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Marina Antunes [DVD News 01.31.11] movie review news dvd horror drama

Year: 2010
Director: Matt Reeves
Writers: Matt Reeves, John Ajvide Lindqvist
IMDB: link
Amazon: link
Trailer: link
Review by: Marina Antunes
Rating: 8.5 out of 10

When it was announced that Matt Reeves would be leading the charge on an American version of John Ajvide Lindqvist’s book “Let Me In,” fandom sort of exploded all over Reeves face. No one, myself included, could believe that anyone would dare try adapting the novel again so close on the heels of Tomas Alfredson’s universally loved Let the Right One In (review) adaptation of the material and so Let Me In went into quiet production in New Mexico while fans sort of forgot it was coming until it was basically at our door. The film opened to little fanfare but a surprise round of positive reviews and after a hearty recommendation from a trusted source, I treaded out to the discount cinema to see Reeve’s interpretation of the material and walked out flabbergasted: not only is Let Me In good, it’s great.

I was a little anxious to see the film again months after having that initial positive reaction. I started to wonder if maybe I’d bought into some anti-hype that made me like it more than it deserved but after a second (and third) viewing I’m convinced that director Matt Reeves has done something that is nearly unheard of: taking material that is well known and loved and creating a film that is very close to the previous project while still maintaining a unique voice.

Reeves’ film transports the story to new Mexico and infuses it with memories from his youth. The music, aesthetic and even the candy Owen consumes are part of what he remembers growing up and there are subtle hints of more emotional connections: the moon landscape in Owen’s room and the space-man like jacket he wears through most of the film. There are other slight changes, most notably the Father’s hunt, but all of these changes fit seamlessly into the story and Reeves, like Alfredson before him, keeps the story focused on the coming of age tale and the bitter sweet romance that emerges between Owen and Abby.

Working with child actors is always a bit of hit and miss but Reeves has brought in two formidable young talents with Australian actor Kodi Smit-McPhee (of The Road fame) to play Owen and Chloe Moretz (of Kick-Ass fame) to play Abby. Smit-McPhee is spot on through the entire film and as good as Moretz is, I found her portrayal of Abby occasionally bland but nothing so staggering that it detracted from the overall film. Two huge trump cards are the casting of the amazingly talented Richard Jenkins as the Father. He spends a majority of the film either behind a plastic bag or under a mask of make-up and yet he manages to emote hugely with simply his eyes. The other is the formidable Elias Koteas in the role of the police officer; how this man isn’t a bigger star is beyond me. Also worth mentioning is Michael Giacchino’s brilliant score which itself feels like another character in this story which subtly highlights and heightens the action and emotion throughout the film.

With my love for the original, I find it nearly impossible to disassociate the two projects ("the original did this better" sort of mentality) but Let Me In stands squarely as its own film and when compared to Let the Right One In, the two could easily go toe to toe and come out with nearly identical marks. My one minor criticism of Let Me In are the vampire effects which Alfredson chose to keep mostly off camera or in near darkness in his film while Reeves chooses to keep it shadowed but still visible with mixed results.

I love Let Me In and highly recommend the film to those who are familiar with the original as a reinterpretation of a story they know and (mostly) love. As for those who are not familiar with the original, this is a must see unique take on vampire lore. And yes, you should also add the original to your viewing queue.

Let Me In is available on DVD and Blu-Ray on February 1st.

DVD Extras: Quite a collection of extras on this release including a 16 minute making of video including interviews with Matt Reeves and the cast, a mildly interesting collection of special effect shots from composition to finished product (the lack of commentary or explanation here makes this a little redundant after the first clip), an in-depth behind the scenes look at the creation of the film’s key effects scene: the one shot car crash, as well as three deleted scenes, trailers and an image gallery which included one interesting poster I’d never seen before. The best of the features is Reeves’ audio commentary which is insightful and reveals a director who fully understood what he was up against but was none the less determined to make the film he wanted to make. Aside from insight into much of his motivation for certain parts of this story, he also reveals some pre-production information which surprised me. All in all, not a shabby package.

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agentorange (12 years ago) Reply

Totally agree with you. This film stands on its own as not a "remake" of a film, but another adaptation of the book.

