator

    • eve1962

      Oct 19th 2010, 17:22

      Saw the film last night. I agree it was very good, the two kids performances were brilliant. But it had very little to do with the book. In the book her "carer" was a paedo she picked up , who helped her so he could feel her up. In the book Oscar's mum adored him and his dad was a hopeless drunk. The entire drunk community was missing as was Tommy, the poor kid who got stuck in the cellar with the sex mad zombie. Eli/ Elias was a boy castrated by the vampire that changed him. I hope the next version of Let The Right One In realises you can refer to things without explicitly showing it and just maybe we would then get a faithful rendition of the book.

      Alert a moderator

    • fankle1

      Oct 19th 2010, 19:23

      5

      I loved the subtle love story so much that I ordered the original Swedish version straight away!

      Alert a moderator

    • Seang81

      Oct 19th 2010, 20:14

      5

      I saw the preview last night and I was surprised by how much I liked it more than the original Swedish version. Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed the original, it's just that Chloe Grace-Moretz and Kodi Smit-Mcphee literally blew me away - there acting is more like that of someone who has been in the business for 30 years, not a few! A twisted love story told in the best way possible - thanks for the preview Total Film, it was definitely appreciated!

      Alert a moderator

    • MGELLATLY

      Oct 19th 2010, 23:03

      4

      Strangely compelling film! Although this is not the usual type of film I would watch, I took the opportunity to see it as a free preview and was glad I'd seen it. Acting of the 2 children was excellent and very believable.

      Alert a moderator

    • shriggles

      Oct 20th 2010, 0:13

      4

      I'm no anti-remake purist. Give me The Ring over Ringu any day. But Let Me In is so close to Let The Right One In in its style, tone and pace that it's pretty pointless. All of the (very few) changes are for the worse (bar the Richard Jenkins character). The CGI is terrible and too much is revealed about Abby, too explicitly, too early. That said, the source material is too good to mess up completely, and this is an excellent stand-alone film, and the cast are excellent. But if you enjoy this, be sure to check out the superior original. It's unlikely I'll watch this version again.

      Alert a moderator

    • ratqueenno1

      Oct 20th 2010, 6:47

      5

      wow fantastic i havent seen the original but my partner had and he said it was just like the original one brilliant thank you xx

      Alert a moderator

    • hecticc

      Oct 20th 2010, 9:52

      This film was a joke honestly from the start to finish i have to say this is the slowest film for a horror. The main characters dialogue was boring and weak the film was way longer than it needed to be not much action in conclusion this film had absolutely no substance to entertain you for the length of the movie. I do not recommend anybody go and watch this film at all, i will most probably write a full review on the film on the site freemoviescreenings dot co dot uk when i get a chance an copy the review here for people to read.

      Alert a moderator

    • hammal6474

      Oct 31st 2010, 14:33

      2

      Makes no attempt to expand on or enhance the themes and characters of the first, excellent Swedish film. Pointless trying to re-make something that's already considered a masterpiece unless you're going to try a different take on the material and this just doesn't, it's almost as futile as the shot for shot colour re-make of Psycho! Save your money and rent Let the Right One In...

      Alert a moderator

    • papaah

      Nov 4th 2010, 1:30

      3

      Yes, it matches the style of the original, but by making the violence more explicit and speeding the pace, it loses too much of the Swedish film's room for thought. Excellent performances from th two leads, though.

      Alert a moderator

    • mattrix33

      Mar 15th 2011, 16:24

      5

      while people bemoan the fact that this is a re-make of a very good Swedish film they seem to forget that infect there both versions of a spectacular book. Matt Reeves adaptation is a masterpiece in itself and removed one scene that not only was not in the book but also felt tacked on in the Swedish original..I'm talking cats here not nudity !! I also liked the way it showed that her guardian had been with her from his teenage years something also missing from the Swedish film...though both miss the Nazi back story,something that I felt could of been in both films. Overall...it's a great film and unfortunate that it had a large shadow over it from the start

      Alert a moderator

Most Popular