When you remake films like The Last House on the Left and The Crazies and take the concepts and alter them just enough to make them true to the originals while trying to make them their own different movies, is an easier task because those movies came from the early 70s. I’m sure many of us weren’t around when the originals were released so when we get the modernized versions of each of these, we’re able to completely embrace them. So, imagine how freakin’ surprised I am at this moment to write, Let Me In stood up to and dare I say equaled its predecessor Let the Right One In. Damn, I liked it!
Let Me In tells the story of Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee), a skinny little kid who in 1983 is bullied, I should say terrorized at school by three kids that really walked out of that decade. Seriously, the lead kid could give William Zabka (The Karate Kid) a run for his money. Owen has an absent father and a mother who appears to be a functioning alcoholic and for the most part he is extremely alone in the world. That is until Abby (Chloe Moretz) and her father (Richard Jenkins) move into Owen’s apartment complex.We find out rather soon that Abby is not your everyday ordinary little girl; she is a vampire. A vampire who finished her Rubik-cube. She should be staked for that alone.
There are many reasons this version worked as well as the original, for one the styling is almost perfect. The film as previously mentioned took place in 1983, in Los Alamos, New Mexico. A place I had no idea existed and it looks like it gets really cold there. And someone high-five the wardrobe and continuity people because they were on it. Seriously, you really start to believe you are in 1983, with the obvious and not so obvious product placements and song choices. Like the original the film’s color palette was beautifully quiet. Let Me In also maintains the gritty feel of the Swedish version.
Let Me In was also perfectly cast. Why the hell doesn’t Richard Jenkins (Six Feet Under, Step Brothers ) have an Oscar yet? Jenkins in what is actually a smaller part of the manages to pull off creepy dude, whom you feel completely sorry for him quite well. The interactions between his character and Abby are both disturbing and sad at the same time. Kodi Smit-McPhee’s performance as Owen is almost spot on, the camera loves this kid, he is really pretty. Kodi really should have been a girl. While watching as Owen is violated by the pack of bullies you will have feelings of anger at his tormentors, you will also be a little angry at him for not sticking up for himself. Plus, Owen’s anger issues make him a little creepy as well. Hit Girl, not enough can be said about Hit Girl (Moretz). She is my new favorite kid actress, you go girl.
When I first heard they were doing a US version of Let the Right One In I immediately groaned at the idea. It was number two on the HorrorFatale.com’s 2008 list of best and worst, only ever so slightly beat out by The Orphanage. I mean why remake, the Swedish version was just fine. But, I tip a Loubitan to you Matt Reeves, you managed to give this version of the story it’s own voice and solid take. In other words, The Fatale gives Let Me In a See It!
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