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As a fan of the 2008 Swedish film "Let The Right One In", I was
originally very frustrated when I heard the news about the upcoming
remake. "How do you ameliorate something that is already perfect?", I
asked myself. I treated the remake with hostility and vowed to stay
away from it. And then, I decided to open my mind.
I attended the world premiere of this film at the Toronto International Film Festival on Monday, September 13. I am very lucky to live in the proximity. This was the first year that I've attended the festival. Before seeing "Let Me In", I saw "127 Hours".
I liked the idea of seeing the remake of a film that I recently gave a second viewing. I thought it would be a fun challenge to sit there and compare both films while watching.
Before the screening (or it might have been after), the director, Matt Reeves (who launched his career with "Cloverfield"), was welcomed on stage to say a few words. It surprised me to find out that he, too, thought the original was fantastic and didn't understand why he was asked to remake it. However, after reading the book as well, he had the desire to work on his interpretation of it. After this speech, I gained a significant amount of respect for this man.
When the movie began, I was only expecting something satisfactory. But as the story progressed, I was breathless. It was a very captivating, interesting take, and I loved all the little modifications. I honestly believe that "Let Me In" is one of the greatest American remakes of all time.
Nevertheless, I still see the original, "Let The Right One In", as a superior film. Although it may be a biased opinion, I preferred the mood, atmosphere, and cinematography in the original. While the remake seemed to take a greater interest in the horrific violence, the original had the perfect blend of genres (thriller, romance, horror, fantasy). Both films had many beautiful contrasts: coldness vs warmth, chaos vs peace, guilt vs innocence, darkness vs delicacy, and despair vs hope.
I must also mention that I preferred the sense of ambiguity presented in the original. Very few questions were answered, and the whole film was more of a mystery left to interpretation. In contrast, Matt Reeves was more clear and direct in his screenplay with the mystery surrounding his characters. It's all a matter of personal preference, though. I believe that most people will prefer what Matt did, since the original has a certain style that less people can appreciate.
Despite the comparison, I believe that they are both great movies that can be enjoyed by everyone. Fans of the original-- rather than being narrow-minded and boycotting this version-- should give it a chance and appreciate it for what it is. Wouldn't you want more people in North America to discover this mesmerizing vampire tale, anyway?
I really enjoyed every aspect of "Let Me In". The child actors, Chloe Moretz (Kick-Ass) and Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Road) were both excellent choices. They proved to us, once again, that they are among the only child actors who actually have talent. Now that I think of it, the only thing that didn't impress me was the music. For an original score composed by Michael Giacchino (Up), I was quite disappointed. It was mediocre, in my opinion. It didn't convey the same emotion as Johan Soderqvist's music in "Let The Right One In".
Aside from that, "Let Me In" is a surprisingly great film for the fans of the original. And it would probably be a bloody masterpiece for those who haven't seen it. And yes, that lame vampire pun was definitely intended.
Given the background to this film, I must start by saying I have
neither read the book it is based on, nor seen the 2008 Swedish
original. After watching this masterpiece, I intend to do both.
This is a truly sensational film. When you can't really pin a film down to a specific genre, you know you're onto something special. Calling this film a "vampire movie" doesn't really do it justice, given the preconceived notions most film goers bring to the genre. It is part horror, part dark family drama, part love story, with all 3 categories succeeding admirably.
In my estimation, the director has come on in leaps and bounds since "Cloverfield", a movie with a clever idea that was hampered by a poor cast and so-so execution. Here the director sets a mood of oppression and isolation from the very earliest frames and never lets up. The locations are used superbly, as are lighting and sound to create the gloomy world poor Owen is stranded in.
The film undeniably belongs to Chloe Grace Moretz as the young vampire Abby. This girl is an absolute powerhouse of an actress, turning in a dark, subtle and convincing performance that belies her tender age of 12. If she does not make the shortlist for next year's Oscars, the Academy needs its collective head examined. She embodies the potent mixture of lovable innocence and animalistic darkness within Abby with such ease, you will be genuinely astounded.
