Trying my best not to just compare "Let Me In" to its original Swedish tour de force, "Let The Right One In" (which by the ways won't happen) I have to admit that I came out of the theatre enjoying this film. On its own stance, it accomplishes what it came to do and show the journey of two torn souls that come together amongst some unconventional circumstances. Although not near as charming as its predecessor, "Let Me In" does accomplish some solid building blocks of a good film.
Owen (Smit-McPhee) is a tormented 12 year old who aspires to be stronger then he is. With a family life that is quickly crumbling and a bully situation that is getting out of hand, he desires some stablitiy. He randomly finds this in his new neighbor Abby (Moretz) whose mysteriousness is only matched by her 'father' (Jenkins). When bodies start turning up and the police (lead by Koteas) start showing up, Owen begins to suspect his new friend is more than just an odd girl...she just might be a...DA DA DUM...vampire.
Now for Matt Reeves to take on this remake of a film is something of an arrogant move. Highly considered a modern classic already (my opinion matches that), Reeves had some big shoes to fill. Of course, his version is going to be good when 75% of the film is essentially the same thing. It rarely drifts from the pacing and form - which is a good thing. It pulls a lot of the great atmosphere to its advantage and with two well done leads from our kids, "Let Me In" still accomplishes quite a bit even though its the same damn thing. The chemistry is there and the story is there and for the heart of the film that's what matters.
Sometimes the film did feel like it was trying to force some of the subtleties down the audiences' throats. Matt Reeves does an able job throwing in some of his own little nuances (like how the mother figure's face is never in focus) but overall sometimes it felt like he was trying to force an artsy feel on the film. With a sick score though, it works most of the time although it just doesn't strike the right mood as well as it could have (or the original did). Also, the film did use some CGI for Abby's movements which felt somewhat out of place. The idea worked but it took me out of the realism a bit too much.
I did appreciate that Reeves really embraced the change of setting. Putting the film in America in the 80s allowed for some great political and social subplots. The use of Reagan's speeches on TVs and the various pop culture references allowed the film to do its own thing a bit more which was nice considering that a good portion of the film was basically the same as the original.
Overall, "Let Me In" accomplished what it needed to, but the fact that it rarely surpassed the film it was remaking and was 75% the same as it bogged it down. I wanted it to go to even some more different places more often, but it did utilize its source material nicely. Some changed details did bother me (for some reason they decided to almost completely move away from the entire ambiguous sex of the vampire plot thread) but it worked at its bases. Not great and if you like the original I fully just recommend you wait to it hits home video. Worth the watch for the little things.
BONUS RANT: So there is a random scene of nudity in the beginning of the film that seemed completely out of place. The idea was clear but it could have easily been done without the nudity and still be as clear as possible. Definitely didn't understand the need for that.
Written By Matt Reifschneider