Film & TV

Let Me In

Rating: MA 15+

Running Time: 115 minutes

Release Date: 14 October 2010


Let me In is a remake of the 2008 Swedish horror film Let the Right One In which was directed by Tomas Alfredson.  This was originally based of the novel by the same name (Lat den Ratte Komma In) by John Ajvide Lindqvist.  The current American version is directed by Matt Reeves (Cloverfield) who also reworked the screenplay and set it in the US naturally instead of Sweden.

Set in 1983 Los Alamos, New Mexico, bullied twelve year old Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee) tries befriending the “new” girl next door.  Neglected by his separated parents he is drawn to the mysterious Abby (Chloe Grace Moretz) whom he feels relates to his social isolation.  He starts eavesdropping on her conversations with her so called father (Richard Jenkins) through their thin apartment walls which furthers his protectiveness over her.  Abby responds in kind and Owen instilled with a sense of acceptance soon becomes reliant on Abby for his emotional wellbeing.  However as strange events start occurring and nameless detective (Elias Koteas) appears on the scene, little does Owen realise that Abby may be involved.

This story is spellbinding and like no other vampire tale, told in the guise of the painful transition through adolescence which audience can identify with.  The childlike innocence and search for belonging is well portrayed which turns into a co-dependant relationship as Owen becomes another human victim as he falls prey to Abby.  Blind to the actual fact that she is immortally twelve years old.  Its more a comment on the human condition,  our frailties and what binds us to others rather than a pure supernatural horror story.

Moretz (Kick Ass) is fantastic in her portrayal as Abby as you are torn along with Owen between feelings of pity and revulsion.  Smit-McPhee (The Road) is also brilliant as the bullied victim with good chemistry between them.   They are well supported by Richard Jenkins (The Visitor) and Elias Koteas (Shutter Island).  Reeves creates a haunting atmosphere and draws you in with the vunerability of the two protagonists.  Some moments are scary but its not one of those schlock horror flicks with gratuitous amounts of gore and blood, in fact it is quite understated and clinical at times.  However the use of CGI to turn Abby into a vampire and the specky effects are at odds with the general tone of the film.  It would be a better film if Reeves hadn’t resorted to this.

Reeves wanted to be faithful to the 1980’s setting of the novel except being in America not Sweden.  Being the Reagan era footage his “Evil Empire” speech  is used as a backdrop along with 80s popular culture with 80’s music of David Bowie, Kiss to Arcade machines.  Though the 80’s references were  a bit too obvious to the point of actually distracting you from the mood of the film and was not particularly relevant or enhanced the thematic elements.  Unfortunately the script starts with exploring Owen’s obsession with death and murder and yet it is not further developed from here which is a plot problem however as you are totally drawn into the story it is a minor one.

The film’s score by Academy Award winning composer Michael Giacchino perfectly underscores the edgy tone of the movie.  Criticism has been levelled at this being too close in style and following too soon after the original’s release.  It is still a great remake but how you respond to this film may depend on whether you have viewed the original or not.

4/5 stars (if you haven’t seen the original) 3.5/5 stars  (if you have)

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