My fellow Aussie, Kodi Smit-McPhee, is also excellent, making you really feel for the put-upon Owen and share in his joy at finding a spark of happiness with the mysterious Abby. The entire film falls apart if this pair fail to convince, so it is a testimony to their respective talents (particularly Moretz') that you invest so heavily in their relationship.
Don't let the press about this film being a remake put you off. I must say I'm very disappointed to see this hasn't done too well at the box office in the USA, as it is a vastly superior film to the likes of "Paranormal Activity 2".
If anyone is in two minds about seeing this film, take the gamble and shell out your hard-earned. You'll be glad you did, if for no other reason than witnessing one of the most impressive performances by a child actor in cinema history.
Stop right there if you think this is a horror film. This film dances
around a horror atmosphere while hiding in the shadows of a thriller.
It's actually first and foremost, a romance.
Chloe Moretz, of Hit-Girl fame from Kick-Ass, plays a child vampire who moves in next door to a boy named Owen, who is very much alone and bullied at school. Owen's mother is an alcoholic who won sole custody and Owen's father is not allowed to come around. Moretz once again steals the show as the tragic character of Abby.
Let Me In is an adaptation, written and directed by Matt Reeves, of the 2008 Swedish film Let the Right One In. Barely anything has been changed from the original story, but the cinematography, some dialogue, different actors and adjusted characters make for a new movie. Although many fans of the original boycotted this film for months, Let Me In will allow for the original to be viewed.
Matt Reeves does an excellent job and I've enjoyed his first two films I've seen. Let Me In and Cloverfield are his only two pieces of work I've seen and they are his most popular thus far.
This is a romance because it plays very intimately between the two lead actors. The scenes between Owen and Abby are tender and very romantic for the age of the characters. It's surprising to see how well two child actors can be this mature and loving with such a great chemistry. It has some thrills and chills and there's room for drama but it's definitely meant to be a romance.
Personally, I've not seen the original film, but I do think this is a great film in its own right. It certainly did a good job to get me interested in watching the original whenever I get a chance.
It has a very short list of cast, as the only other names I can recognize are Richard Jenkins and Elias Koteas. Their involvement is less than secondary characters and even then they are still overshadowed by the breathtaking Moretz. At 13 years of age, Moretz amounts maturity and skill in her acting as much as an adult can. Her timing and delivery is well-established and crafted almost as if she's been doing this work for decades.
I can't say anything bad about Let Me In because I haven't seen the original to compare and mostly because I really enjoyed the movie. Perhaps it's my favourtism of romance movies and I am fascinated by Moretz and child actor leads, but whatever the reason, I believe Let Me In is going to be a great success with audiences.
I'm not one for "scary" movies, but this movie was so much more than
that. And in a time where I'm becoming more and more reluctant to watch
vampire films, I needed a movie like this to remind me just how good
this type of subject matter can be. Kodi Smit-McPhee and Chloe Moretz
were phenomenal. They brought a subtlety to there characters that was
gently heartbreaking at times, while exquisitely silent and perceptive
at others. The dynamic of the characters was tangible, and the viewer
ends up with a sense - not of whether the actions of the characters are
right or wrong or whether vampirism itself is okay when presented with
the face of a 12-year-old girl - but of whether they themselves believe
in the rightness or wrongness of where the story takes this young boy.
Unlike most "scary" movies, this one leaves the viewer with something
to think about when they leave the theater. And if that's not good
storytelling, I don't know what is.
The soundtrack was beautifully mellow at times as well as keeping on point for the more thrilling parts of the film. The shots were lovely and simple at times and rather artistically impressive at others.
From the very beginning we are treated to spectacular creepiness. Who
is the man who covered himself in acid? What kind of a strange young
man wears a mask and pretends to stab girls? Who are the new neighbors
that move in under cover of dark? This film is much more violent and
has more suspense than the original, a Swedish film hailed as a
landmark in vampire cinema, which might turn off some people but it
really made it great for me. The film was a roller coaster of emotion
and rhythm, each tender scene followed by a horrific moment. Some
people may feel that it moves too slowly, but each quiet moment is
meant to be enjoyed because deafening horror is soon to follow.
