Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
100 Greatest Videos Games Of All Time
Robin Williams: The Big Interview
Empire Visits The Hobbit's VFX Team
Nick Frost:
My Movie Life

The World's End star's pick of the flicks
4Music's Size Does Matter
Introducing your new favourite app
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

POSTER ART
Click poster to enlarge
More posters to select

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

LATEST FILM REVIEWS
Keeper Of Lost Causes, The
3 Star Empire Rating
If I Stay
2 Star Empire Rating
Let's Be Cops
3 Star Empire Rating
Obvious Child
4 Star Empire Rating
Million Dollar Arm
4 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Two Days, One Night
5 Star Empire Rating
Some Like It Hot
5 Star Empire Rating
A Hard Day's Night
5 Star Empire Rating
Boyhood
5 Star Empire Rating

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


submit to reddit


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
Browse more images »
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


Related Reviews
Sounds
Let Me In
 

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

Your Reviews

Average user rating for Let Me In
Empire Star Rating

RE: Pointless

I watched this last night, having not seen LTROI and I fail to see how it could possibly be better than Let Me In. ... More

Posted by p_mc at 11:05, 10 November 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Pointless

I think if they had waited a couple more years to make it so it wasn't so fresh in peoples memorys then it wouldn't have got such a big reaction as it's had got to say I enjoyed the original more it seemed to have more of an innocent love story to it & didn't really like the way the mother was shown in this version compaired to the original. 7/10 ... More

Posted by Wild about Wilder at 10:31, 10 November 2010 | Report This Post


Pointless

I think i made a mistake re-watching the original the day before i saw this. I just cannot see why they made this other than for the money. Reeves can bang on about including a 30 second clip of Reagans Evil Empire speech and being bullied as a child all he wants this was all about the paycheck. The parts they added like the gore and the very poor CGI vamp attacks take away from the horror and dont add too it. The fact the victims are not in anyway part of the story like they are in the original... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by a123matt at 12:39, 08 November 2010 | Report This Post


One of the best horror films in years. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Gerard Lough at 16:52, 07 November 2010 | Report This Post


Let Me In

Sometimes, you know, we've just got to let go. I saw the original version of this movie (Let the Right One In) when it came out and then bought the DVD. I've watched it about five times in all, and loved it each time. It's one of those films that just seem to hang about you like a fog. So when the remake was announced, like many, I was sceptical. What were they going to do, have a bunch of hard-bodied teens battle the vampire? Substitute phone texting or Blackberry chat for the Morse Code sequen... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by albeefan at 14:32, 07 November 2010 | Report This Post


More of a crowd pleaser? Nonsense.

It was an honorable attempt but fell just short of the mark. Americans can't do subtle and as much as I rate Chloe Moretz and Kodi Smit-McPhee they don't hold a candle to Lina Leandersson and Kare Hedebrant. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Loosecrew at 13:33, 07 November 2010 | Report This Post


Could never live up to Let The Right One In

I love Let the Right One In, so I was a little annoyed that it was being remade, as it really doesn't need to. I saw Let Me In today, and after reading this review I was really expecting it to be excellent, but it just wasn't! Matt Reeves focused waaaaay to much on all the gore and action(but I must admit the car crash scene was awesome) and cut out loads of interesting characters and subplots. The bit were Eli/Abby enters just wasn't as affecting or emotional as the Swedish film and neither was... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by MaddiEx at 19:37, 06 November 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Excellent Very Similar To Swedish Counterpart

I felt it was superiour to Let The Right One In.  ... More

Posted by Rgirvan44 at 15:32, 06 November 2010 | Report This Post


Excellent Very Similar To Swedish Counterpart

Excellent horror it has a dark sort of beauty, it's a long time since I saw the original on blu ray so I really enjoyed the big screen experience and I thought the music score was better in the American version it amplified the beauty. The cgi moments were typical Hollywood and it sort of didn't do the film justice but I'm nitpicking there. I'm looking forward to the next Hammer horror film I think we can expect good things. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Bighousewill at 14:07, 06 November 2010 | Report This Post


RE: No need for this version

L: artemus I got a chance to catch this a few weeks ago at the Dublin horrorthon. I preferred the original by a long way, everyone is fine in this version, but there are slight changes to the story and the characterizations and also there is some totally pointless and pretty dismal cgi work when Abby is killing her victims. The killings in the original has a much bigger impact when it looks like adults are being overpowered by what seems like a 12 year old girl. Also the Male lead in the o... More

Posted by losthighway at 13:49, 06 November 2010 | Report This Post


No need for this version

I got a chance to catch this a few weeks ago at the Dublin horrorthon. I preferred the original by a long way, everyone is fine in this version, but there are slight changes to the story and the characterizations and also there is some totally pointless and pretty dismal cgi work when Abby is killing her victims. The killings in the original has a much bigger impact when it looks like adults are being overpowered by what seems like a 12 year old girl. Also the Male lead in the original was a ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by artemus at 17:26, 05 November 2010 | Report This Post


EXCELLENT - GO SEE IT!

Huge fan of the book and was left disappointed by the original film... I was also a sceptic about this remake but it is a lot better than the original and actually stays more faithful to the tone and themes of the novel. Highly recommend fans of the novel see it. This is what LTROI should have looked/felt like! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by losthighway at 11:16, 03 November 2010 | Report This Post


Why?

