Review: Let Me In
You have to invite me in.
It’s the film that didn’t need to be made. Let the Right One In was a very good horror film and much more compelling than Hollywood’s recent vampire output. The setting, mood and performances were excellent.
Despite some hesitation about its quality, Let Me In truly is a very good film that’s as good as the Swedish version. I haven’t read the book so I can’t comment on how well the book it’s adapted from its source but tonally it feels very similar to its Swedish counterpart.
The biggest sense of disappointment with the film is that it does not do enough to create its own mark; it still feels as if it’s in the shadow of the original. However that does not take away from how good the film is, it only adds to the sentiment that the film didn’t have much more to add. Regardless it’s here and it’s very good.
The story concerns Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee) who is bullied by kids at school and has parents in the midst of a divorce. He sees Abby (Chloe Moretz) arrive at his apartment block at night, strikes up a friendship and later discovers that Abby is not quite what she seems.
This relationship is the fulcrum of the film and both characters have something to gain from it, whether its Owen’s need for acceptance and longing for a genuine, fulfilling relationship or Abby’s dependence on someone else to meet her ‘needs’.
Both actors do very well in their performances with Moretz having a slightly more difficult time in suggesting world weariness behind that ageless face. The best performance comes from the character known simply as Father (Richard Jenkins) who looks every bit the sad, slouching old man that’s been Abby’s helper for a very long time.
It’s a film that doesn’t shy away from violence whether it’s Owen’s confrontations with his bullies or Father’s attempts at gathering blood from unsuspecting victims (who all happen to be men). When the blood flows it gushes. It’s not tame and unlike some other vampire films it doesn’t leave much to the imagination.
There are a few problems with the film. The use of CG is sparing but still noticeable. I’m sure the ‘jerky’, unnatural effect of Abby’s movements was a good idea but it doesn’t look particularly ‘real’. The other is the music by Michael Giacchino and even though I’m a big fan his work seems a little invasive, underscoring scenes without having much of an effect. In some places it works very well but in others the visuals tell the story and the music interrupts.
Matt Reeves does a very respectable job with the story translating it with an American feel. It doesn’t pull away enough from it to feel that it’s better than the original. Visually it looks terrific; a car crash viewed from the backseat is brilliant in its conception and execution.
Perhaps the film needed more of Reeve’s stamp but it remains an engaging and personal story of standing up for yourself. It’s surprising how familiar some scenes felt even though I’ve not seen the original for some time. Nonetheless Let Me In is an invigorating and intelligent horror film.