Let Me In (2010)

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Movie Connections:
Let The Right One In
> Let The Right One In (2008)
> Let Me In (2010)
Matt Reeves Matt Reeves
Kodi Smit-McPhee Kodi Smit-McPhee
ChloŽ Grace Moretz ChloŽ Grace Moretz
Richard Jenkins Richard Jenkins
Cara Buono Cara Buono
Elias Koteas Elias Koteas

6.7 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Genres: Drama, Horror, Vampire Film
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Review by bluemeanie
Added: October 03, 2010
Why remake "Let the Right One In"? That is the question I have been asking myself since I first heard that Matt Reeves (the man behind "Cloverfield") was tackling an American update of one of the greatest horror dramas to ever grace the screen. Americans tend to just screw things up, right? And, not being a big fan of "Cloverfield", Reeves didn't instill very much hope in my heart for a successful picture. That said -- I have no problem admitting when I am wrong about something and I was wrong about Matt Reeves. "Let Me In" is probably the best remake ever. You heard me -- ever. Instead of bastardizing the film for Hollywood he kept it simple and seductive and far from the mainstream. He obviously loved the source material and treated it accordingly.

For those unfamiliar with the original film, the story centers around Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee), a lonely and bullied boy who lives in an apartment complex in 1983. He is tormented at school, stunned by the divorce of his parents and experimenting with violent fantasies. One night he meets Abby (Chloe Grace Moretz), a strange girl who has just moved into the complex with an older man (Richard Jenkins). She lets him know immediately that they cannot be friends but the two soon start developing a bizarre bond with one another. Owen is curious about girls and sexuality and Abby seems to be too perfect. Slowly, however, Abby starts to show a darker side and we soon realize she is not exactly what she seems to be. Elias Koteas stars as a policeman tracking down a serial killer in the area whom he believes to be in the area. I don't want to give anything else away for those who have not seen the original and might experience the material for the first time with this picture.

Most of the credit here goes to director Matt Reeves. He and his art department have meticulously re-created 1983 for the audience in everything from the clothes and the toys to the harsh and dulled out colors on the screen. It felt like I was watching a film in 1983. The music from Michael Giacchino (as always) is just phenomenal and really does a nice job of blending innocence and dread together in such an unusual way. The cinematography by Greig Fraser is some of the best of the year and superior to the original film in many ways. It's just beautiful. And a big credit to Matt Reeves for adapting the screenplay himself and throwing a few new touches that actually seemed more appropriate than the original. The Richard Jenkins character is still wholly underused but that is by design and not by choice. He needs to be used that way because it makes it far more effective.

The two young leads, Kodi Smit-McPhee and Chloe Grace Moretz, are perfectly cast and really do have the talent to handle these kinds of emotional situations. The film really belongs to both of them. Elias Koteas is terrific and nuanced as the saturnine detective searching for answers and Richard Jenkins does so much with such a small role -- he takes it and turns it into something memorable. I also had a strong appreciation for the way in which Reeves handled the school bullies. They are more treacherous and violent in this film than in the original and I felt much more concern for Owen when these bullies were around.

This is easily one of the best horror films of the year if not the best -- and it's the best remake I've ever seen. I was expecting your typical Hollywood-izing of the source material and they didn't do that -- they treated it with so much appreciation and so much love that it comes across in every frame. And, having been a huge fan of the original, believe me when I tell you -- I don't say any of this lightly. The shame is that I still think audiences will have a difficult time finding this film. It's not mainstream enough for most people. It will definitely introduce the story -- and the original film -- to more people but it won't bring it the kind of attention it deserves. Seek out this film and I recommend you watch this one BEFORE the original if you haven't seen it already. Try to go in with an open mind and appreciate this remake for all that it does right. 9/10.
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Chad #1: Chad - added 02/07/2011, 07:30 AM
The only negative thing that I can say about this remake is that the pool sequence was so much better in the original. Other than that, huge thumbs up to this one.
George Snow #2: George Snow - added 02/07/2011, 08:52 AM
I'm not going to read your review till after I see this. But, the young girl is the one from Kick-Ass and she's an excellent actress. I'm looking forward to seeing this.

