I absolutely loved the quiet but powerful Swedish vampire film Let The Right One In from 2008. A beautiful love story between two lonely children and a refreshing take on the vampire genre. I was not pleased when I learned about the remake – there is no need to remake a film that is already close to perfection, and only a couple of years later – travesty!
Looking at this from a positive angle however, the film does deserve a wider audience, and if that means having to remake it for viewers who don’t like to watch subtitles, then so be it. At least the director, Matt Reeves, understood that he should not mess around with a masterpiece, resulting in his American version being essentially a shot for shot recreation of the Swedish original, from the identical casting choices, the snowy location and mirroring art direction, even the colour palette of the cinematography and musical score is the same.
Let Me In follows a lonely 12-year-old boy named Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee) who is being bullied at school. He befriends another lonely, but slightly odd 12 year old girl who moves in next door. It turns out Abby (Chloe Moretz) is a very old vampire and is slowly slaughtering the community.
As in Let The Right One In, the actors who play the kids are excellent and their quiet, moving scenes are handled with the same delicacy as the original. Moretz shows great versatility as a young actress, revealing a darker, softer side as opposed to her edgy, Hit Girl character she portrayed in Kick Ass, and I look forward to what she will do next.
Let Me In is a bit slower than I remember the original and also really emphasizes the 80s art direction, which lends itself to more of a classic psychological thriller. I also appreciated that the film did not shy away from certain uncomfortable scenes between Abby and the man who cares for her. Their scenes together are more flushed out than in the original and actually explain their relationship better. The film also does not shy away from some brutal confrontations between Owen and the bullies at school, really drawing out the loneliness he feels and making the ending all the more satisfying.
In the end, this remake pleasantly surprised me, and I actually think that both versions are worthy additions to my DVD collection.