Let Me In, the remake of the fantastic Swedish horror film Let The Right One In. Both are based on the novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist and both offer a new and refreshing take on the whole vampire theme. When it was announced that director Matt Reeves (Cloverfield), would be remaking the film, fans of the original were up in arms. To them, Let The Right One In was as perfect as horror movies get and they saw no need for it to be remade. Nevertheless, Let Me In came to fruition and I’m happy to say, the results are pretty positive. I was on the fence after my first viewing but upon repeat viewings, I can safely say that I really enjoyed the film.
Following closely to the story of the original film, and the novel, Let Me In tells the story of a young boy named Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee). The year is 1983 and Owen lives in Los Alamos, Mexico with his mother. Neglected by his divorcing parents, Owen is the subject of severe bullying and torment at school. He really doesn’t have any friends and spends most of his days alone, that is until he meets Abby (Chloe Moretz). Abby is a 12 year old girl who moves in next door. The two quickly start to bond but Owen realizes that something isn’t right with Abby, she’s not like the other kids. Even stranger is the man Abby lives with, who is supposed to be her father but like Owen, we assume that there’s something not completely right with him either. For fear of revealing too much of the plot, I’ll stop there. That’s the general outline though and although it may not seem like much, it’s a pretty darn good story and it gets better as the film goes on.
Firstly, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out the fantastic acting found here. Kodi Smit-McPhee and Chloe Moretz are both excellent in their roles as Abby and Owen. Both of them have very bright futures ahead of them and both are extremely talented. Moretz you may know from Kick-Ass, where she played Hit Girl and Smit-McPhee you will probably know from The Road, where he played Boy.
They deal with some very mature subject matter here and given how young they are, they do a great job. Moretz does steal the show, but Smit-McPhee is able to hold his own against her. He switches through emotions with ease and is talented far beyond his years. As for Moretz, she’s flawless and nails the part of Abby, giving a performance equal to her role in Kick-Ass. The two also exhibit great chemistry and produce a truly touching relationship, thanks to their striking performances.
Elias Koteas and Richard Jenkins take on the adult roles in the film and both do admirable work. Jenkins doesn’t have many lines but his expressions say it all. He conveys enough emotion and feeling through his body language and facial expressions and it all culminates in a brilliant performance, muted yet brilliant. I should also note that Dylan Minnette, in his role as the school bully, takes a simple child bully and turns him into one of the scariest characters in the film. As for Koteas, he’s usually known for his reliable work and this film doesn’t change that.
Reeves effectively directs the film as every scene carries that eerie darkness and ominous tone that you’d expect. Perhaps this is due to Reeves’ deliberate pacing, but it does work. He stays true to the Swedish film also, preserving key scenes and following almost exactly along the lines of the original. A couple things were changed/removed here and there but overall, it’s very faithful. Greig Fraser lends Reeves a hand by providing some gorgeous cinematography that really captures the atmosphere that Reeves is going for. It’s a beautifully shot film. It’s definitely made with an American audience in mind but honestly, it doesn’t hurt the film.
So when all is said and done. Let Me In is a smart, sophisticated, beautiful and haunting thriller. A couple questionable changes that Reeves went for, and some poorly done CGI holds the film back from being great and perhaps on par with the original, but Let Me In is a strong effort and a film well worth seeing. Fans of the original may take issue with some of Let Me In‘s flaws more so than people who are new to it all, but it’s important to be able to judge a film on its own merits, and not be constantly comparing it to the original. And as its own film, Let Me In more than succeeds and gives audiences an intelligent and well made horror film, which is something not commonly seen these days.
When it comes to the Blu-Ray itself, it’s a fairly acceptable package. The special features are perhaps the weakest part with none of them really standing out. What we get is the following:
- Audio commentary with director Matt Reeves
- From the Inside: A Look at the Making of Let Me In
- Dissecting Let Me In (BD-exclusive)
- The Art of Special Effects
- Unrated deleted scenes
- Car crash sequence step-by-step
- Trailer gallery
- Poster gallery
The audio commentary with Matt Reeves is a fairly good listen. He’s an intelligent guy who knows what he’s talking about. He drops a few facts that most people probably wouldn’t know/realize about the film and he gives us a solid track. There’s also a video commentary in the form of the feature called Dissecting Let Me In, it complements the audio commentary well and both are worth checking out if you enjoyed the film. The only problem I had with the video one, which is a picture in picture, is that there isn’t a whole lot of content, a bit more would have been nice, especially since some of it is recycled.
The making of feature is another one of those run of the mill affairs. It’s fairly standard and coming in at around 15 minutes it really doesn’t do much for the film. Features like this really bug me. I always look forward to watching a good, in-depth, hour and a half making of feature. And some titles offer that, but too many titles these days skimp out and give you a crummy 15 minute behind the scenes feature that is essentially worthless. Obviously you’re going to watch it if you liked the film but just don’t expect much.
The only two remaining things that are worth your time are The Art Of Special Effects feature and the Car Crash feature. Both are short, but interesting enough to warrant a watch. The Car Crash scene in the film was a particularly neat scene so it was nice to see how they put it together. We get to see exactly how it was executed and pulled off, which is pretty cool to watch. As for The Art Of Special Effects, it’s a roughly 5 minute feature that shows us how some of the effects were put together.
Lastly, the Blu-Ray comes with a comic. The first issue of Dark Horse’s four part Crossroads miniseries. It serves as a prequel to the film.
Moving on from the special features, both the audio and video are very solid. The striking cinematography comes across beautifully and the clarity found here is often excellent, only suffering in a few scenes. The film is shot in a very appealing manner and it comes through well on the disc. Lighting is strong and detail, while better in some scenes than others, is still handled pretty well. Of course, the CGI effects that looked crummy in the film looks crummy here as well but that’s not the Blu-Ray’s fault.
As for the audio, when it picks up, it sounds real good. Screams, car crashes and other loud noises come through in a thunderous manner. Dialogue is crisp and never overshadowed. Michael Giacchino’s score sounds better than in theatres and appropriate effects come through perfectly to create the often haunting and chilling atmosphere.
I wasn’t sure what to expect going into Let Me In, but more or less I was pleased with what I got. The film offers some great performances, is beautifully shot and should keep fans of the original fairly happy. There were a couple parts of the film I was unhappy with but then again, there were a couple parts in the original that I felt needed some improvement, you can’t expect perfection. The film looks real nice on Blu-Ray as well and when you throw in some decent special features, you have a disc that’s easily worth the purchase. If you’re looking for a ‘different’ kind of horror film, check out Let Me In, I think you’ll enjoy what you find.
Movie Score: 4/5
Video Score: 3.5/10
Audio Score: 4/10
Special Features Score: 3/5
Overall Score: 3.5/5
Let Me In was released on Blu-Ray on February 1st, 2010