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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

POSTER ART
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FILM DETAILS
Certificate
15
Cast
Chloe Moretz
Richard Jenkins
Elias Koteas
Kodi Smit-McPhee
Cara Buono
Sasha Barrese.
Directors
Matt Reeves.
Screenwriters
Matt Reeves.
Running Time
TBC minutes

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Let Me In
Let The Right One In gets some new blood


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Plot
Los Alamos, New Mexico, 1983. Bullied, 12 year-old Owen (Smit-McPhee) finds unexpected friendship in the form of the ‘girl’ next door: pale, fragile Abby (Moretz), who walks barefoot in the snow, is a whizz with a Rubik’s Cube, and feasts on human blood.


Review
Let Me In
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Unlike its undead protagonist, who doesn’t even pack a pair of flip-flops, Matt Reeves’ Let Me In arrives at our cinema doors hefting baggage. For Reeves, it’s that difficult second movie — following 2008’s found-footage monster-rampage pic Cloverfield — in which he has to prove how he can operate beyond the patronage of J. J. Abrams, Cloverfield’s rather better-known producer. And that weight of expectation is doubly increased: not only does Let Me In mark Hammer Studios’ official return, it’s also the second adaptation of John Ajvide Lindqvist’s novel Let The Right One In to be released in the space of two years; the first being scripted by the Swedish novelist himself, directed masterfully by Tomas Alfredson, and earning ecstatic reviews.

Let Me In is, in many ways, far more explicit than Alfredson’s movie. Reeves’ script is more open about his characters’ impulses and motivations than Lindqvist’s — although he doesn’t go as far as the novel, and indeed, takes a different direction entirely in the case of Abby’s blood-harvesting human companion, in this version only known as the ‘Father’ and portrayed with palpable discomfort by Richard Jenkins, whose creased, long-faced features well suit a character reduced to murderous servitude.

The film is also more explicit — and arguably crowdpleasing — in its ‘horror’ elements (although again, less so than the novel), and it’s here that Let Me In’s origin as a Hammer project bursts through. Michael Giacchino’s score is heavy duty, all ominous booms, string-shrieks and angelic boys’ choirs. Alfredson’s thin, black trickles of blood are now gushes of gloopy, Hammer crimson. The scare tactics are laid on almost as thickly. One vampire-attack scene, constructed by Alfredson with sillhouettes in a single, distant master shot, is here played close up and in CGI-assisted detail. You can argue that Let The Right One In isn’t a horror movie at all, rather a disturbing love story with monstrous trimmings. But there’s no doubt in which genre Let Me In belongs — a point even further rammed home by Reeves’ excision of the subplot involving the weary, boozy working-class geezers who become drawn into the vampire antics. (It says something about the cultural differences between Sweden and America that a crew of unkempt old boozers has become reduced in Reeves’ take to a bodybuilder, a policeman and a sexy, breast-baring neighbour.)

To be fair, Reeves’ version is well relocated. The Los Alamos apartment complex may not possess quite the same oppressive slabbiness as Sweden’s Blackeberg, but the period-political backdrop is intelligently utilised. The film opens with a horrifically acid-burned man being rushed to the ER, then quietly interrogated by a disquieted cop (Elias Koteas). “Are you a Satanist?” he inquires of his wheezing, deformed prisoner.

Just a few minutes later, after the first of many shocking developments (well, to those who’ve not seen the original), we hear a fragment of President Reagan’s ‘Evil Empire’ speech: “There is sin and evil in the world,” Ronnie creaks as Koteas’ character dazedly tries to process what he’s just witnessed, “and we’re enjoined by Scripture and the Lord Jesus to oppose it with all our might. Our nation, too, has a legacy of evil with which it must deal. The glory of this land has been its capacity for transcending the moral evils of our past...” With one superb bit of sampling, the film’s doomy atmosphere is hermetically sealed.

It’s also appositely cast. In The Road and Kick-Ass respectively, Kodi Smit-McPhee and Chloe Moretz have already given two of the year’s most daring and affecting child performances. With his skinny, pale, wide-eyed features, McPhee is, in a neat touch, the more uncanny-looking of the pair, a seemingly fragile victim taunted as a “little girl” by his schoolyard tormentors (just one of the script’s many pin-prick hints of gender confusion). Moretz, meanwhile, plays another (seemingly) young girl with deadly hidden talents, although it’s debatable whether Abby is, beneath it all, as truly innocent as Hit-Girl. Either way, Let Me In represents a maturation of talent for both actors, whose nascent chemistry, right down to its distressing undercurrents, is well bottled by Reeves.

Indeed, as already suggested by his removal of the subplot, Reeves holds the focus very much on Owen and Abby — literally, in some scenes. Owen’s mother, for example, is rendered a distant blur even when sitting just across the table. She remains faceless throughout, as does his estranged father. It’s an effective device; Owen’s isolation and alienation complete.

