Written & Directed by Matt Reeves
For those that do not know, Let Me In is based on a Swedish film released a few years back called Let the Right One In. That film is great and one of the best films released that year, so when news came down that there would be an American version, similar to the same news regarding The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, many were upset and disappointed, assuming the American version would ruin the original magic contained within the Swedish original. At first I was counted among those people, but the more and more I thought about it, the more and more I realized that a movie like this can be good for American audiences because far too few people seek out foreign films. So a story this good, even if it has to be catered to the Americans and not remain in its original state to do so, is worth being told and seen. Matt Reeves adaptation is the perfect way to get this wonderful film some attention.
The story follows a little boy named Owen (Kodi Smith-McPhee). He is a lonely sort of child with his parents going through a divorce. He doesn’t seem to have many friends, if any, and he gets bullied at school. We see him in his apartment complex courtyard, living the fantasy of revenge when we meet his new neighbor, Abby, who tells him upfront that she cannot be his friend. Despite that, the two become close and build a lovely, if not strange, friendship. She encourages him to stand up for himself. Meanwhile, there has been some mysterious murders about town and things begin to grow suspicious for the two young kids. It seems Abby and her father may be linked.
I know it is not fair, but while watching this film I could not get the original out of my head. To his credit, writer/director Matt Reeves makes this film as original as he can from the script of the previous film. He instills the same creepiness and mood that Let the Right One In had, but in different ways. The film is beautifully photographed and the minimalism seems to point to staying true to the original. The film is slow in its pace and development, but for something like this, it works fine, the audience just shouldn’t be expecting a fast paced thrill ride.
It is not right to compare this to the original because it is its own film, but I found it impossible not to. In my opinion, the original is still the better film, but Let Me In is a fine film in its own right. There are things that are lifted from the original as well as new ideas that also work in the film. Matt Reeves was able to pay his respects to the original and not ruin what was already there with his new ideas. It is hard for me to judge how much I enjoyed the film because of my obvious bias, but if you have seen neither film, start wherever you are most comfortable, because I am sure that either film would be capable of entertaining most people.