I found this amusing, In Kick-Ass she's this short little child. But, in Diary of a Whimpy Kid, she looks pretty tall.
Ginose #3: Ginose - added 02/07/2011, 05:06 PM
And the first meeting at the playground... and the tunnel scene... and the part with the cop in her apartment... and basically every seen where she is a vampire.... Subtlety was completely lost to Reeves. It was almost cheesy in it's execution... I didn't love it, as it felt remarkably dumbed-down compared to the original.
A 6.Meh/10
Chad #4: Chad - added 02/08/2011, 10:31 AM
I'll be the first to shit on a remake if it deserves it, especially a remake that really didn't need to be made, but you can't honestly say that this one was bad in any way. Chloe Moretz was perfect as Abby, and even though some of the CGI was spotty, it was nothing to really bitch about. If you didn't like this one, you either didn't like the original or you watched it with hater's eyes.
Ginose #5: Ginose - added 02/08/2011, 09:47 PM
No. No, no, no and fuck you. No sir: I went in wanting to LOVE this movie. I gave it every benefit of the doubt. I was worried, at first, and then I heard all the actors involved as well as the fact that, like Amicus' remarkable return to grace with Stuart Gordon's "Stuck", this was Hammer's return to the mainstream horror world. I was more than ready to accept Moretz in another starring role after her fucking excellent turn as Hit-Girl, and I couldn't have asked for a better build-up for a remake of what was easily one of the greatest vampire films of the last several decades.
This was not what I wanted. Just about every chance he got, Reeve's pumped out as much gore and shock-scares as possible, which is the exact fucking opposite of what the original wanted to be. You've read the book, I hope? Well, neither were perfect transitions, but the original left the mystery and approached the subtlety of Eli's vampirism with a bit of fucking tact. Now, every chance we get to see it here become full on vampire goring. Why? To what ends? There's so little mystery left to her character. The approach of Oskar's attraction to Eli was hammed up to the point of being one of the most important aspect of this version, when it was so muted in the original because the story was about a much a romance as Frankenstein's monster's connection to his creator in the last act of the book... fuck.

