Shortly after the success of the critically lauded Let the Right One In, the adaptation to Swedish author John Ajvide Lindqvist’s 2004 novel of the same name, a furious backlash in the film world ensued when it was announced that a Hollywood makeover was in the pipeline to be helmed by Cloverfield’s Matt Reeves.
Let the Right One In posed the opportunity for Kåre Hedebrant and Lina Leandersson (Oskar and Eli respectively) to kick-start an acting career whereas in the new version, the more experienced Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Road) and Kick-Ass’s Chloe Moretz took the reigns on Let me in as the renamed 12 year old Owen and Vampire next-door Abby, the setting switched from an 80s Sweden to an 80s New Mexico.
Following the basic plotline of Let the Right One In, Let Me In sees Owen, the child of divorcing, very distant parents and the subject of taunting and vicious bulling from the school’s hard kids, drifting through his friendless existence with a burning hatred for his classmates – longing for a sense of security that his mother and father haven’t consciously provided.
A night alone in his snowy council estate playground has Owen meeting Abby, his new neighbour who has caught his interest when he saw her moving in with her middle-aged supposed father. Intrigued by the weird Abby, Owen peruses her friendship. Together, while it is revealed that the man escorting Abby into their new flat is not her father, but in fact her ‘Protector’ who hunts for potential appetisers, leaving the community in panic as the body count mounts up, through all the chaos, Abby and Owen form an odd and unbreakable bond – the core of the modernised vamp tale.
Plucking a fair few lines of dialogue and shots form the 2008 Swedish hit (one being the climax of Let the Right One In, but having a lesser and more predictable impact if you have seen the original) hasn’t damned Reeves by critics; he and Let Me In have received overwhelmingly positive feedback, some even putting it on par with its predecessor but, most notably, heaping praise on the two child actors, who have proved to audiences that their turns in The Road and Kick-Ass were not all down to fluke: they have genuine talent and haven’t had to resort to appearing in Disney comedies to prove their worth.
There is the question whether Let Me In loses the ‘controversial’ factor by not including certain scenes that the Swedish novel and film had, and also, whether it should’ve tried to stick more to the formula of the book rather than being an adaptation of the two year old film, but where Let the Right One In is slower, allowing the viewer to revel in it’s captivating scenery and the quiet and disturbing atmosphere, Let Me In’s quicker pace bodes well for horror enthusiasts and an audience eager for a faster moving and bloodier film, trying to keep characterisation in check.
Loyal fans of Let the Right One In probably would give this a miss, but see for yourself if Let Me In has got the power to match up to undoubtedly, one of the best films of the decade.