Toronto Review & Video: Matt Reeves' Outstanding 'Let Me In'
by Alex Billington
September 11, 2010
One of the most heavily debated films of this year has to be Let Me In, which is Cloverfield director Matt Reeves' new take on John Ajvide Lindqvist's vampire tale Let the Right One In, that was brilliantly adapted in 2008 by Swedish director Tomas Alfredson. I'm a huge fan of the original film and I was truthfully a bit worrisome going into this, but despite all my fears, Reeves has pulled it off. I was stunned to discover that Let Me In is a beautifully dark and superb film that is actually on par with Alfredson's Let the Right One In. Believe it. This is one American remake is just as worthwhile as the original, in every way - it's that good.
Before anyone goes off on this for being a remake, it is Reeves' own interpretation, and yes the structure is very similar to the original film, but he borrowed both from that script and the novel, plus a little bit of his own personal ideas. Let Me In is set in Los Alamos, New Mexico (near where they used to test atom bombs, but that doesn't play into the story), a small, quiet snowy town similar to the Swedish town from the original movie. Chloe Moretz plays the vampire Abby in this, Richard Jenkins wonderfully plays her elder caretaker, and Kodi Smit-McPhee plays the unassuming young boy, renamed to Owen. And he does an incredible job.
After seeing Let Me In, I now truly believe that Reeves is the next big thing. I love his style, I love the way he uses sound in all of the scenes. The structure is similar to Let the Right One In, but it has all its own unique perks. This is a perfectly Americanized (don't take that negatively) version of Let the Right One In, complete with all the little quirks that make it fit into our culture, as if the story was perfectly re-designed to fit Los Alamos at that time. My only minor complaints have to do with Moretz as a vampire, mainly that I thought Reeves pushed her transformation a bit too far, although that might been because he wanted to put a more unique stamp on his version to differentiate it from the original movie. Aside from those issues, I loved it.
There's such an immense amount of depth to the characters and the story in this, almost even more than the Swedish film; it's definitely not an over-simplified Hollywood remake by any means. Reeves and Hammer Films deserve a lot of praise for fighting the system and keeping true to the integrity of the story, including keeping the kids the proper age and making this as completely brutal and R-rated as it needed to be. This is no "sparkly" vampire film for tweens, it's bloody and dark and nearly perfect in every way. He even develops the other bully characters more and let's Owen's story build with more depth than in Let the Right One In.
I can't praise the film enough. See it just to hear Michael Giacchino's phenomenal score (which I hope wins an Oscar); see it to be amazed by Smit-McPhee, Jenkins, and Moretz's performances; see it for Matt Reeves' incredible direction; see it to be inspired by Greig Fraser's gorgeous cinematography; see it to relive a time when Now & Later's were the best candy around. There are so many great reasons to see Let Me In, they're all worth it, and I hope many people do go out and see it. If anything, in the end it will only introduce more people to Lindqvist's novel and Alfredson's original film, and that can only held build more appreciation and love for this wonderful coming-of-age love story. Reeves has captured the spirit of that story in its entirety.
You can also watch a video blog review that Peter Sciretta of SlashFilm and I recorded immediately after seeing Let Me In, so our thoughts are fresh and completely honest. The one thing I ask is that everyone who is concerned, please give this a chance, it deserves it. Let Reeves impress you as much as he impressed me, because this is one of the best "remakes" I've seen. He has "pulled it off," so to say, and Let Me In deserves to be seen for at least that reason. But again, there are many wonderful reasons to see this beyond just that.
Alex's Toronto Rating: 9 out of 10
Reader Feedback - 29 Comments
UAO alex *_* I truly hope they'll distribute it in italy! But i doubt it...
andrea on Sep 11, 2010
HELL YEAH!! I can't wait to see this film it's gonna be awesome.
CLAW on Sep 11, 2010
I seeing it for sure, the good out weights the bad here, two great child actors, a talented director, and a great composer. I'm there.
Xerxex on Sep 11, 2010
I don't think you can improve on a masterpiece. Pass.
