Let Me In

After watching, and enjoying very much, Tomas Alfredson’s fiercely original and stylish Swedish vampire film Let The Right One In, I groaned at the idea of an American remake. My groans increased when I heard that it was to be Matt Reeves directing. I utterly failed to understand why Cloverfield had any kind of buzz behind it; the overall impression it gave was of a hyperactive teenager pirating Roland Emmerich’s equally terrible Godzilla on a cheap camcorder. So, it’s fair to say that my expectations for this one weren’t especially high.

It comes as a very pleasant surprise, then, to find that this solemn, grim and very accomplished film stands as a worthy counterpoint to the original. I’d hesitate to call it better or worse; I think I prefer Chloe Moretz’s performance as the vampire Abby to Lina Leandersson’s because Moretz, a frighteningly talented young actress, evokes both sympathy and chills, and it’s always a pleasure to see great character actors such as Richard Jenkins and Elias Koteas on screen, but there are a few touches in the original that are absent here that I missed. So, swings and roundabouts.

Plotwise it’s pretty much the same as the original, albeit with an interesting shift in emphasis towards horror and away from the weirdly fairytale quality that Alfredson’s film had. I confidently predicted that the Grand Guignol setpiece of the swimming pool finale would be toned down in the remake, and I am pleased to say that I was incorrect; if anything, it’s even more brutal and uncompromising than the before.

It’s not done very well in America, perhaps because this is the polar opposite of your Twilights, but this is a serious, grown-up and often fascinating film, and shows that Reeves might yet become a director to be reckoned with.

 

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