Let Me In

Friday, 15 October, 2010

4 stars

The premise

Let Me In (trailer) is US director Matt Reeves’ take of the 2008 Swedish film “Let the Right One In” (Låt den rätte komma in), about a lonely 12 year old boy who befriends a vampire girl of apparently the same age, who moves in next door.

“Let Me In” is the latest in a line of Hollywood remakes of European films, following on from the likes of this year’s Neil LaBute version of the 2007 British made “Death at a Funeral”, or David Fincher’s upcoming interpretation of “The Millennium Trilogy” book series, which includes a re-rendering of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which is slated for release in late 2011.

The play

12 year Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee) lives with his separated mother (Cara Buono) in the New Mexico town of Los Alamos, but has few friends. Life at school isn’t much fun either, he is often the target of taunts and assaults from a group of older bullies, but finds some solace playing puzzle games, or drifting in and out of an imaginary world in his mind.

He is intrigued by the arrival of a girl, Abby (Chloe Moretz), who seems to be his age, and who looks to be her father (Richard Jenkins), in the apartment next door. Abby has a few quirks Owen can’t quite make sense of, such as walking around barefoot in the snow, or the ability to very quietly appear, without warning, where ever he is.

While Abby tells Owen on their first meeting they cannot be friends, they nonetheless become close. Meanwhile the town is the grip of a macabre series of murders, which has local police detective (Elias Koteas) thinking a satanic ritual killer of some sort is on the rampage.

As the murders grow in frequency, and begin occurring ever closer to his home though, Owen begins to realise Abby is not exactly an average 12 year old girl, and soon starts to suspect she is in fact behind the killings. But does he report her, the only friend he has ever had, or help her?

The wrap

The prospect of a remake of any reasonably highly regarded film is enough to strike dread into the minds of many film-goers, something Reeves was acutely aware of, but here, in the director of “Cloverfield”, is a safe pair of hands. And while I haven’t seen the Swedish original, there is little to fault here.

Perhaps there have been a few teen vampire romance films too many recently, but Reeves strikes the right balance between suspense and action, horror and romance/friendship, and there are plenty of moments that make “Let Me In” feel like another sort of story all together.

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