Let Me In
Let Me In is an American remake of the Swedish original called Let the Right One In. The film restores faith to those who thought an American vampire film done well was impossible. I must confess that I am not a huge fan of vampire films nor have I seen the original Swedish version, which in return makes it all the more impressive that I found it so entertaining.
Let Me In had a lot going against it from the start. First of all, any time you do a remake you already have an unfair disadvantage, a classic damned if you do damned if you don’t scenario. If you do not change enough from the original, people will argue that the film is too similar. If you change too much, people will think you destroyed the original vision. Most of the time you cannot win and the original is almost always better.
The second thing Let Me In had going against it, is that not only is it a remake, it is an American made remake. Modern day American horror cinema is not exactly looked highly upon by horror film buffs. Lastly, the vampire genre has hit mainstream audiences with cheesy teenage romance films like Twilight, making vampire based films hard to take serious.
Even with all of the above setbacks, Let Me In overcomes each one with relative ease. It proves that Hollywood can produce a solid horror film. Although, some might not even call it a horror film but rather a thriller or even a romance film. In reality, it is a combination of all of those.
Let Me In takes place in Los Alamos, New Mexico in the winter of 1983. 12-year-old Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee) is raised by his divorcee mother, does not have any friends, enjoys playing with his Rubik’s Cube and eating Now ‘n’ Laters. His school life is not much better, he is constantly bullied for not fitting in. So when a girl named Abby (Chloe Moretz) moves in to the apartment next door, it is his first chance at making a friend.
Although, his luck does not seem to be getting any better as she tells him right away, “I can never be your friend.” Owen is quick to notice that Abby is not a normal girl. Even though it is winter and there is snow on the ground, she is shoeless. Also she has never heard of nor played with a Rubik’s Cube. When he asks her how old she is, she replies, “12 –years-old more or less.”
Owen does not know it yet, but Abby is a vampire. Like any vampire she needs blood in order to survive and she relies on her so-called father (Richard Jenkins) to get it for her. Validating what Owen suspects that she is not normal and also alluding that she is a vampire, she tells Owen, “I’m not a girl. I’m nothing.”
There was not a lot of CGI in Let Me In, which is a good thing. Because most of the CGI in the film was over-the-top, which hurt it more than it helped it. However, the area that it excelled most in was the cinematography. It was magnificently done. The chilly tone was captured perfectly as we often saw with frosted breath and pale faces.
Dramatic irony, showing the audience the killer before the character sees him, is a technique many older horror films used to create fear and suspense. Many modern day horror films often opt for “cheap scares” by turning down the score and all of a sudden have something jump into the screen. Thankfully, this film went with the former. I also found it interesting that we never see Owen’s mother’s face, she is almost never shown on the screen even if she is in the scene.
Let Me In deserves to be in the list of Top Horror Films of 2010. You must go into it knowing that it is not necessarily scary as it is eerie. Also, it is not very fast paced so be prepared to give it some patience. Being that it is a remake and still quite delightful to watch makes me all the more anxious to watch the original.