Overall it is not just a vampire story. It is the story of a lonely boy who finds companionship in the most unusual place. It is a wonderful study of human nature and asks important questions. Are there truly evil people in the world? And are they always evil, or can they actually be wonderful in the eyes of some? One of the great strengths of this film is that it constantly moves between two worlds--the sweetness of youth, and the horror of what a vampire really is. We get a front row seat to both and must decide if the evil outweighs the good.
I can't think of the last time I saw a vampire movie that impressed me as much. This has all the blood and action that was missing from the original, but maintains its commitment to carefully revealing the characters to us. There are wonderfully creepy additions and a truly artistic filming of a car crash that elevate this film onto a different level than the original. If you are a fan of horror films this one is not to be missed!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Let Me In" is an adaptation of the Swedish Horror Classic "Let The
Right One In". Being an adaptation many fans of the original may have
been against the idea of an adaptation on the basis of many adaptations
of other films in the past which had failed to do the original justice,
those fans should be happy to know that "Let Me In" not only does the
original's brilliance justice, but builds upon it to give an even
better experience, and a new take of an excellent story to those who
will see this film.
"Let Me In" (LMI) will make you do what the title asks, it will make you open your mind, heart and subconscious where it will plant a seed that will grow and continue to haunt you long after you have left the theater. Unlike most Horror genre movies these days LMI is a movie that doesn't lean heavily on visual effects and gore to scare you. Instead LMI builds its foundation in an already excellent story, complimented with great direction, acting, and cinematography. Normally the horror genre is one I choose to avoid due to the frequent use of cheap visual thrills rather then hard hitting emotional trauma and mental unrest. This is where LMI transcends the genre, as it is a film with depth and emotion that will truly stay with you long after the lights come on.
The acting in LMI is award worthy, especially Chloe Moretz as Abby, who's acting is amazing and makes the film's most complex character work. Give her the statue please! Worth mention for those who have seen the original is compared to Lina Leadersson who did an exceptional job as Eli, Chloe was responsible for both the acting and the voice, while Lina was dubbed. Also award worthy is Kodi Smit-McPhee as Owen, without Kodi's Owen to compliment Chloe's Abby the film would have lacked a soul and fell flat despite a great story.
The one area I thought the film lacked compared to the original was Musical Score, whole LMI has an excellent musical score, it is far more direct than the brilliant and creepy Score that supported the original, just nitpicking here though.
In my opinion LMI is a brilliant movie which perfectly compliments the original, as well as one of the best this year.
***Spoilers Below This Point***
I hope my review doesn't come off as disjointed since I have separated the spoilers from the rest of the review.
LMI is driven only by the relationship between Owen and Abby, two brilliantly conceived and acted characters.
Abby is a very complex character, many on the IMDb boards have taken Abby to be a pure evil, calculative, and manipulative 200 year old lady who has perfected the art of tricking others into helping her, I do not agree with this. Abby's character is brilliant because despite these 200 years that she has lived, she is still a 12 year old trapped inside of a monster. There are many hints throughout the movie that evidence this. For example when Abby's caretaker fails to bring back blood for her she is furious because she will now be forced to do the sinful deed herself. Abby's reluctance to get her own hands dirty is evidence that somewhere inside her the 12 year old girl still lives, rather than an insatiable monster who would jump at the chance to enjoy adrenaline pumping moments of a kill. This makes Abby kind of an ironic character, she is defined by her disease as a creature that lusts for human blood, as well as one with the power to obtain it herself, but instead she is reluctant to do so when it can be avoided, because somewhere inside her the 12 year old human girl still lives.
Owen is also a very complex character, but in a way that almost is the inverse of Abby. Owen is a helpless school boy constantly tormented by bullies in his school. He is weak, and has a poor family foundation with his parents going through a divorce. But, when we look into his character, and in certain scenes, we see he has a desire to do harm to his tormentors. One example of this is the scene where he is stabbing the tree with the knife and pretending that it is the group of bullies that torment him on a daily basis. So his character can be described as a weak 12 year old human boy, who wishes for the power to exact his revenge on his tormentors and imagines doing them as well, yet he still lacks the power to do so.
If one looks at this Owen and Abby work sort of like the puzzles Abby loves in that each of them compliment a void in the other, hence when they are together they are complete and they are happy. This is what makes them a perfect match, as when Abby is with Owen she can be her 12 year old self which the majority of her clearly prefers to be, and on the opposite end of the spectrum Owen is no longer lonely and at the same time has someone who has the power to defend him.
