Let Me In

Release date: October 1, 2010
Director: Matt Reeves
Novel by: John Ajvide Lindqvist
Screenplay by: Matt Reeves
Cast: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Chloe Moretz, Richard Jenkins

As many of you know, this film is Matt Reeves’s American adaptation of John Lindqvist’s novel Let the Right One in, which has already been adapted into the Swedish film of the same name.

First thing’s first — no, it’s not bad. At all. Reeves has brought a gentle touch to the film and handled both the horror and the relationship of Owen and Abby very well. The film is quiet, beautiful, terrifying and patient. Both of the two young actors inhabit their roles in a way that gives the roles wonderful nuance. It’s Smit-McPhee that stands out. He finds a mix of isolation and fear that is well beyond his years and will break your heart in a scene where he picks up a phone to call his father.

By now I’m sure you’re wondering whether it’s as good, nay, better than the original. I’m here to tell you that the question is irrelevant. Some will find the Swedish original as a masterpiece that should never have been re-interpreted. But I say that if this song was going to be covered, that it couldn’t have gone much better than this. Would I prefer that audiences see Let the Right One in instead of this? You bet. But if someone asked me whether they should watch this, Saw 3-D or Paranormal Activity 2 come October… the answer is simple.

There is a lot to like about Let me In, everything from the feelings it evokes of being bullied, to the violence it lets loose whenever Abby needs to do what she does best.

After the screening Matt Reeves expressed how big a fan he was of the original, and how hesitant he was to make this version. The former point will come through on the screen, the latter point speaks volumes about his character as a creative talent.

Whether or not you see it is entirely up to you. If we’re basing the decision on whether or not you feel the original should have been remade, I can follow your logic either way. All I would suggest is to come into it with an open mind and focus on what’s on the screen instead of what isn’t.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

by Ryan McNeil @ The Dark of the Matinee

6 Responses

  1. Ripley says:

    Tis a beautiful film, and I kind of like Kodi Smit-McPhee more than the original kid.

    • Amy says:

      I've been hearing that, thus making people sad for him for going with Moretz character. I'm still waiting for it, I heard it will open in February here… I dunno if I'd have any better luck on DVD xD

      What did you think about the relationship between both characters?

  2. amy says:

    Hmm, just saw this. Did not enjoy it much. I felt it was… too loud. A lot of the deep disturbing bits in the original were cut… like Owen/Oskar been a little messed up and being macabre, which brought a lot more depth to the conversation with Abby/Eli about being her a little bit, and having to kill to survive… especially with the cut story of Virginia, which also brought another layer to it in the original. They completely dumbed down Virginia in this one… you gotta admit.

    This version, though, it sure has a better passing… a better flow, but it lacks in content.

    Owen was built up better, mainly because of the tougher abuse in school – come on, that was beyond bullying. And it lacks the innocent chemistry between the kids… making Abby a lot more sinister – which I dig. But still… it felt washed down… even more, if they really wanted to tackle the book as a source.

  1. September 6, 2013

    […] Matinee gives us a look at what was the Toronto Film Festival this year, and gives his thoughts on Let Me In (out in theaters in America), Black Swan (out in December in America), and Norwegian Wood (out in […]

  2. October 7, 2013

    […] internet have no idea what the meaning of “shot by shot” remake really is — eg. Let Me In [1] or the unspoken agreement that Fincher’s Dragon Tattoo [1][2][3] wasn’t one either. […]

  3. January 20, 2014

    […] Nordic crime stories have been a prime target for source material. 2010 saw an American version [1] of Tomas Alfredson’s brilliant boy-meets vampire flick Let the Right One In. This Christmas, […]

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