¨Do you think there`s such a thing as evil? ¨
Many viewers might consider Let Me In as one of the best films of the year because it is such a great horror-romantic film, but that`s only because they probably haven`t seen the original Swedish version entitled Lat den ratte Komma (Let the Right One In) directed by Tomas Alfredson back in 2008. Both these films are based on the novel of the same name written by Ajvide Lindqvist. The original Swedish film is just breathtaking and an absolutely brilliant film which I didn`t think needed to be remade. It is one of the best horror movies of the decade and without a doubt the best vampire film. When I heard it was going to be remade I was a little disappointed, but I still wanted to see how they went about it. Let Me In is actually a decent remake, but not nearly as great as the original. If you haven`t seen either of these films then I recommend you watching the original one, but if you don`t like having to read subtitles then I guess the American version is worth your time. The story is so powerful that it works in both these films, but of course I already knew what was going to happen so I wasn`t all that blown away by this film as I had been with the original one. Lindqvist actually collaborated with the screenplay of the original film while Matt Reeves adapted the screenplay for the American version. Matt Reeves (known for his direction and collaboration with J.J. Abrams in Cloverfield) directs this film by trying to stay as true as possible to the original film. Many of the scenes are similar in both films and the storyline is pretty much the same with a few minor changes.
As for the plot goes the names of the main characters have been changed. Eli is now Abby (played by Chloe Moretz) and Oskar is Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee). The story which took place in a Swedish suburb now takes place in New Mexico. Owen is a twelve year old kid who spends a lot of time alone in his house due to the fact that his parents are getting a divorce. He talks to himself a lot and dreams of getting revenge on the kids who bully him at school (who instead of tormenting him to squeal like a pig like they did in the original film, in Let Me In they torment him with telling him to cry like a girl). Owen plays with his knife imagining he is fighting off Kenny (Dylan Minnette), the bully from school, by stabbing a tree and repeating the words cry like a girl. One night in his quiet neighborhood a twelve year old girl moves in to the apartment next door along with who seems to be his father. The girl is Abby (Chloe Moretz) and the guardian`s name is never mentioned (played by Richard Jenkins). We soon find out that Abby is not your normal girl, her guardian actually is a serial killer who drains the blood of his victims in order to feed Abby. The problem is that Jenkins`s character is getting old and sloppy and he is a bit unsuccessful in his few tries. The police officer who is investigating the murders is played by Elias Koteas. We aren`t given his name either, because the central theme of the film revolves around Owen and Abby`s friendship. They somehow discover that they need each other despite their differences.
This film works because it stays true to the original story and central theme of the novel dealing with the bond that Owen and Abby form. It is such a powerful story that raises questions about love, friendship, and morality. Owen loves Abby, but is she evil? That is a question he will have to find an answer to himself. I loved the two kid actors in the Swedish version, and the two American actors are equally as good. Chloe Moretz is just fantastic as Abby. She makes us fall in love with her despite the fact that she is a bloodsucking vampire. There seems to be a sadness and innocence in her face that also captivates Owen. It has been a great year for Chloe as an actress. She was also so good in Kick-Ass one of the most entertaining films of the year. These two roles are very different from each other and Chloe Moretz has proven she belongs in Hollywood. What I really didn`t enjoy as much as the original film was the cinematography. The Swedish film was beautifully shot by Hoyte Van Hoytema (who recently worked in The Fighter) and the scenery was just spectacular. I remember being awed by the white snow contrasting with the dark red blood, especially in the first murder scene. In Let Me In the cinematography (Greg Fraser) just wasn`t as breathtaking. I still think this is a decent remake, but I have to stick with the original. The story just moved and shocked me at the same time, but I already knew what I was getting into in this film so it wasn`t as surprising. If you haven`t seen any of these two movies, see the original Swedish film first, but if you don`t like subtitles Let Me In isn`t a bad choice either.