Neither of these characters would be even remotely believable without strong performances to back them up.
LMI is also one of the greatest Romantic Tragedies ever made, because despite the happy tone the film ends on, one is assured there is nothing but trouble ahead. Either Owen will outgrow Abby and due to his love decide to keep himself useful and become her replacement caretaker, or she will choose to share her curse with him, where both will have to share in the curse of what a Vampire is a Victim.
Did not expect much going into this movie. Just the basic hope that it was somewhat entertaining and made sense. It is amazing to me how easily a movie can go bad from a single action or phrase. This, however, was not the case for "Let Me In". It was flawless! A perfect combination between a captivating storyline and interesting characters that have an almost fairytale like interaction. At the same time feeling completely natural. Add to that an amazing soundtrack that submerges you even more into the characters world. I have always found the "this is how it would actually be" approach in depicting fiction and supernatural stories to be more captivating and effective. The movie is a complete underdog and is definitely worth seeing. Walked away wowed!!!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A life as a companion and living on the run is better than living without love. This is a film for the bullied and unwanted children in our world. The roles portrayed were executed with honesty by all actors involved. The director was clever in not showing the mother's face for very long and we never see the father. The poor lad is left pretty much alone to face the cold, wintry world without a single friend. Then comes the new girl. She seems as utterly sad and alone as he..... and she is. It was refreshing to see how their chemistry blended and bloomed. The only fault I found was the CG attack scenes. That was unbelievable for me. I would have portrayed a vampire as having total control and with slow, deliberate moves. Imagine a fiend that would regard his next meal with detached urgency. That would be much more scary. After all is said I believe that this film will be regarded on it's own as a good love story although with some mayhem and gore that makes a fine cocktail to patiently consider as a film thats heads's above many other horror films .
This is not your typical horror film, though it does have horror
elements (e.g. suspense, violence, gore). Really it's a story about the
complex loving relationship that develops between two children. The
fact that one of them is a vampire just makes things more interesting.
I read the book and watched the original film before seeing this adaptation. Even so, I ended up twisting in my seat the whole film. I couldn't find a single dull moment. The whole theater was ewwing and awwing and giggling.
This film has its flaws, but it's very emotionally affecting nonetheless. It's thrilling and disturbing, and as real as a film can be. I can't wait to watch it again.
- Compared w/ the First Film Adaptation -
I say it's better than the original because more time is spent on the principle characters and the changes tend to make the story more believable.
I prefer the acting and cinematography of the original film, but overall I think this is the best film adaptation anyone could hope for.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
From Wikipedia: Acclaimed horror author Stephen King wrote "Let Me In
is a genre-busting triumph. Not just a horror film, but the best
American horror film in the last 20 years."
Personally, how can I top the master writer himself with my own praise? This is the best horror film I have seen since "The Shining." The relationship between Owen and Abby was beautiful and complex, and was masterfully done by the two young actors. So masterful for their age I was immersed immediately! The story was superb and their chemistry was perfection. The acting by Richard Jenkins and Elias Koteas was spot on and authentic, as could be expected and cannot be overlooked.
The cinematography and musical soundtrack were a perfect combination to create atmosphere and feeling. The orchestral music furthered the intensity and seriousness of Abby's need to feed, and protect, but the classic rock tunes from the era echoed the universal teenage experience of social rebellion and awkward sexual curiosity. I was personally further drawn in because of being bullied at that same age, with no friends to rely on. The solitude and emotional pain are immense. I could only dream as most of having an mature and loyal friend like Abbey to help me through that tough time..
The strength that Abby provides, and ultimately uses to rid this problem for Owen is enormous and addictive. (much like this film!) Thus it is easy to see why he would leave with her immediately and forgo the average life. I am addicted to this beautiful work. Very few things inspire or move me anymore. But this film captures a powerful moment in the human condition even with it's fictional elements. Though a realist, I am currently in fantasia. Though cynical, I am currently inspired by greatness. In a time when horror films pretty much suck, It was a privilege to see this masterfully done work of art.
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