Friday, February 24, 2012

Let Me In

Directed by: Matt Reeves

Release Date: 2010

Finally, I watched the remake of the original Swedish film, Let the Right One In, which was released in 2008.

As a skeptic of American foreign film remakes, I started watching this incarnation with much scrutiny, making comparisons from the original. Even though I was able to enjoy this based on its own merits, there were some aspects of the movie I couldn't help but criticize.


Story here didn't change from the original other than the characters' names: Owen meets Abby in the courtyard of their apartment complex. She warns him, "We can't be friends," in which Owen shrugs this information off nonchalantly. We learn she's a vampire but this knowledge is never pronounced and shoved in our faces. Instead, there's much showing how she lives rather than telling us. What results is an American nuanced horror picture - which was practically a shot for shot remake of the original. This fact isn't necessarily a bad trait, but rather makes this horror fan wonder, "Then why remake it if you aren't going to do anything different?"

The soundtrack.
This film was set in the eighties (just like the original) and as much as I adore the music of the times, the constant pop soundtrack was distracting from the movie. I would have preferred a movie score without using artists' songs of the decade.

The pool scene.
I was absolutely captivated by the pool scene and bullies in the original picture. When I saw the bullies in this version, I relished watching their fate. Except in this version, the scene was anticlimactic. I understand the director wanted to create his own vision, but this scene could have been Great and instead fell flat. I guess I'm just a gore-hound.

The actors/performances.
Chloe Grace Moretz was fantastic. The quietness she added to Abby's character was spot on. I did, however, think her understated performance was a hair too forced, but only slightly. The boy, Kodi Smit-McPhee, provided a believable performance that wasn't bothersome but I liked the original Swedish boy much better. Richard Jenkins is king! He was completely under-utilized here which was disappointing. Why bring in such a phenomenal actor for a bit part like this? I felt teased. Elias Koteas as cop (and if you look it up on IMDB.com, the voice of the father) was throwaway. Why not place an unknown in this role if he barely has any dialouge in the film as a whole? That's just me. Finally, Dylan Minnette as Kenny, the bully, was horrifying to see. His light blue eyes were cold and piercing every time he encountered meek Owen. He was so believable, I forgot he was Jack Shephard's son on the last season of Lost. I will be following this boy's career, that's for sure.

Overall, the film didn't resonate with me as much as the original did. This is the case with most American remakes in which the message becomes lost in translation even if it's exactly the same movie (example, [REC] and Quarantine). I was left feeling indifferent and with the strongest urge to re-watch the original. I recommend this incarnation but with a much higher preference for the original.