Let Me In proves a much better showcase for Reeves’ talent than Cloverfield. It often plays the same game of allowing supernaturally terrifying events to occur just out of frame, but Reeves is a sensitive showman, and displays a knack for visceral impact. The film’s stand-out sequence, for instance, shows a car-crash-and-roll entirely from the perspective of a back-seat passenger.

Even if you’re familiar with Let The Right One In, then, there remains much to enjoy. And if not? Then we envy you coming to it barefoot-in-the-snow cold, because when taken on its own merits, Let Me In stands as an astutely crafted interpretation of an absorbing take on the vampire mythos.


Verdict
Not as deep as the original, but certainly more of a crowdpleaser — and it’s hard to imagine a more intelligent and well-crafted American horror being released this year.


Reviewed by Dan Jolin


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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Let Me In
Empire Star Rating

good but pointless

better than i thought was going to be but still pointless as 1st go is mordern classic ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by pulp_frankenstein at 11:43, 05 April 2013 | Report This Post


good but pointless

better than i thought was going to be but still pointless as 1st go is mordern classic ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by pulp_frankenstein at 11:43, 05 April 2013 | Report This Post


OK

The two leads are good. Looks pretty. Obviously no where near as good as the masterly original. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by tysmuse at 13:26, 13 January 2013 | Report This Post


I finally got to see it and it was underwhelming

This has to go down as one of the most pointless remakes ever made. It was just FAR to similar to the wonderful 2008 Swedish original and did NOT offer anything new at all. Most of the supporting characters are forgettable, the use of CGI was poor and the scene where Abby kisses Owen was SO weak compared to the one between Eli and Oskar (their kiss is one of my favourite on-screen kisses). Had Matt Reeves used some of the scenes from the novel that didn't made it into the Swedish original, I'm s... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bb at 19:21, 21 November 2012 | Report This Post


Pointless and mediocre!

Let Me In is not a good remake at all. As a fan of the Swedish version I did think this was going to be pointless but thought, because of a few good reviews, I would give it a go. It flows badly and is not emotional in any way like the Swedish version is. The atmosphere is pretty limp and the CGI is awful. Both mains are ok and suit the roles but somehow fail to convince. Not the worst film in the world but is just below average and fails to pull you in like the excellent Swedish version. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by dannyfletch at 22:47, 23 August 2012 | Report This Post


Let Me In

A darker version of it's Swedish original, Let Me In is still beautiful, well-crafted, ambitious, and disturbing. It's not everybody's cup of tea, but the dynamic artistic style and the brillant performances makes this a rare remake that is just as captivating as the original. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by norgizfox at 03:07, 09 July 2012 | Report This Post


It's extremely bizarre-watching a Matt Reeves movie after watching years of 'Cloverfield'. It's also strange, watching my new favourite director, who directed my favourite movie, directing a remake to my favourite movie, which is now-gulp-my new favourite movie. It's like Reeves made this film especially for ME! What I LOVED about this movie was, the David Fincher esque style that this movie had, it's sense of originality, but it's awareness of a remake. (You can tell, because of it's relativel... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by YouWillBeUnprepared at 01:01, 18 May 2012 | Report This Post


It's extremely bizarre-watching a Matt Reeves movie after watching years of 'Cloverfield'. It's also strange, watching my new favourite director, who directed my favourite movie, directing a remake to my favourite movie, which is now-gulp-my new favourite movie. It's like Reeves made this film especially for ME! What I LOVED about this movie was, the David Fincher esque style that this movie had, it's sense of originality, but it's awareness of a remake. (You can tell, because of it's relativel... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by YouWillBeUnprepared at 00:59, 18 May 2012 | Report This Post


It's extremely bizarre-watching a Matt Reeves movie after watching years of 'Cloverfield'. It's also strange, watching my new favourite director, who directed my favourite movie, directing a remake to my favourite movie, which is now-gulp-my new favourite movie. It's like Reeves made this film especially for ME! What I LOVED about this movie was, the David Fincher esque style that this movie had, it's sense of originality, but it's awareness of a remake. (You can tell, because of it's relativel... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by YouWillBeUnprepared at 00:58, 18 May 2012 | Report This Post


Let Me In Review

Similar to the original in all the right ways, but with enough changes to stand on its own Let Me In is the rare Hollywood remake that doesn't add insult to inspiration. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by the film man at 21:38, 14 December 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Pointless

Wow!! Why you all are just going on the same topic, again and again. ? ... More

Posted by nice8520 at 06:04, 29 June 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Missed the Point

Great film, four stars. ... More

Posted by theoriginalcynic at 22:45, 27 June 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Missed the Point

