Let Me In

Director: Matt Reeves (2010)
Starring: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Chloe Moretz, Richard Jenkins
Find it: IMDB, Amazon

Thankfully the only thing dumbed down by the Let The Right One In remake is the title. The moniker is clunky and a bit silly, but thankfully doesn't portend the thorough shittiness one might expect from this movie. Its biggest crime, as you might expect, is merely an unavoidable but constantly pervasive sense of pointlessness.

Owen (McPhee) is an unhappy child. His parents' marriage has broken up and he is routinely terrorised by bullies at school. And the weather's always crappy, which is bound to put a downer on anyone. Bonding over a rubik's cube, he meets Abby (Moretz) a kooky young girl who enjoys walking barefoot in the snow and shouting at her useless guardian (an almost unrecognizable Jenkins). But Owen's new girlfriend is hiding a secret. No, she's not a purple-haired superhero; the girl's a vampire.

But you know all that. Because you've seen Let The Right One In. Like the Hollywood Quarantine to Spain's [REC], Let Me In is a respectful, faithful piece that - in theory - is everything you'd want from a modern horror movie. The problem being, you don't know where the original stops and the remake begins. It's hard to praise a movie like Let Me In or Quarantine when the template is there for all to see. Let Me In is almost a scene-for-scene remake with improvements made only on a superficial level.

The things Let Me In does better than The Right One (wait for it, there's a King Pun payoff in the last paragraph) are technical type things. So Not-Daddy's serial killings are better, Abby is scarier, Owen is weirder and the crap CGI cats are gone. However, I actually liked the crap CGI cats. The scene in which the woman is attacked by cats was one of the best things about Let The Right One In. Every movie should have a scene in which a woman is attacked by crap CGI cats. Let Me In has no such scene.

Nevertheless, it's an eminently watchable piece. The performances are all very good - particularly McPhee and Hit Girl. Professional That Guy Elias Koteas and Richard Jenkins bring yet more gravitas to the already heavily loaded table. Director Matt Reeves does a great job in the directorial chair. It's just a shame he chose to lend his talents to such an overtly unnecessary flick.

Let Me In is a good start to the re-emerging Hammer brand. It's a very good piece, and if its subtitled predecessor didn't exist, I'd probably give it 5/5 stars. This is a story worth telling, make no mistake. But if you're going to feed just one vampire love story to your DVD player, please make sure you Let The Right One In.


  1. But it IS dumbed down. Eli was a castrato, Abby is just a girl who is now a vampire so the whole "I'm not a girl" thing is made simpler and the relationship to the "non-father" paedophile makes even less sense. Also "Let Me In" just has stereotypical American high school bullies, amped-up gore to please the masses, Abby is now a jerky CGI monkey vampire, and the swimming pool scene is much weaker. But, yes, the only thing that needed to be changed was the cat scene, i.e. it needed to be done better not left out entirely.

  2. Dr Blood, you know what? Everything you say is bullshit. Sorry about that, but it's true. The truth you refuse to believe in is this: the remake surpasses the original on almost every level.

  3. I think you've got this about right, Joel. I actually think that "Let Me In" is actually the technically superior film, but it also lacks any real purpose.

  4. I guess by 'not dumbed down', I meant that it manages to keep the emotional core without going over the top and turning it into 'Twilight'.

    I mean, it's slicker and will do more for the masses, but it's still recognizably 'Let The Right One In'. Which is also what makes it pointless. D'oh. Cheers all.

  5. @Nebular - try backing up your juvenile insults with some facts next time or try watching some more films with subtitles. I know how you Americans hate that. :P

  6. Dr Blood, LOL!:D First of all, I'm not an American. Secondly, I watch ALL the films with subtitles, much to your surprise.

    You're so overreacting, dude. Are you always so mean to people that disagree with you? That's so selfish. Now you've been crowned Dr. Blood the grumpy, self-centered egoist, who has zero respect for other people's opinions. Based on your attitude, I doubt have any friends in real life.

    Joel, sorry about this argument. It has nothing to do with you and your "Let Me In" review.

  7. @ Nebular - "Dr Blood, you know what? Everything you say is bullshit." Yeah, right. What reaction do you expect to that? Hearts and flowers? Get a job, George, and buy yourself some manners.

  8. Yeah, and then I said I'm sorry, but now... I actually don't. Just learn to appreciate honesty, Dr. Grumpy.

    And you're talking me about manners?! LOL! You're so rude, it's unbelievable! Yes, I said 'bullshit', but your reaction was TOO arrogant.

    Dr. Blood: "You are just a common, ignorant, pleb with no taste or discernment in movies whatoever. I bet you really loved "Sucker Punch" which you raved about constantly too. Idiot."

    Don't worry about me, I have a great job. ;) Obviously, your job is to be rude to people that disagree with you.

    I'm done with you now. GOODBYE!

  9. @Nebular - Good riddance! I hope you have great success getting your obvious bipolar disorder treated.

  10. I loved the remake, despite some less-than-perfect CGI. That said, the original is my favorite "foreign" film of the last 10 years. With the exception of the CGI cat scene, I think LET THE RIGHT ONE IN is a perfect film (I don't *hate* the cat scene -- LOL at your line about how every movie should have such a scene, BTW -- but I do think it's the only less-than-perfect moment in the movie).