Editor’s Note: This review was originally published on September 12th, 2010.
Nobody really knows when love will first chomp at them. For Owen (THE ROAD’s Kodi Smit-McPhee), it happens at a very tender twelve years old, when he meets Abby (KICK-ASS’s Chloe Moretz) in Matt Reeves’ LET ME IN. But the the first time they encounter one another, she tells him “we can’t be friends.” She means well and has very good reasons - she needs blood to survive and can’t come into a living quarters without being invited.
She’s what us modern suckers call a vampire.
If you’re reading this (thank you, by the way), then you probably know this is the American remake of the 2008 Swedish film, LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, which was in turn based on John Ajvide Lindqvist’s novel of the same title. It’s nearly impossible to write this review without comparing (or simply referring back) to its original, but I’ll do my best. The plot of LET ME IN is the same, the kills are based around the same scenarios, and in some sequences, it’s shot-for-shot from the original. But what Matt Reeves brings to the table is his own unique spin on all those elements - the story, the kills, and the shot-for-shots.
It’s all about the visuals for Reeves. The man took his time to make sure not to upset fans of the original and to honor it with his work in LET ME IN. There’s a particularly fresh scene in the film that will not leave my mind. It involves one single take, one car, and one major crash, which all turns the events of the film. It’s one of the most intense car crashes I’ve ever seen committed to film. “Holy shit” is the only phrase that comes to my mind to describe it - it’s that much of a show-stopper.
One thing I really appreciated about LET ME IN was Reeves’ more intimate focus on Richard Jenkins’ character, The Father. This is a man who genuinely loved Abby and dedicated his entire life to seeing that she gets her blood without her having to destroy her own innocence in its pursuit. Jenkins finely displayed the sloppiness that an aging soul will start to embody when growing both tired and hungry for all the madness to end.
Some people might not give LET ME IN a chance solely based on it being a remake of a beloved original. LET THE RIGHT ONE IN grew a pretty large fanbase for itself after hitting the U.S., so skipping this so it “doesn’t ruin the original” might seem logical. I assure you, however, this is one of the best film of its kind in the recent years. It’s not better than the original, but that’s not what Reeves set out to do - the man wanted to make a solid film and he did just that with LET ME IN.