A well made film. b] glossy tight script Elias Koteas, Kodi Smit-McPhee, and Dylan Minnette b] lens flare glossy 3"]Michael Giacchino's score - beautiful but misplacedttp://www.imdb.com/media/rm1678544640/nm031597 4] 2"]]close to the original film - not an adaption, but instead a remake Richard Jenkins might has well have slept throughout the entire production Chloe Moretz - miscast; no chemistry between Kodi; saw her acting - literally eelingsmade but ultimat... More

Posted by OfficeSpace at 21:04, 27 June 2011 | Report This Post


Missed the Point

After being blown away by the original Let the Right one in, I really didnt want to see this, but I thought why not, so I watched it, and, predictably maybe, I was dissapointed. The film was basically a shot-for-shot remake, but it missed out some of themost beautiful shots (the touching scene when Owen asks Abby 'are you a vampire?' is shot as a stright out conversation, and the opening credits that chill you without even a single drop of blood) and most of the relationships between the townsfo... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Swedle at 22:42, 10 June 2011 | Report This Post


Am astounded at the first review on the site - someone who has never even seen it gives it two stars. Mystifying. I haven't seen the first one but this is a good movie, a touching love story with a little gore. It's dark but uplifting despite the horror elements and the two child actors put in mesmerising performances. I don't care its a re-make of a Swedish film, I judged it on its own merits and it is praiseworthy indeed. Excellent. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Sorrowfully at 11:10, 29 May 2011 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

I was tempted to watch this remake, but I loved the original so much I don't want this one to take it's place in my memory. I watch a lot of Scandinavian drama these days; Wallander, the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Killing being the most recent, and I find them to be beautifully produced; very atmospheric in a 'less is more' sort of way.. I may watch the remake of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, but only because the second and third films in the trilogy were a bit of a l... More

Posted by moehat at 13:36, 10 May 2011 | Report This Post


RE:

I really wanted to watch the remake as I loved let the right one in, and Empire made a good review about Let Me In, but I'm not sure I should anymore :/ ... More

Posted by StanD313 at 23:00, 07 May 2011 | Report This Post


RE: pointless

Good film. If I hadn't of seen the original I would have enjoyed this a whole lot more, yet on the whole the film makers did a good job of making it a American folktale. Overall a decent take on the story. Just to be offensive I proberly prefer this as I don't have to read subtitles. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by The REAL Bozz at 11:35, 05 April 2011 | Report This Post


pointless

stupid remake ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bobbyperu at 19:37, 15 March 2011 | Report This Post


Average. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by reminn at 17:05, 24 January 2011 | Report This Post


No Need...

I could go on and on about the genius and originality of Let The Right One In (yes, I know it was an adapted work itself). I could flex my vocabulary in all the right places to say how hauntingly beautiful the story of Oskar and Eli is. I could go on endlessly about the cinematography, the heartbreakingly tender score and the subtlety of the narrative, but, what would be the point. This is a game of opinions only and in the opinion of those who like Let Me In, all that I have to say about L... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by sharedmoment at 19:14, 07 December 2010 | Report This Post


Why bother..

Thsi si clearly a money making exercise, to get those who wouldnt see a subtitled film (perticularly in the US) to see the film. Its lazy film making. However, it IS very good remake, but I just dont see the point. This would have been a perfect opportunity for the director to add some of the books missing scenes (ie: the fact that the girl was once a boy!) to make it more interesting, but they didnt bother. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by howiet1971 at 10:41, 18 November 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Let Me In

  For no reason in particular, it took me a while to get to see Let The Right One In, in fact it wasn't until about a year and a half after it's release that I finally got to view it.  I found a film entirely worthy of the great praise it was getting, both a touching coming of age story and the most interesting take on the vampire in a long long time.  Therefore I was most disappointed to hear that bloody Hollywood had decided to remake it so soon after it had been release... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Dr Lenera at 13:34, 14 November 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Let Me In

Director/Screenwriter: eves Starring: it-McPhee, Chloe Grace Moretz, Richard Jenkins, Elias Koteas, Cara Buono Synopsis Set in the early 1980s within a New Mexico town, Owen (Smit-McPhee) who is a bullied young boy befriends Abby (Moretz), a vampire living in secrecy with her guardian (Jenkins). Review When it comes to the arrival of remakes based on recent foreign work, your response will mostly be a moan, although if you are to see the English-language translation, you... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by R W at 19:42, 13 November 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Pointless

Personally I enjoyed this more Than Let The Right One In, the biggest problem I had was with familarity of the story. A very high end 4 stars. (Loved the Marve-esque Hammer logo at the start too!) ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by skeletonjack at 19:14, 10 November 2010 | Report This Post


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