LET ME INStarring Kodi Smitt-McPhee, Chloe Moretz
Directed by Matt Reeves
The titular difference between the exquisite 2008 Swedish film, Let the Right One In, and its American remake, Let Me In, is subtle but telling. Where the original tapped into the cruel beauty of vampires as metaphor for the everyday horrors of growing up, writer-director Matt Reeves’s version is Hollywood lite: metaphor-free and bereft of pesky nuance.
On the bright side, Let Me In couldn’t have better source material, which automatically elevates it well above most other unnecessary remakes. It also boasts performances by two powerful preteen leads. Owen (Kodi Smitt-McPhee) is a lonely 12-year-old kid ignored by his parents and bullied at school. When Abby (Kick-Ass’s Chloe Moretz) moves in next door, he thinks maybe he’s finally found a friend — even though she confesses she’s been 12 for “a very long time.” As their relationship progresses through a series of sweetly twee scenes — like their nightly ritual of communicating through their shared bedroom walls using Morse code — a string of unsolved murders leads straight to Abby’s door, and Owen’s bullies escalate their attacks, leading to a bloody climax.
The film starts strong thanks to cinematographer Greig Fraser, whose opening scenes are among the most creatively filmed in recent years, and Michael Giacchino’s score is reminiscent of the brilliant tension Wendy Carlos and Rachel Elkind crafted for horror classic The Shining. There are good things in Let Me In, but fans of the original will resent Reeves’s decision to forsake storytelling in favour of amping up the gore, thereby diluting — but not extinguishing — the film’s power. —Andrea Warner.