May 20, 2011

Rabid Rewind: "Let Me In"

Let Me In
starring Kodi Smith-McPhee, Chloe Moretz, Elias Koteas, and Richard Jenkins
written and directed by Matt Reeves
based on the book by John Ajvide Lindqvist

Matt Reeves is responsible for one of the most unenjoyable movies I've seen in the last ten years, Cloverfield. Now, he's responsible for one of my very favorite movies of the last ten years, Let Me In.

I've already reviewed the novel written by John Lindqvist, and even the original Swedish film adaptation, so I don't feel I need to dive too deeply into the setup. Long story, short: A bullied young boy befriends a new girl in his tenement who turns out to be a vampire. With me so far? Good.

Two things stick out for me with regards to this movie. For one, the casting is pretty much perfect. Cody Smit-McPhee (The Road), plays Oscar, a tormented boy living with his divorcee mother and feels utterly alone and helpless. Then, there is Chloe Moretz (Kick-Ass) who plays Eli, a mysterious girl who moves into the tenement with who Oscar presumes is her father. The interplay between these two characters, while not quite as enigmatic as in the Swedish film is incredibly gripping. To further bolster the cast is Elias Koteas as the detective investigating the string of murders in the area, Richard Jenkins as the man Eli lives with and acts essentially as an errand boy for her. For the two kids to hold their own in scenes with such accomplished character actors like Koteas and Jenkins is truly remarkable. I wonder if these kids will continue to steal scenes in the future or if they'll disappear from the limelight like other promising child actors--anyone heard from Haley Joel Osmant lately?

The second thing that stick out for me is the omitted subject matter that didn't make it from the book to the film. There is a teenage boy who is not touched upon, and the middle-aged drunkards are nearly non-existent, only touched upon in one key scene compared to the fully-fleshed subplot of the book. And the relationship between Oscar and his father is relegated to a single scene involving a phone call. The movie is even more streamlined than the Swedish adaptation, and the weird thing was that it didn't bother me in the least. The story is condensed to the most important core elements and winds up becoming all the better a movie for doing it.

I can't even remember now what my favorite horror film of 2010 was before I saw Let Me In. All I know is that this is my pick as the top film of the 2010, now. Watch it.


  1. So glad you enjoyed it that much. So did I. :) I liked the original quite a lot, but I thought it was a bit too cold and somewhat soulless. The remake, on the other hand, was more subtle, visually slicker and thoroughly captivating. Absolutely loved it! It's my favorite horror movie of 2010, and No.3 on my TOP 20 Movies of 2010. Great review! :)

  2. glad to hear the director did good with this one. still must read the book.

  3. I've seen the Swedish movie but not this one yet. Nor have I read the book, though both are on my to do list. Thanks for the review.

  4. Nebular - "Soulless": a friend who saw that version used the same word. Weird. I liked it, but I think there's something to not have to read subtitles, and a more condensed plot, that made the American version highly entertaining.

    Velvet - Yes. You must.

    Ryan - I would say read the book first if you get a chance, since you've already watched the Swedish version. It's a great book, but some stuff is dubiously absent in the American version--even more than the Swedish one.