Let Me In

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When I saw this film at the Nova cinema the other night, the experience had a certain déjà vu to it. Almost two years ago, I saw a film Swedish horror film called Let the Right One In at the very same cinema and it was a near identical experience. This is no
coincidence, as Let Me In is an American remake of the foreign film of 2008.

Set in 1983, Let Me In has transported the story of the original film from Stockholm to
Los Alamos, New Mexico, and centres around a young boy, Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee)
who lives in an apartment block with his mother. Owen has a tough time at school and is
the victim of vicious bullying. One night a new tenant moves in to the apartment block
with his young daughter, Abbey (Chloe Moretz), who happens to be a vampire. While
her father is out killing people and draining them of their blood to feed her, Abbey gets to
know Owen and they form a friendship. But can Owen completely trust her?

Based on the book (which I haven’t read*) by John Ajvide Lindqvist, I wondered whether director Matt Reeves (Cloverfield) would—rather than doing a Hollywood remake of a foreign film—make Let Me In his own interpretation of the novel. The credits do seem to suggest that Reeves’ film has taken from both its predecessor and the source material, but it’s really hard not to be reminded of the original film scene after scene, which disappointed me because, by and large, Let Me In is really well made and works just as well as the original does.

Though it is well made, I can’t help but think Reeves took the easy way out with this, as some scenes play out almost identically to the original film; the most blatant being the climactic pool scene, which could have been done a different way, if for no other reason than to distance the film from its foreign counterpart.

The saving grace of Let Me In, however, lies in the casting. The two leads, Smit-McPhee and Moretz, have such powerful chemistry and are two great actors in the making. Smit-McPhee is genuine, empathetic and likeable, and Moretz is an old-soul, innocent and lovely to watch. If this is what these two actors can achieve at such young ages, I’m really looking forward to seeing their career’s flourishing in the future.

Let Me In is a worthy film, but really isn’t able to bring anything completely new to the table. If you haven’t seen the original, check it out. If you have, be warned: you’ll enjoy the cast greatly but will be let down the film’s familiarity.

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