Every so often an American remake of an outstanding foreign film works. "Insomnia" and "The Vanishing" are two such films, as is the recently released "Let Me In." Inspired by the Swedish film "Let the Right One in," director Matt Reeves ("Cloverfield") creates a touching horror thriller that is definitely on a par with its predecessor.
Watching "Let Me In" is a déjà vu experience in that the tone and story are remarkably similar to the original version. The central character is a 12-year-old boy named Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee) whose life is insufferable. His parents are in the throes of a divorce and he's sadistically bullied at school. A girl named Abby (Chloë Moretz) moves in next door with her "father" (Oscar nominee Richard Jenkins) and the two forge a friendship based on their outcast statuses.
Abby's situation is a tad more severe than Owen's because she's a vampire. Her father sneaks out at night to procure fresh blood while the local cop (super-savvy Elias Koteas) is hot on his trail. When Owen witnesses Abby's first kill the victim reaches out to him for help, but he closes the door and lets Abby have her way with her prey.
"Let Me In" is not your typical vampire flick. Charismatic character actors Jenkins and Koteas give great performances that complement the brilliant work of the two young thespians whose chemistry is perfection. Beautifully shot during dark, snowy nights and in dimly lit claustrophobic rooms, the film consistently feels ominous and foreboding. Let's just say, "Let Me In" makes "Twilight" and "True Blood" look downright cheesy.
I'm not a huge fan of the vampire genre. Frankly, I don't grasp the appeal. But this honorable remake is a stunningly crafted film about emotional turmoil and difficult life choices. In its own creepy way, "Let Me In" makes sense.
— Pam Nadon