I haven't seen the Let Me In yet but I just dont really understand the why this film has happened at all. The first film is fantastic, by no means perfect, but this remake is never gonna be as good a the original. Why cant people just watch the original and learn to read! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by guysalisbury at 17:30, 02 November 2010 | Report This Post


RE:

L: bobbyperu LET THE RIGHT ONE IN - A 5 Star Masterpiece LET ME IN - A pile of hollywood shite Word. ... More

Posted by spamandham at 00:52, 02 November 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Slightly pointless

I read the book too first then waited for the Blu ray of Let The Right One In. I don't think it is pointless that it's been remade because many people or regular less prolific film viewers will be able to experience this quite good story that is only based on the novel even the names are changed but only because of the American setting. Subtitles I don't mind but it has been proved to me that people don't like subtitles I asked a friend if he had seen "Lebanon", he said "Oh yeah the one where t... More

Posted by Bighousewill at 17:00, 01 November 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Hail to Hammer

I didn't rate it, or say that it is good, bad or indifferent. I just stated my opinion on remaking something that has only recently hit the market. Do you really believe that this film has come about because of the book, rather than the success of the original film? Yes the film is unnecessary, I would feel the same if they decided to another another version of LOTR. Remaking films is something that I am not totally opposed to, but I would like to see more original films come to mark... More

Posted by bigbadbeasty at 09:50, 01 November 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Hail to Hammer

L: bigbadbeasty I have yet to see it, and I'm not sure if I want to. I loved the original, and I really feel that remaking a film that is only a year or so old is heavily distasteful. It is completely unnecessary. A film already exists, watch that. hat is just ridiculous... firstly, you're rated a film that you haven't even seen, and secondly, this is not a remake of Let the Right One In. It's a conversion of the book to a film. The book came first and it's embarrassing, eliti... More

Posted by jmebaby25 at 09:01, 01 November 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Hail to Hammer

I have yet to see it, and I'm not sure if I want to. I loved the original, and I really feel that remaking a film that is only a year or so old is heavily distasteful. It is completely unnecessary. A film already exists, watch that. ... More

Posted by bigbadbeasty at 08:16, 01 November 2010 | Report This Post


Hail to Hammer

When I found out Hammer were going to return to the big screen with a remake of Let the Right One In, I cringed. The film was too good, too recent and too popular (by Scando-standards at least) to warrant a simple scrubbing of the subtitles. I was wrong - this is an intelligent, moving and extremely atmospheric film about pubescent children warped by their 'families' and their environment, at once different from and faithful to Alfredson's vision. The vampiric element is metaphoric rather than d... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by The Whisper at 05:56, 01 November 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Slightly pointless

Oh dear God... ... More

Posted by Deviation at 03:34, 01 November 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Slightly pointless

L: Babelshark I was very impressed by 'Let the Right One in' but 'Let Me In' appears to be an almost identical version, made with the sole purpose of capitalising on the cerebral malaise which afflicts the pityful individuals who for some inexplicable reason, have an aversion to subtitles...or worse still - 'foreign' films! 'Let the Right One in' was beautiful,focussing predominantly on the developing friendship between two lonely and vulnerable social misfits within the context of far m... More

Posted by benskelly at 03:29, 01 November 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Unnecessary

Blah blah blah.  The original wasn't nearly as "perfect" as it's hysterical devotees make out.  Like the poster above, I was massively disappointed in the first movie after hearing all the hype.  I'm no fan of remakes, but in this case it didn't bother me because I thought yould tell what I think is an excellent story with a little more momentum, intensity and finesse.  The original had great moments but felt strangely flat overall.  And for anyone to complain about the... More

Posted by benskelly at 03:17, 01 November 2010 | Report This Post


Unnecessary

As soon as the credits began to roll, I said to myself "This film is completely unnecessary". It's a direct adaptation of the 2008 film, not the book as Matt Reeves stated, and ruins everything that made the original so special. The subtlety of the original is one of the main reasons why it is so good, but in Let Me In everything is just shoved down your throat and really dumbs down the story, which I hate in films anyway. I'm talking specifically about Abby's gender and the constan... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by MiaZappa at 16:59, 31 October 2010 | Report This Post


Slightly pointless

Deleted due to replication inadvertantly of above post. Sorry about that ! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Babelshark at 06:45, 27 October 2010 | Report This Post


Slightly pointless

I was very impressed by 'Let the Right One in' but 'Let Me In' appears to be an almost identical version, made with the sole purpose of capitalising on the cerebral malaise which afflicts the pityful individuals who for some inexplicable reason, have an aversion to subtitles...or worse still - 'foreign' films! 'Let the Right One in' was beautiful,focussing predominantly on the developing friendship between two lonely and vulnerable social misfits within the context of far more sinister events... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Babelshark at 06:33, 27 October 2010 | Report This Post


Previous pageMore user comments

SPECIAL FEATURE
The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time EMPIRE READERS' POLL: THE 301 GREATEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME
You turned out in your hundreds and thousands, and here are the results... Browse the full list


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Exclusive: Luc Besson Talks Lucy
'There is no bullshit with Scarlett Johansson'

Video: Daniel Radcliffe Talks What If...
On Gordon Ramsay, swearing and date movies

The 24 Best Film-Related Ice Bucket Challenges
The viral craze that won’t quit takes in some of Hollywood’s finest

Who Shot First? The Complete List Of Star Wars Changes
An exhaustive chronology of George Lucas' post-release tinkering

Gamescom 2014: The 10 Most Exciting Games
Zombies! Guns! Tombs! Sheep! Watch the trailers right here...

Who Is Mack Bolan? Your Guide To Cinema's New Action Man
As Bradley Cooper lines up to star as the hero, here's your handy guide to his story so far

Film Studies 101: A Film Buff's Guide To Movie Movements
Everything you need to know about cinema's key groups

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 6 Issues Of Empire For Only £15!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 6 issues of Empire for just £15!
Get the world's greatest movie magazine delivered straight to your door! Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)