Let The Right One In was a small but critically acclaimed 2008 flick from Sweden. I saw it on DVD and really liked it. Then I bought and read the book it was based on, and liked it, but the book included some stuff that had been left out of the movie which I wasn’t crazy about. So then Cloverfield director Matt Reeves decides to remakes the flick for American audiences. But guess what? He co-wrote it with the writer of the novel and the original flick!
Yes, Let Me In is a remake some would say is totally unnecessary. That doesn’t mean it’s not a good movie. It is. It’s very good, despite moving the story from Sweden to New Mexico. It’s 1983, Reagan’s on TV a lot, Greg Kihn’s “The Break-Up Song” is the song of choice when you got a gal over, and bullies are still bullies, but back then they abused you face to face.
Kodi Smit-McPhee plays Owen, an awkward 12 year old with no real friends and three bullies who like to make his school life miserable. He meets Chloe Grace Moretz’ Abby, who has just moved into his building with her “Father”. She walks barefoot in the snow and smells kinda funny, but hey, she’s talking to Owen; that’s good enough for him. So the two hit it off, and despite her seeming reluctant to get very friendly, they do become close.
Now, even if you never saw the original or read the book, the commercials and posters make it clear Abby’s no normal girl. But just in case, I won’t say much more. Suffice it to say, there is drama to be had. And blood. Oh yes, there will be blood.
The cast of Let Me In is superb. The Father figure is played by Richard Jenkins and as always, he’s great. Disturbing, but great. The Police figure is played by the great Elias Koteas. He’s always the cop or the baddie, and sometimes both. But he’s always reliable! The kid that was Jack’s son in the final season of LOST is the head bully and tormentor of Owen, and dayum, you just wanna slap him around!
Kodi Smit-McPhee is very good as Owen. He’s likable despite his awkwardness, but he’s so awkward, he’s not all that pitiable. I mean, you do sympathize, but there’s something off-putting about him.
We were all blown away by Chloe Grace Moretz in KICK ASS, and now we see a very different side of the talented young actress. She’s very good as a rather solemn, almost brooding Abby.
My only problem with Let Me In is some of the CGI special effects are a little weird for my taste. Maybe Reeves did it in purpose. I dunno. Also, there are two important scenes set in hospitals, and one of them, while well done and rather shocking until the CGI takes over, lacks the effect the scene had in the original because the set up to that scene comes rather quickly. In the original there is more back-story involved, which makes the hospital scene more powerful. But these are relatively small complaints. I hope Let Me In does well, and also that it leads to people checking out the original. Well done.