“Let Me In” is the American remake to the Swedish phenomenon “Let The Right One In”. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve had it up to my asshole with this remake bullshit. At this point it seems like 3 out of every 5 new trailers that premieres is for another goddamn remake. It’s getting old, and very rarely are the end products even worth mentioning. “Let Me In” is one of those rare occasions where not only is it worth mentioning, It’s worth recommending. Despite a few moments of pure Americanization, the film basically unfolds in the same manner.
The story follows Owen, a lonely kid, going through the nasty divorce of his parents at home, and constant bullying at school. While spying on his neighbors one day, he notices Abby, played by the amazing Chloe Moretz(Kick-Ass). Abby is a strange girl, walking barefoot through the snow with what Owen can only assume is her dad. After a few awkward encounters, the two become infatuated with one another, and from here, the story really sinks it’s teeth in you.
While “Let Me In” is most certainly a horror film, much like the original, the real focus of the story is the relationship between these two young lovers. There is some real on-screen chemistry between Owen and Abby, so much so that it’s almost impossible to be disgusted, even at their lowest point. Both young actors do a fantastic job at portraying their roles. Your film is only as strong as your actors, and it’s usually a hard sale when it comes to child actors. Chloe impressed the hell out of me in hit girl, and has done so once again with her performance in “Let Me In”. It’s hard to ignore her enthralling on-screen presence. She has the potential to be one of the greats.
It’s hard for me to explain, but films used to have a certain feel to them. With the invention of HD cams, it’s become less demanding to make a film. While this is mostly good news, the downside is, you have to weed through much more crap than you used to. When “Let Me In” started, the music, combined with the spectacular aerial photography filled me with a certain feeling that I don’t often get when I go to the cinema. I exhaled deeply, and said to myself, “This is a fuckin’ movie”. There is no gimmick, no first person handicam found footage. Just impeccable filmmaking.
The mood created by “Let Me In” is dark, dreary, and beautiful. Set in a snowy winter, the backdrop of a frigid winter adds a creepy factor to an already creepy story. The film is also littered with 80s pop culture references, including an awesome 80s pop soundtrack, Mrs. Pacman, and the terrible tasting(in my opinion) candies, “Now and Laters”. Thankfully it only adds to the overall package. A lot of the time when directors aim to set their film in that period, it feels tacked on, and more like a gimmick. The end result that we are given by director Matt Reeves(Cloverfield) is up there with Ti West’s “The House Of The Devil” as far as feeling genuine goes.
Those of you that like a little dose of crimson juice in your films should not fret, there is enough bloody violence in “Let Me In” to wet your whistles as well. The effects were handled extremely well, and the fact that everything around our characters is covered in glistening white snow adds to the payoff when it’s time to get a little wet.
The sound design was particularly impressive. Several scenes actually made ME jump, simply because the sound crafted to do so. Scenes are set up so that it’s quiet enough to give you a sense of security, until a blood curdling scream sends chills down your spine, and possibly urine into your underoos. The score is also very beautiful, and fits the tone of the film perfectly.
“Let Me In” is one of those rare films that will appeal to both die-hard fans of the genre, and those that just really enjoy a good story. The horror elements are prevalent enough to maintain it’s genre status, even among purists, while the dramatic way in which the story unfolds will be sure to please even those that are looking for a touching love story.
Yes, “Let Me In” is a remake, and most of the time, that’s reason enough to skip it. I implore you though, don’t be stubborn and miss out on this experience just because you’re trying to send a message to Hollywood. I’m as sick of the remake silliness as much as the next guy, but I’m glad I squashed all of that and went to see this film anyway. If anything, you should flock to the theater in droves. If you want to send a message, send the message that if you’re going to make a remake, THIS is how it’s done. Hollywood, while we would so very much rather you would give us some original horror films, if you’re going to continue the remake parade, take note, as this is one of the most competent remakes ever unleashed.