Let Me In (R16)

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The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byMatthew Turner14/10/2010

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 115 mins

Let Me In is a watchable remake that captures the look and feel of the original and features terrific performances from its two young leads but it also strips out all the subtlety and complexity of the Swedish version in favour of more overt horror sequences.

What's it all about?
Written and directed by Matt Reeves (Cloverfield), Let Me In is a remake of 2008's Swedish horror Let the Right One In, which was based on the novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist. Set in 1980s New Mexico, the film stars Kodi Smit-McPhee as Owen, a lonely 12-year-old who lives in an apartment complex with his frequently absent mother (Cara Buono) and is being badly bullied at school by Kenny (Dylan Minnette) and his gang.

Things look up for Owen when he befriends his mysterious new neighbour Abby (Chloe Moretz) but when her guardian (Richard Jenkins) gets into a horrible accident, Owen discovers that his new friend is a vampire who needs human blood to survive. Meanwhile, a tenacious cop (Elias Koteas) is investigating a string of mysterious deaths.

The Good
Smit-McPhee and Moretz are perfectly cast as Owen and Abby – their relationship is genuinely engaging and their textured, emotionally resonant performances are the best thing in the film. There's also strong support from Jenkins (he has a particularly powerful moment with Moretz) and Koteas, while Minnette is suitably horrible as Dylan.

Reeves' direction effectively captures both the look and feel of the original film, paying close attention to the distinctive green-tinged lighting and crisp camerawork. He also adds at least one bravura sequence (Jenkins' accident) that improves upon its equivalent in Let the Right One In.

The Bad
The main problem is that Reeves' script strips out all the subtlety and complexity of the original film and substitutes overt horror sequences instead (although, curiously, he drops the scene with the cats that was one of the highlights of the original). To that end, there are a lot more 'vampire face' effects, all the ambiguity over Abby's gender is dropped completely and characters make very clear statements about plot lines that the original film left to the audience to work out for themselves.

Similarly, though undeniably catchy, Michael Giacchino's score is about as subtle as a sledgehammer.

Worth seeing?
Essentially, Let Me In is Let the Right One In for people who don't like subtlety, complexity or subtitles. As such it's a perfectly adequate, entirely watchable remake but it lacks the impact of the original film.

Film Trailer

Let Me In (R16)
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Content updated: 21/02/2020 12:11

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