I felt cheated because this was, in essence, the same as any American remake I've seen: It thinks everyone misunderstood the original and decides that we need it pandered to us as simply as possible, and providing much needed action and gore to keep the average viewer's attention. That was unnecissary. This was unnecissary. No one is that stupid. I thought this one was alright. Just alright. It did a huge disservice to the original, but it wasn't a bad movie. I don't think I'll ever watch it again, to be certain.
benloveshorror #6: benloveshorror - added 02/08/2011, 10:31 PM
"Reeve's pumped out as much gore and shock-scares as possible, which is the exact fucking opposite of what the original wanted to be."
Really? I like gore and shock-scares a lot better than a slow pace which I thought the original had. So I might like this one better than the original, because I have a short attention span. Hey, i didn't flunk out of college for nothing.
Ginose #7: Ginose - added 02/08/2011, 11:38 PM
Then you're probably going to prefer this to the original, but the pacing is pretty much he same, it just pumps it up as hard as possible. It feels like it was designed with you people (short attention spans) in mind, so it tries so hard to make sure enough is happening as to keep someone's attention so the story will keep constantly on your mind. I can't promise it works very well, but it didn't do much but piss me off. Can't promise you'll like it, but I'll say give it a shot if you didn't care for the original.
Chad #8: Chad - added 02/09/2011, 10:24 AM
There's like, three gory / "shock-scare" scenes in the entire movie... unless you count a kid cutting his finger or Abby having some blood on her chin as gory, which I don't. Your mileage may vary though. Also, I don't think that it's so much unsubtle here as it is "you've read the book and you've seen the original, of course you know the things they're hinting at." Were they unsubtle about the fact that Abby is actually a boy because of the numerous hints? Well, no, they never actually said it... but since you know what's going on, you catch those hints more than Joe Movie-watcher.
Ginose #9: Ginose - added 02/09/2011, 04:44 PM
I can't really agree with that either, though it may be part of it, mostly considering the fact that in this version there isn't even any indication that Abby is/was a boy at all (not your point, but I'm getting to it). Nothing aside from the rementioned line "I'm not a girl"... That's one of the things I felt was terribly insulting. Too much of the careful pacing and plot are ignored as to favor a more horr-heavy flavor that, frankly, the story just didn't need. Now, let's take those three (more or less) gore scenes in this one and compare it to the original film... which had one (that this one had to pump the fuck out of, as well) and for all the right reasons. Something I found utterly unbearable about this style was it's focus of the vampiric aspects of Abby. This made her truly faithful in adaptation at points, but at others made her a hell-beast. Doesn't this kind of counter-act her necissity for a Renfield? I mean, she seemed utterly capable whenever she needed be, as opposed to Eli, who seemed sickly when unfed and could only hunt through her cunning, making a human partner seem much more logical. Abby was scaling walls, decapitating and leaping from cheers before mauling prey. It all seemed so... silly. Like there needed to be more drive to prove that this was a vampire film rather then just accepting it as face value.
I say it again, this was a good movie, but an utterly unecissary remake. It idn't create anything new and just took away things that made the original a fantastic film. I would go so far as to say that Reeve's probably loved the source material, but it still felt like he had to dumb it down so Joe Movie-watcher and his bubbly-blonde girlfriend could enjoy it.
bluemeanie #10: bluemeanie - added 02/10/2011, 04:19 PM
I just felt Reeves did a better job of creating an atmosphere in this film -- the whole thing -- music, costumes, cinematography. I do think the original is better, on the whole, but this one was damned close. And it was better than the original in some key areas.
Ginose #11: Ginose - added 02/10/2011, 05:04 PM
I think the atmosphere Reeve's created was sincere, but I don't think it was better. It felt alot more attached to the chracters then I cared for, but, as I said, this one did have it's merits. Where do you believe this one suceeded the original, Billy Ray?
Greg Follender #12: Greg Follender - added 02/12/2011, 09:42 PM
I don't know... why even remake a film if you can't really contribute anything of any measurable weight to the original?

This felt like a well-made afterthought to me.
Pretty and well paced in many spots... but it really didn't add significantly to the original's bleak but touching central tableau... not to mention that the casting wasn't even in the same stratosphere, in my humble opinion. Everything great in this presentation was either already present in the original film or built upon ideas already explored there. Much of the added drama and shock value further detracted from the brilliant understatement of the original as well.

I won't say this is a bad film... on the contrary, it is a very entertaining movie. If it existed in a vacuum, I'd be a BIG fan... unfortunately, it doesn't.

Unnecessary. Completely unnecessary.

bluemeanie #13: bluemeanie - added 02/14/2011, 12:17 PM
As someone who thinks all remakes are unnecessary, I agree with you. However, despite that opinion, it was nice to see the same material through the lens of another filmmaker. I found it to be different enough.
bluemeanie #14: bluemeanie - added 02/14/2011, 12:17 PM
And I thought the little boy in the remake was better than the little boy in the original.
Greg Follender #15: Greg Follender - added 02/14/2011, 11:22 PM
Hmm... have to disagree with you there, Meanie... but to each his own, I suppose, on actor preference.
I guess I just didn't find it nearly different enough to warrant it's existence outside the superior original.

But it could have been faaar worse... I'll give you that;-)
grain of sand #16: grain of sand - added 02/15/2011, 11:19 PM
I hate that they made her look like a monster when she was killing, but the caretakers story was better and that car scene was out of this world great.. I still think the original had a better atmosphere and some sort of mystical tone that this failed to attain. 7/10
George Snow #17: George Snow - added 03/10/2011, 12:17 AM
Moretz was excellent as always. The story was fantastic. But, it was long and drawn out. I kept wanting to turn it off. Then something good would happen. The crap for five minutes, then a good piece. If they cut about 25 minutes of the useless fat, this would have been perfect. That girl is gonna be a star. She just made a guest appearance on 30 Rock last week.
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