Movie Review: Let Me In

It's good, yet rather predictably, it's not as good as the original

Movie Review: Let Me In

7 / 10 I’m not one of those people who very often takes issue with remakes. Sure, it frustrates me that western cinema audiences can’t enjoy otherwise great movies when asked to read words translating another language across the foot of the screen (or rather Hollywood ‘thinks’ they can’t) but while few and far between (last years The Crazies, um, that’s about it…), there have been remakes I’ve enjoyed much more than their source material.

Let Me In, the American adaptation of 2008’s breakout Swedish vampire drama Let The Right One In, isn’t one such film.

It’s not that Matt Reeves second movie - following on from that other great genre triumph of 2008, Cloverfield - has made a bad film. No, that’s not what I’m saying at all. Reeves movie is atmospheric and foreboding, right from the sample of Ronald Reagan’s ‘Evil Empire’ speech from 1982 to the films bloody conclusion, as well as being, much like the original, beautifully shot. Not only that, but in vampire Chloe Moretz (Kickass) and bullied schoolboy Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Road), it not only boasts two talents responsible for the two most daring child performances of the year thus far, but coaxes similar worthy acts out of them again.

Let Me In is a good movie in its own right - this is accomplished, intelligent modern horror, there’s absolutely no question of that – but when placed in context of the Scandinavian film it withers in its vast, imposing shadow.

Much of the issue here is that I never viewed Let The Right One In as much of a horror at all. Its story, full of ambiguous gender confusion (which made more sense if you’d read John Ajvide Lindqvist’s 2004 novel admittedly) and taboo poking subplots, was more akin to a disturbing love story with black blood running through its veins. Reeves movie, while largely piecing together his remake with frames lifted shot-by-shot from the original, takes a different tack. Let Me In sees itself very much as a horror, thereby doing only one job served by the earlier film. I can’t help but find that disappointing.

There really is no other way of saying this without sounding like one of those horrible, snooty idiots you find at indie rock gigs – the type that sneer things like “I preferred their earlier stuff” - but I’m going to endeavor to try to say this pleasantly and not condescending at all. Let Me In is a good film, very enjoyable, quite frightening in places, but if you watch it instead of Let The Right One In then you’re a total idiot.

Ooops, made a right mess of that, didn’t I?

James McMahon

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