‘Let Me In’ a refreshing vampire flick
Published: Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Updated: Tuesday, October 5, 2010 00:10
It's rare when a movie comes along that has the ability to keep its viewer's eyes glued to the big screen from beginning to end.
Such is the case with Matt Reeves' subtle, chilling vampire flick "Let Me In," based on the 2008 Swedish film "Let the Right One In," directed by Tomas Alfredson.
I wouldn't exactly call myself a fan of the Swedish original due to its weird, offbeat tone, but this mesmerizing remake translates extremely well into American cinemas.
The film stars Kodi Smit-McPhee ("The Road") as Owen, an awkward, troubled kid who is terribly bullied at school. His home life is also complicated due to the divorce that his parents are going through.
Everything seems a bit depressing in the life of this 12-year-old, that is, until Abby moves in next door.
The mysterious girl, played by the talented Chloe Moretz ("Kick-Ass"), is accompanied by an older guardian played by Richard Jenkins (Burn After Reading), who is thought to be the girl's father.
As the film carries on, a friendship blossoms between the two main characters, and Abby's true nature is uncovered, while the purpose of Jenkins' character is also revealed.
Reeves, who directed the documentary-style monster flick "Cloverfield" in 2008, incorporates fantastic, diverse cinematography into this film. Camera angles range from a first-person perspective to a more visceral guerilla-style that is featured in a memorable car wreck scene.
Atmosphere practically oozes out of every frame, and each shot was delicately constructed so the viewer can feel the dread and darkness of the film.
"Let Me In" was produced with great care and has a sense of style and flair that was missing from the original. This is especially evident when Abby is hungry and her primal side is let loose.
The score, by Academy Award-winning composer Michael Giacchino, is extremely well done and fits the tone of the film perfectly. Without being overbearing, the orchestral music helps to bring a sense of humanity to the film.
The two leads are more than capable of carrying the film and it is compelling to see their relationship form.
Forget the schmaltzy romantics of Edward and Bella.
These two preteens bring a real chemistry to the screen, especially when you consider the harrowing and horrific nature of Abby.
Themes of love and friendship are felt throughout the film as Owen studies "Romeo and Juliet" in class, and he often finds himself surrounded by couples outside school.
He is attracted to Abby, and his innocence paired with her evil is entertaining and, at times, very suspenseful.
Smit-McPhee brings a quietness to the camera that will captivate your attention. I found myself rooting for him in the scenes in which he encounters the bullies.
Moretz gives a powerhouse performance, and small details, like her handwriting and predator-like tactics, give you the feeling the vampire she plays has been around for awhile.
Simply put, "Let Me In" is one of the best vampire films to be released in a long time, even without its source material.
Not only is it one of the best horror movies of the year, it is one of the best movies of the year, period.