There ought to be a law against what Hollywood is doing to the foreign film market. Seriously. It certainly is an artistic travesty to think or assume that just because a film, such as Tomas Alfredson’s Let the Right One In, is presented in a foreign language very few people can appreciate it. It’s damn ignorant, too; ignorant of moviegoers; ignorant of critics and producers alike. Now, with Matt Reeves’ note-for-note remake entitled Let Me In, Hollywood tries its hand at duplicating a film that is just barely two years old...in English…because too many people are apparently too lazy to read the subtitles of a foreign film.
Let Me In is the retelling of a famous novel called Låt Den Rätte Komma In (Let the Right One In) by swedish author John Ajvide Lindqvist. Adapted once again, this time solely for supposedly ignorant English-speaking only audiences by Reeves himself, the new narrative swaps the snowy streets of western Stockholm with winter in Los Alamos, New Mexico, yet, tells the same story with the same look and the same feel. The dialogue, too, is nearly word for word. The year is still 1983, but just to make sure you know that the soundtrack is full of songs from that era (the original didn't do this - it didn't need to), but, forget all that, let’s get to the story. Owen (Kodi Smit McPhee) is an awkward adolescent full of social hiccups that limit his ability to make friends. Abby (Chloë Moretz) is an eternally hungry vampire. She says she’s “more or less” 12-years-old, but the truth of the matter is that she’s older than her “father” (Richard Jenkins). Her “father” must kill people to keep her well-fed and smelling sweetly. He kills and he drains them of their blood to feed his “daughter”. Little by little, Owen figures this out, but, as a chemistry develops between the two children at the risk of Abby's relationship with her "father", we begin to understand what Abby is attempting to do. But Mr. Policeman (Elias Koteas) is right behind the recent murders and wants to capture this “Satanist” before it is too late.
The fact of the matter is that, for Let Me In, it’s already too late. Reeves (Cloverfield) is a decent director and if Hollywood had gotten their hands on this story while it was making an impact overseas AS A BOOK then I’m sure Let Me In would have fared better without any significant changes, but they didn’t and, as a result, Reeves’ movie comes off as simple karaoke because the producers are trying too hard to ride the swell of a wave that broke two days ago. This film - again, like most karaoke - is certainly not needed, but good enough to pass if the audience is drunk enough to remain in their seats. It's not original. It's not harrowing. It's a carbon copy.
There is simply nothing...except for the English language...to justify Reeves' version of Alfredson's great film. Nothing. No big changes. No great acting. Nothing. Yet, he wants you to accept that this is an American product. After one too many nods to all things American in Reeves’ script (President Reagan on the TV, the kids saying their Pledge of Allegiances, the American radio stations) and a horribly limp Vampire attack in a dark tunnel that is awfully clunky and a great example of some pretty cheeky CGI work, I simply lost interest in his version. The first vampire attack should be frightening. It’s not. It’s horrible, complete with jittery moving shadows that look like characters in a really bad video game. We’re talking Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone bad. You know, the scene with the cartoon-looking troll in the bathroom.
In my cinematic estimation, remakes serve one purpose only: to improve upon the original. There is nothing wrong with Let the Right One In. Nothing. Therefore, Let Me In has to prove it deserves an audience. It doesn’t. It assumes. Basically, Let Me In is a cookie-cutter retread of a two-year-old film that's damn near perfect. I’m sorry, Mr. Reeves. I’m sorry Hammer Films, but, the fact is simple: Let the Right One In is much better and much quicker in narration than this overstuffed remake. Your film serves no purpose.
Seriously, watch these two films back-to-back. Start with the original and then follow it up with the Hollywood version and you’ll see some thinly-veiled attempts at characterization. The "Now & Later" moments Reeves adds come across as artificial and hollow. Let Me In feels cheap compared to the honesty of the original. Insulting, too. I’m trying not to be too cynical here, but it’s hard when Let Me In can’t prove that – beyond making a quick buck or two – it deserves to even exist as a film.
Oh yeah, well, it is in English…just in case, as the producers have suggested in interviews, you can’t read.
MPAA Rating: R for strong bloody horror violence, language and a brief sexual situation.
Director: Matt Reeves
Writer: Matt Reeves
Cast: Kodi Smit-McPhee; Chloe Moretz; Richard Jenkins; Cara Buono; Alias Koteas; Sasha Barrese; Dylan Kenin; Chris Browning
Genre: Fantasy | Horror
Tagline: Innocence dies. Abby doesn't.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Would you still like me... even if I wasn't a girl?"
Distributor: Relativity Media
Official Site: www.letmein-movie.com
Release Date: October 1, 2010
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: February 1, 2011
Synopsis: An alienated 12-year-old boy befriends a mysterious young newcomer in his small New Mexico town, and discovers an unconventional path to adulthood in Let Me In, a haunting and provocative thriller written and directed by filmmaker Matt Reeves (Cloverfield).
English SDH, French, Spanish (less)
English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese, German SDH (less)
Available on Blu-ray - February 1, 2011
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Audio: English: Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (1 BD, 1 DVD); Digital copy (on disc); Bonus View (PiP)
- Feature-length audio commentary with Director/Writer Matt Reeves
- From the Inside: A Look at the Making of Let Me In (1080p, 17:04)
- The Art of Special Effects (1080p, 6:29)
- Car Crash Sequence Step-By-Step (1080p, 5:34)
- Picture-in-Picture Exclusive: Dissecting Let Me In (1080p)
- Deleted Scenes (480p/1080p, 5:05)
- Trailer Gallery (1080p)
- Poster & Still Gallery (1080p)
- Also on Blu-ray (1080p): Additional Anchor Bay Titles
- Digital Copy
- Let Me In: Crossroads