Sunday, January 16, 2011

Let Me In (2010)

Horror fans around the world cried foul when the phenomenal Swedish vampire tale LET THE RIGHT ONE IN was scheduled for an American remake within one year of its DVD release. Thankfully, writer/director Matt Reeves manages to pull together an equally beautiful film that retains the heart and soul of the original in its overall mood and aesthetic. LET ME IN follows Owen, a shy boy who is constantly tormented by his peers. When a strange young girl moves in next door, the two bond out of their shared loneliness to form a close friendship. What Owen doesn't know is that his new playmate is an ageless vampire, and that she is sustaining herself on the blood of their neighbors. Reeves uses the same drained color palette and restrained shooting style that can be found in Alfredson's film, filling each scene with cold blues and muted browns in order to give LET ME IN a bleak but timeless look and feel. Its story and characters share the same level of warmth and depth from before, brought over from the portion of John Ajvide Lindqvist's original screenplay that was left intact. This would have meant nothing without the stellar leads played by Kodi Smit-McPhee and Chloe Moretz, who bring the characters to life with a pair of incredible performances from such young actors. With few exceptions, LET ME IN also remains as subtle and effective as LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, however there are a few moments that have been cheapened through the unnecessary use of computerization. These minor trespasses are easier to overlook when Reeves has gone to such great lengths to honor and respect the film's source material. In the end, LET ME IN proves to be one of the most confident and skillful remakes to come out in recent years, yet it still begs the question "Why?" when so little has been changed. Still, it more than serves its purpose in retelling the same exact story for lazy American audiences that can't be bothered with subtitles.

Rating: 9/10.

If you liked LET ME IN, check out:
SHADOWLAND, MARTIN, NEAR DARK.

13 comments:

  1. OMG, it was the laziest thing EVAR! Yes, we get it, Haxan, or whatever his name was in the remake, has been with Eli, or whatever her name was, since they were kids. Let them just spell it out for us with the photo booth pics. And yes, of course, Oskar (or whatever they called him in the remake), is the next Haxan. But we wouldn't have been able to grasp that on our own, hence the photo booth pics.

    I'm being sarcastic, of course. However, it's just another case in point of let's dumb it the fuck down for stupid assholes who didn't read the book or see the Swedish version, both of which are far superior.

    Ooooh, it makes me livid.

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  2. Couldn't agree with you more. It was well done, but it just left me with the same question in my mouth; why?

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  3. Jenn, wait until you see the AND SOON THE DARKNESS remake, talk about dumbing things down, ugh.. I didn't mind the photo booth picture if the scene had only been briefer, the extended focus really threw it in the audience's face, but let's be honest... Without that scene, half of America would still think that Haxan was her dad ;)

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  4. Interesting & reassuring comments on the remake Carl. I was staying away from it having loved the original. I am a fan of the talented superstar to be Miss. Moretz though so that was a big bonus point. Now with your thumbs up I shall certainly seek it out to view. Thanks.

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  5. yeah, i am going to re-post your post and remake it in swedish... in a couple of years it will seem like new idea to the sweeds...
    :)

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  6. "...[A]n equally beautiful film that retains the heart and soul of the original in its overall mood and aesthetic." Really?! I had completely written this one off. Guess I'll add it to the queue after all!

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  7. It is worth watching for comparison, but it is literally like rewatching the same film with different actors. Reeves did an excellent job with the casting, though, so it isn't like watching the PSYCHO remake. I still prefer the original, but this was a remake done right and certainly not a re-imagining.

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  8. I'm convinced. I've read too many positive reviews at this point to ignore this one now.

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  9. Excellent! Yes, I will approach it as such: a remake done right. Thanks for the heads-up as always, Carl.

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  10. I've read good and bad reviews for this movie, but I'm still eager to see it. I loved the book, loved the Swedish film adaptation, and I gotta say that I loved the American trailer. I'm not expecting it to make par, and I agree that it seems like one of those unnecessary remakes, but if it can avoid standard Hollywood fare I'll be placated.

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  11. Haven't seen this yet, but looking forward to it!

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  12. Fox, AND SOON THE DARKNESS is as typical of a Hollywood remake as you could ever expect to see, but LET ME IN does break the standards. I am actually bringing it in to work instead of LET THE RIGHT ONE IN for my co-workers to borrow since it retains most of the same dialog and they will pay more attention to it if it is an American film. Sad.

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  13. Lazy American right here! Can't stand subtitles. Problem for me is that I don't usually follow foreign horror. I know I should. Anyways, I really loved this movie, and the original. Great acting by both of the kids. What I love most is the story. Definitely my favorite horror movie of 2010.

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