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.