I’m a huge Hammer horror fan. Let me get that out right away. I love the atmosphere of the films. I love the technicolor splashes of bright color and gory blood. I love the duo of Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing always in battle against each other. I love the way the studio pushed the envelope of gore and (even though I don’t condone it) the provocativeness of 50s, 60s, and 70s cinema. It just baffles me when watching the films today that they were rated X back then. Okay, I’m getting off-subject.
When I saw that the re-established Hammer Films was going to be producing a remake / revision of the Swedish hit Let the Right One In, I was both hesitant and excited. I was hesitant because I loved Let the Right One In and my thoughts immediately went to all the bad Americanized remakes of other classic foreign films. I was also not thrilled when I heard they had changed the title to Let Me In. Obviously, I was excited that it was the first Hammer horror movie to be released in theaters in over 30 years…and it was a vampire film!
Let Me In tells the story of “twelve-year old Owen [who] is viciously bullied by his classmates and neglected by his divorcing parents. Achingly lonely, Owen spends his days plotting revenge on his middle school tormentors and his evenings spying on the other inhabitants of his apartment complex. His only friend is his new neighbor Abby, an eerily self-possessed young girl who lives next door with her silent father. A frail, troubled child about Owen’s age, Abby emerges from her heavily curtained apartment only at night and always barefoot, seemingly immune to the bitter winter elements. Recognizing a fellow outcast, Owen opens up to her and before long, the two have formed a unique bond. When a string of grisly murders puts the town on high alert, Abby’s father disappears, and the terrified girl is left to fend for herself. Still, she repeatedly rebuffs Owen’s efforts to help her and her increasingly bizarre behavior leads the imaginative Owen to suspect she’s hiding an unthinkable secret.”
Cloverfield director Matt Reeves had his work cut out for him when he decided to head this movie up. He made it very clear from the beginning that his version of Swedish writer John Ajvide Lindqvist’s novel, Låt den rätte komma in, would be based on a combination of the book and the original movie. I would have to say that he did a pretty good job of staying loyal to the original movie at least. I’ve never read the book, so I can’t be a judge of that. Reeves makes the story and plot easy to understand the whole way through. I only really have two complaints. One is that it might be a little to obvious what is going on. My memories of the original focus on how things were a little more shrouded in mystery and not spelled out for you. My second problem is a very big omission in the character of Abby that is revealed in the original film. People who have seen the original Swedish version will know what I’m talking about and will be waiting for this visual revelation. All I can say is don’t hold your breath.
I think I love this movie because I can relate to the character of Owen. He’s a weird kid who doesn’t really fit in at his school. He’s always getting tormented by a group of classmates and he’s lonely. He wants a friend he can rely on and talk to. I was the same way when I was his age. Kodi Smit-McPhee perfectly captures the role.
I’m almost positive that Chloë Grace Moretz is going to need therapy later in life. After playing the character of Hit Girl in Kick-Ass, she moves on to playing a 12-year old vampire that has to kill viciously whenever she gets hunger pangs. Moretz definitely hits the nail on top of the head in the role of Abby. Her transformation from sweet and innocent to rabid and violent is beautifully achieved. You actually sympathize with her plight.
The time period of the film is brilliantly captured as well. You literally feel like you’re in the 80s while watching it. It’s like the movie was made in the time-period and after sitting on a shelf for two decades was finally put out. I love the Empire Strikes Back pajamas and KISS “Destroyer” shirt that are obvious homages to the era. I had that KISS Destroyer shirt!
The cinematography was executed well. For the most part, everything was dark and dreary which perfectly captures the melancholy mood of the film. I do wish, however, that they would have used close-up or bouncy shots for the vampiric killing scenes. The CGI they used for that and her climbing scenes were very badly done and jerky.
As stated above, the finale of the movie is effected badly because of the lack of the major revelation from the original version. It does still pack a punch when Abby confronts Owen’s bullies off-screen while we only get to see and hear the bloody outcome. The actual closing of the film is very romantic and puts a smile on your face even though you know it shouldn’t.
Let Me In is a satisfying and dark coming-of-age story when it’s all said and done. It deals with (in a very extreme way) every child’s need for love, attention, acceptance, and loyalty. It’s not a traditional horror film or vampire movie. It does take traditional aspects of vampire films but uses them in a much more emotional way as plot devices. If you’re looking for something like Blade, 30 Days of Night, or the likes you’ve got the wrong film.
Source: Yahoo! Movies