20 October 2010

Let Me In

Let Me In

Starring Chloe-Mortez, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Richard Jenkins, Elias Koteas, Sasha Barrese.
Release: 01 October 2010. Written for the Screen & directed by Matt Reeves. Hammer Films, 115 mins., Rated R

Plot: Boy meets girl - girl is vampire - boy is like, cool!

Perhaps the most impressive accomplishment of director Matt Reeves' LET ME IN is how it stays tonally and stylistically true to the highly acclaimed Swedish original, LET THE RIGHT ONE IN. And that he kept the swimming pool finale, which was primarily the object of my biggest excitement. However, that being said, there is a unfortunate flatness to the remake, even though it adheres to the original so greatly.

The central story remains the same. a young boy (McPhee) bullied at school meets a vampire (Mortez) in the form of a twelve-year old at his apartment, and they form a close bond. There are, of course, some differences. The location shifts from Sweden to New Mexico, but that's not remotely jarring or even distracting at the leastest. Abby, the vampire of the story and who is very much female as opposed to the sorta ambiguous nature of the original's Eli, gets a little bit more growl-y with her "father"/"caretaker"/whatever and even gets a demonic voice to boot! Owen's homicidal tendencies are toned down a bit, so instead of wishing to kill the bullies in nearly all his scenes and dialogue, his aggression gets distracted by Abby, more or less. Lighting is a bit darker here and there, especially in the swimming pool sequence. The bullies get one new scene that adds a bit of depth to 'em, prompting me to remember BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, where one action forces a boy to do that to another, and that harmed boy does that to another, etc. Er, that makes sense when you see it.

So, basically, the movie's faithful. It's LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, but with American actors and cinematography. Oh, and Michael Giacchino's magnificent score - yeah, it's not up to his usual standards of 'magnificent' [but then again, horror movies don't typically allow composers to go all out with their work], but still pretty damn haunting and frakkin' freaky.

A negative aspect I have about the movie, though, is that it is rather boring, which is odd to say for a film that boasts multiple elements and plots. Perhaps sticking to the original may not have been the best course, perhaps taking a few more liberties with the story and scenes might have helped improve the film and make it a little bit more...something. Anyone else feel like the flick dragged here and there? Oh, and before I forget, the film opens with one of those sequences that happens in the middle of the movie, and it then backtracks. I would appreciate it if the clinching sequence was something of a 'woah, what the frak is going on?', but it's rather lackluster and could entirely have been exercised from the opening.

So now that we established its faithfulness to its source material, what else is there to say about LET ME IN? It's odd, really, because I've gone back and forth these past few days wondering if I would recommend it or not. On one hand, sure, it's a good movie, but on the other hand, if you want to experience the story to its full extent, I would of course recommend the original.

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