By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) –
WhenI heard that they were making a remake of 2008’s Swedish vampire flick Let The Right One In, I was a little less than excited.When Cloverfield’s Matt Reeves was attached to direct, I was just confused.I liked Cloverfield well enough, but nothing about it said small, psychologically focused, or subtle.
Let Me In tells the story of a solitary young boy from a broken family who finds a friend in a strange young girl who recently moved in next door.A spate of ritualistic murders has begun in his town as well, and they may be related to his new friend and her father.
While subtle it ain’t, it certainly captured the spirit of the original and even takes it into some interesting new territory.The bullying of Owen, the young boy who is played capably by Kod Smit-McPhee, is some of the most psychologically harrowing put on film.You can feel his terror.
Chloe Moretz, who plays Abby, the new neighbor, also presents a darker edge.The young actress from the original plays Abby as a more sympathetic character, and you never really see the evil side that’s undoubtedly there.Moretz really ramps this up, increasing the Machiavellian manipulation while downplaying the seductive aspects of her character.Give that she’s twelve, that’s probably for the best.
I also thought it would be a long shot that Let Me In would top Let The Right One In’s excellent cinematography full of dour Swedish winter scenery.Well, it at least ties.Reeves pulls some straight-up impressive tricks out of his director’s hat, including a spectacular sequence that puts us right smack in the middle of an attempted murder and the stunning car crash that ensues.There might not be amore impressive action sequence shot this year.Oh, and a toast has to be given to any vampire romance that doesn’t turn into this:
Reeve’s direction is part of the main drawback, though.For some reason, American directors have put into their heads the notion that CGI should be used early and often.The fact is, once you show a monster, and particularly a CGI one, the suspense is done.This film benefits from a well-built story that continually ramps up the suspense and keeps your interest for other reasons, but if this had been a straight horror flick, Reeves would have screwed the pooch.
I’m going to have to assign a final beer to the just terrible life lessons Owen learns.He’s told to strike first when being bullied, and to hit ‘em hard enough that they never mess with you again.This might be good advice in prison, but I’m guessing that even there all you’ll be doing is making your bully angrier.Perhaps a bloodthirsty creature of the night isn’t the best thing to get advice from.
It may be the best foreign film remake in quite some time.That alone is enough to give it a try.
Bonus Drinking Game
Take a drink: every time somebody gets bullied
Take a drink: every time somebody gets eviscerated
Drink a shot: whenever The Father screws up