Alboone on Sep 11, 2010
i think this will be a big fail. let me in is going to sink in box office hell
Jeff Spicoli on Sep 11, 2010
Meh. Bottom line: too soon and completely unnecessary for me. PASS.
zzz on Sep 11, 2010
Though I love the original, how many people do you know that have actually seen it? This is a fresh story to the majority of the American public and is going to crush the box office when it's released.
peloquin on Sep 11, 2010
A bit too soon, but this might actually be good. I'm still veeeery skeptical of Chloe as a vampire.
Cracky on Sep 11, 2010
May I remind everyone that this is premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival.....that means it is being released to NORTH AMERICA - that's America AND Canada. I hate it how America gets all the notice about stuff. Canada's right here and we're a massive country as well. Toronto rocks btw
Conrad The Great on Sep 11, 2010
look at all these trolls cant take that fact that it maybe better than original which was no masterpiece at all
nelson on Sep 11, 2010
I agree. the first one was good but i really didn't see what all the hype was about. Like i've said before, Reeves has already taken a dead genre (the monster movie) and brought it back to make a badass movie, Cloverfield. So, i have complete trust in Reeves.
John Stamos on Sep 11, 2010
This film will be brilliant. I am so freakin psyched at the positive reviews. It make same want to go and see this more. On a side note, I am also psyched to hear that Moretz voice changes. Remeber guys, in the original, when Eli licks the blood of the floor when Oskar cuts his hand, her voice get considerably deeper. I believe this has to do with the fact that she was a former boy and the fact that it almost matures her voice to a point where it would be if she were to have gone through a normal puberty. More so also I believe it comes form her being a vampire and it coming with the territory when feeding or attacking. I truly hope this gets awards. Its about time horror films get their due.
Ryan on Sep 11, 2010
Ok. cool, I was weary of this film at first, but your words seem right with a gut feeling I've been having about this picture. I still won't go in expecting anything, but thanks for the review, one of your better ones.
LINKFX on Sep 11, 2010
Glad to hear it was good. Looking forward to seeing it. I wish a great film festival like this would come to CT.
ProMovieBlogger on Sep 11, 2010
Thank God! I wanted to be everthing the original wasnt!
McWilly on Sep 11, 2010
If a lot of you "critics" indeed read the book, you either very much forget it, or simply didn't get it. Really you all should be more understanding of the different ways the original film can be interpreted. Because what Hakan is in relation to Eli, plays a significant role on what kind of movie you are watching. Since this remake, only explores one version of what relation he is to Abbey, it not only tells a story that wasn't in the novel but makes "his" movie a very much black and white horror movie. Even then, more black and black.
googergieger on Sep 11, 2010
Dear Hollywood, Get some original ideas! Money grubbing whores!!
jimmey on Sep 11, 2010
jimmey did you even read the review?
Xerxex on Sep 11, 2010
i love this site...but comments here are so bitchy. i am glad you liked it. cant freaking w8
mgazo on Sep 12, 2010
The other Swedish one was extremely stupid so I don't expect much from this
Jimmy Love on Sep 12, 2010
Up until your review, I hadn't paid much attention to Let Me In, but your enthusiasm has sold me on it Alex.
Hattori Hanzo on Sep 12, 2010
I've seen the orignal. That is all I need to see. Maybe I'll rent this one.
JimD on Sep 13, 2010
Ryan: That's because that wasn't Lina Leandersson's voice. According to Thomas Alfredson, she was dubbed, because she's soft spoken and her voice didn't fit Eli. I don't get the whole unnecessary thing most of the people says. This movie is everything Twilight isn't, a real vampire movie.
David on Sep 14, 2010
around 10:40 in the video you say that Abbys character over talks herself and it sounds like a man "batman" thats because the character based off Eli from the original is a male character.
Alexander on Sep 14, 2010
Why remake a recent movie? Couldn't they come up with their own ideas?
Wally on Sep 16, 2010
cant wait to watch this film. and at the same time will look for Let The Right One In and watch it. not to judge Let Me In but to have both versions of the novel. now i think i wanna read the novel too. thanks for the review
darius on Sep 19, 2010
I was really skeptical of this remake...but I guess I will give it a chance now :).
Oli on Sep 22, 2010
was pretty good. but i found the original alot creepier...and all around a better flick.
movies on Oct 8, 2010
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