To call “Let Me In” a remake wouldn’t be exactly fair. More like a re-envisioning of the Swedish cult hit “Let the Right One In,” this film ends up taking enough from its source material to make it worthwhile to fans of the original while putting enough of a new spin to engage new viewers.
Speaking of new viewers, be forewarned, it can get pretty brutal at times.
The fact Abby is apparently a prepubescent girl [played by Chloe Moretz from “Kickass”] doing the killing, is shocking. When Americans think of vampires today they think of pale Englishmen hiding their accents and fighting Disney Channel veterans. While this film isn’t a gore-fest, it absolutely takes the genre back to its roots.
As a result, it ends up being something horror fans will appreciate.
That doesn’t mean that the film is pure horror though. Wrapped inside the bathtub in dirty old blankets is a love story, possibly a coming of age tale as well. The fact that this is even recognizable amidst all the blood is a testament to the acting in this flick.
Eerily adorable at times, Moretz is able to turn into a cold-blooded killer in a heartbeat. This ability is what drives the film.
The innocence that keeps her and her misunderstood boyfriend, Owen [played b Kodi Smit-Mcphee] with her is also a huge part of the film. Seeing them doing the things most kids do when falling in love is touching. For a second, you forget how old Abby could be and that she’s a vampire. Through their conversations, you eventually realize how scarred she is how desperate she is for love. It’s a problem every vampire faces, but through the eyes of a child, it’s jarring.
Feeling Abby’s pain is only one part of the puzzle. Following a policeman [Elias Koteas] on a mysterious death case during the film, the crime-noir feel and early ’80s setting adds even more to the ambiance. The element of the chase, that Abby and Owen can’t and won’t be together forever, with the sounds of the Greg Kuhn Band and David Bowie guiding them on their journey, is a nice touch that the original film never had.
The fact that Owen’s mother’s face is never shown and his father is incapable of offering advice over the phone is a quiet way of saying this character is on his own here. Seeing him navigate through these times in his life is sometimes fun, but usually nostalgic. It’s easy to yell at him and ask him why he’s allowing himself to fall for a vampire, but haven’t we all looked back on our first crushes and thought how silly we were?
This just takes that whole concept to the next level.
Regardless of the sentiment and amount emotion this film has, it’s still the action that makes it as worthwhile as it is. Intense, particularly because of all the other things going on, some of these scenes will bewilder some viewers. Nevertheless, they are necessary to illustrate the point that Abby is a killing machine that cannot be stopped.
While more a hybrid of genres with the most prevalent being horror, Hammer Films and Overture Pictures have created a film faithful to the legacy of the original that manages to grow its own set of fangs in the process.
Dark, at times disturbing, “Let Me In” is a beautifully shot tale that will give you goose-bumps at all the right times.