Rated R for strong bloody horror violence, language and a brief sexual situation, 110 minutes
“Let Me In” a haunting, chilling vampire remake
“Let Me In” is frightening, slow-moving heavily stylized vampire tale that has you wishing that you had a vampire as a bodyguard. An American remake of the 2008 Swedish horror-thriller “Let the Right One In” which is based on a Swedish novel of the same name, it’s suspenseful, bloody and often terrifying. The original foreign film is still superior, but those who enjoyed that film will also get a kick out of this one.
Twelve-year old Owen (Australian actor Kodi Smit-McPhee of last year’s affecting “The Road”) is viciously bullied by his classmates and neglected by his divorcing parents. Achingly lonely, Owen spends his days plotting revenge on his middle school tormentors and his evenings spying on the other inhabitants of his apartment complex. His only friend is his new neighbor Abby (Chloe Moretz from “Kick-Ass”), an eerily self-possessed young girl who lives next door with her silent father (Richard Jenkins).
A frail, troubled child about Owens's age, Abby emerges only at night and is always barefoot, seemingly immune to the bitter winter elements. Recognizing a fellow outcast Owen and Abby form a unique bond. When a string of grisly murders puts the town on high alert and a policeman (Elias Koteas) comes to investigate, Abby's father disappears and she’s left on her own, revealing a powerful secret to Owen.
“Let Me In” is a superbly terrifying, violent and grim horror-thriller from Matt Reeves (co-creator of TV’s “Felicity”). He Americanizes the story and makes a few minor changes here and there to the original movie and story, but otherwise keeps the dark tone and violence intact. The Swedish film is still superior in its ability to shock, but Reeves does a decent job and makes the story a little more accessible for American audiences.
The touching performances from the young leads, McPhee and Moretz, are one of the highlights of the film, in addition to the film’s washed-out colors that add to the film’s stark feel. Reeves adds some nice ‘80s touches with Rubik’s Cube, Ronald Reagan and Pac-Man that nicely evokes memories of the early ‘80s. The film has pacing problems i.e. it’s too slow in places, making the violent images, when they come, even more enjoyable.
Overall, “Let Me In” stands on its own well-enough to be an above-average, well-acted horror flick. Also know that it isn’t for everyone but vampire enthusiasts should enjoy it, even if the first film is better.