Let Me In
So an American remake of a great foreign film didn’t suck. It was bound to happen, with Hollywood trying so very often. So now what? I’m not even sure what to make of it, or where to go from here. As the truth is now, Matt Reeves has made a very good, and satisfying vampire film. For all you that think you’ve been vampired-out, make room for something that isn’t dosed in cheesy teenage sexuality, or overt, HBO-style hedonism. This is an entry into the genre that deserves to be seen. Not as much as the Swedish original, Let the Right One In (Låt den rätte komma in), of course. I mean, what true cinephile would ever dare say “America did it better?”
Reeves chose tone, and atmosphere over action and plot. Don’t get me wrong, there are few fiendish moments that show off some pretty creepy special effects. But it’s all about mood here. And it’s a dark, gloomy creepy mood. I think I use the phrase, ‘the director couldn’t have asked for a better cast,’ quite a bit. But it’s quite literally true here. Abby, the vampiress that the film focuses on, is played by the nearly ubiquitous Chloe Moretz, who performs admirably. Her sociopath love interest is played by Aussie actor Kodi Smit-McPhee (who’s agent seems to want him cast in the bleakest roles possible), who wowed everyone in John Hillcoat’s The Road. Abby is looked after by an older sociopath/pedophile played by Richard Jenkins, and the small town cop bent on solving the gruesome murders done in the name of feeding Abby is played by Elias Koteas. Not too shabby Mr. Reeves.
The filmmakers did a great disservice to itself by promoting the film as ‘from the director of Cloverfield (this may explain the lack of enthusiasm noted at the box office opening weekend), as this film is light years ahead in sophistication of the pedestrian monster flick. While it’s easy to say that a film rides on the performances of it’s main characters, I have to opine that while Moretz and Smit-McPhee are remarkable, the real VIP of the whole thing is Reeves himself, who manages to create a disturbingly dark and melancholic world. Yes, he’s aided by setting the film in the 80s, a dark, dark time for everyone. But in Reeves realm, it’s unclear which world is more brutal: close to a vampire and bloody killings, or in a school full of bullies and ignored in a home going through a divorce. Take your pick. Just be sure to check out this film. After you’ve watched Låt den rätte komma in, of course.