Thursday, 25 November 2010

Let Me In: Movie Review

Let Me In: Movie Review

Let Me In
Rating: 8/10
Cast: Chloe Moretz, Richard Jenkin, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Elias Koteas
Director: Matt Reeves
From the director of Cloverfield comes a shot-for-shot remake of the perfect Swedish vampire/horror film, Let The Right One In.
It's 1980s New Mexico: Smit-McPhee, fresh from surviving the apocalypse in The Road , plays 12-year-old Owen. His parents are on the verge of divorcing and his school life is hell, thanks to daily bullying. He's pretty much your archetypal loner kid who just can't seem to connect with anyone (through no fault of his own).
At the same time as Owen's trying to make his way through a miserable existence, police are hunting an apparent ritualistic murderer who drains victims of their blood. They're at a loss to work out why the victims are targeted and what the motive is.
One day in a snowy courtyard, Owen meets Abby ( Kickass's Chloe Moretz), an apparent kindred soul who, despite initially bonding with Owen, warns him they can't be friends.
But against the grain, the two become friends - Owen drawing strength from Abby, and Abby benefiting from the daily contact with someone her same age.
However, their two worlds are threatened when Abby's truth is revealed ... and what's inside her threatens to boil over.
Let Me In is a superior horror and, quite frankly, given the source material it was taken from, there really is nothing else it could be.
Purists who've seen the Swedish masterpiece will notice how 95 per cent of the film is just reshot from the original and it's simply the location which has been changed.
Yet, that's unfair to simply dismiss Matt Reeves' version. Let Me In works brilliantly because of the three main characters, all of whom put in textured, layered and tender performances. Richard Jenkin proves once again he can't put a foot wrong - his role as Abby's protector is filled with sadness at the horror of the situation he lives in - and his final scenes with Abby are haunting and emotionally charged.
Moretz and Smit-McPhee are also brilliant in their roles; these are clearly young talents with bright, varied futures ahead of them. Their director's got the best out of them with subtle performances that reek of tenderness, desperation and humanity.
Plus, when Abby attacks, the feral snarling speed and ferocity with which she does so, is shocking. These are vampires as creatures of necessity and with a parasitic nature, as opposed to the twinkling love-moping vamps of the Twilight Saga. (Don't forget all your latest Twilight Saga news is right here for you)
Sure, film snobs will claim the original is best (and maybe they have a point) but this Americanised version is to be commended for ensuring more people see the story - and it's worth seeing for the scene with the car chase. While that wasn't in the source material, the moment when the car flips is perhaps one of the most original and well shot scenes I've seen in a long time.

Director Reeves also deserves credit - while he's not exactly done anything to improve the original, he should be applauded for remaking a film which is respectful to the original and faithful as well. The atmosphere is haunting, melancholy and sobre (complemented by Michael Giacchino's evocative score, which seems lifted from TV series Lost at times) and the overall result - an intelligent and expertly crafted film - is bound to stay with you long after you've left the cinema.

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