As one of the skeptics who envisioned the film morphed into a vampire love story a la Vampire Diaries/Twilight, I was floored at what a profound film Reeves put together.

And yes, always great to see Elias Koteas :)


MarkUK (12 years ago) Reply

Låt den rätte komma in/Let Me In:
Europe 1 - USA 0

Das Experiment/The Experiment
Europe 1 - USA 0

Le dîner de cons/Dinner for Schmucks
Europe 1 - USA 0

Travolti da un insolito destino etc.../Swept Away
Europe 1 - USA 0

Abre los ojos/Vanilla Sky
Europe 1 - USA 1

Europe 1 - USA 0

Final Score: Europe 6 - USA 1
Game Over
Continue? y/n (answer)


Anonymous (12 years ago) Reply

I actually felt this was more a transfer of the original film to an english language audience. Albeit with a small amount of plot holes filled and better FX.

Overall I give this an 8. If they had altered it significantly, or turned the film into some absurd action flick, I would've slapped it with a 1.


loci (12 years ago) Reply

I felt no connection between the kids.
(if you can call an aged vamp a kid)
The dialogue between them was wooden and rushed.
Stupid unneeded cgi that made her look like a monkey on crack (even tho she's meant to be weak with hunger)
Pointless and very much inferior.


Jonas (12 years ago) Reply

I found this to be a very frustrating film, at least compared to the original. Let Me In looks gorgeous, is beautifully acted, and actually has a heart beating underneath it's impressive visuals -a rare commodity for a Hollywood remake. And yet, in the end, it's not quite as satisfying or emotionally gripping as Let The Right One In. It's all in the details: where Alfredson wisely kept most of the violence offscreen and/or in the shadows, Reeves feels the need to add show-offy action scenes (the car accident) and clunky, sub-LOTR CGI. The dialogue, too, so understated and nuanced in the original, has suddenly become very explicit and clichéd, as if the studio feared the audience wouldn't get what was going on... A worthy but ultimately pointless exercise.


Anonymous (12 years ago) Reply

This film is just a tasteless copy.Shame. Atmosphere is way better in the original movie.


googergieger (12 years ago) Reply

Let Me In is a good movie made out of a great one. It tells one story found in the original, but a story not found in the book. It is made in a way that tells everyone watching that the people making it, knew exactly why you shouldn't remake the original and remade it anyways. It isn't a new interpretation or new take on anything. It's the original made for dummies in English.

I mean seriously why was the Psycho remake so hated?


Anonymous (12 years ago) Reply

Totally pointless.
Stop making useless remakes, thank you.


Anonymous (12 years ago) Reply

Looking past the elitist attitudes of the readership on QE. The director himself admitted that it was a remake, for an English speaking audience that would have most likely never seen the original.

Now, the people that did this remake could have gone all out and created some horrid abomination of the original. Instead they kept most of the story intact, and chose to just tweak the effects where available.

I feel that this deserves a bit more appreciation. There are remakes that make this look Oscar worthy including Shutter, Pulse, Dinner for Schmucks, Point of No Return and My Sassy Girl being but a few.


Finriz (12 years ago) Reply

Quiet Earth is awesome. A lot of the "fans" here remind me of comic-book-guy from the Simpsons. Oh well, to each their own.


Hot Fuzz (12 years ago) Reply

Quiet Earth IS awesome and I don't think anyone who reads the site daily is an "elistist" at all. We all just want to see original films. That's why I like Quiet Earth. They try to tell us about them.

Will I see the Let Me In remake. Maybe not, but if Quiet Earth gives it an 8.5 there's way more of a chance I will. But I still might not...


Anonymous (12 years ago) Reply

I agree that most of the people that frequent QE are not "elitist". So it was irrational of me, to have labeled it in a way as to make it look like I was branding everyone as that :)

While I must admit that I am generally and offended by the thought of my favourite foreign films being remade (This included Let The Right One in).

I was very pleasently surprised by this remake. Of course it was nowhere near as good as the original. But it is also far from being a disgrace to the author, and the people that created the original film.


Bateman (12 years ago) Reply

What's the rationale for Let Me In's existence? It's awesome, that's what.

GG/BB, the same half dozen talking points over and over again on every blog, online magazine, really. Now that the DVD is available another flurry of activity like before the theatrical release.

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