Monday, 4 October 2010

Let Me In


Dir: Matt Reeves (Cloverfield)
Cast: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Chloë Grace Moretz, Richard Jenkins, Elias Koteas
UK/USA, 2010

Seen: October 1, 2010 at Rainbow

Reason to see: I'm a vampire film completist.

Before even getting to see Let Me In, I went through a few several changes of heart on how I felt about it being made at all. My first reaction to hearing about an English language remake of the glorious 2008 Swedish vampire film Let the Right One In / Låt den rätte komma in was confusion and disappointment. Why remake something that is so fantastic on it's own? Then I heard it was going to be an adaptation of the book as opposed to a straight film to film adaptation, which got me interested as that could prove to be show us something different on the story. But then the trailer came out and it was clear the visual style and even specific scenes felt straight out of the original, which got me leery again. Then reviews of praise started pouring in, and I was back to being confused. That's quite a journey before even seeing the film - and it would have been longer as I had hoped to read the original book but ended up not having the film.

The film is centred on the unlikely young friendship of Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee of The Road) and Abby (Chloë Grace Moretz of Kick-Ass). Set in an environment full of bullies and distanced adults, a void of support and direction is a clear marker in Owen's life when mysterious new neighbour Abby comes along. An awkward friendship begins as the film twists and turns down dark paths of relationships, coping and survival. We do get a consistently creepy tone, strong performances and an uncomfortable tale of friendship and vampires, but we don't get much new to learn from or look at in this remake.

I always try to look at the things from an optimistic point of view, but I just wasn't able to get there for this film. I didn't like any of the changes made. The adults are almost universally people that aren't deep enough to care about, it's added a sense of voyeurism which feels odd and uncomfortable giving the young characters. But, the change I didn't like the most was that the violence and gore are ramped up and sustained longer periods of time - which really is unnecessary, and was one of the true beauties of the original which was disturbing but never felt excessive. This film lands the violence somewhere between the two. The soundtrack clearly sets the film in the 80s and is sure to provide nostalgia but it felt a little too obvious to me.

Overall, this English language version is very well executed in terms of tone, style and tension but it doesn't trump the original on any front and is so similar to Let the Right One In / Låt den rätte komma in that I'm mystified at the remake being done at all.

Shannon's Overall View:
I get anything more from this version over the original
I'd watch it one more time for comparison curiosity
I'd recommend watching the original Swedish film Let the Right One In / Låt den rätte komma in

7 minutes of preshow including 2 commercials and 3 previews: Faster, The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest and Black Swan

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© Shannon Ridler, 2010


Suzie Ridler said...

Sounds like it can't really compete which doesn't surprise me, the original was so good! The voyeurism does surprise me, creepy. Addition excessive violence? What a shame. Thanks for letting me know Shannon, I think this is one I will pass, at least in the theatre.

Dempsey Sanders said...

The original was good, I'm more intriuged now knowing its more of an adaptation of the book rather than a film to film, but will probably wait to see this on DVD rather than a cinema ticket. Great review

Shannon the Movie Moxie said...

Yeah, the voyeurism is creepy - very creepy. That aspect sure makes it a little different at least.

Dempsey - for clarification this version is based on the book *and* the screenplay for the Swedish film. Originally I had heard it was going to be straight from the book, but sometime this year that must have changed. Sorry for any confusion there & I'm glad you enjoyed the review!

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