LET ME IN Review

I have yet to see the original Swedish film on which "Let Me In" is a remake of. I completely intended to, especially with all the praise it received back in 2008 when it first came out, and certainly before I saw this version, but it just didn't happen that way. Upon viewing Matt Reeves interpretation of that movie though, I am anxious to watch the original to see the differences, if only for the sense of a filmmakers stance on how to copy while making it ones own. In comments I've read about the film, Reeves seems to have accomplished respecting the original while making his film stand firmly on its own, a task not easily accomplished these days. As for the film itself, it is a chilling tale of innocence and young love contrasted with brutal horrible acts of violence. It is strange, yet oddly fascinating the way the two work together. I am not hip to this whole vampire craze, but "Let Me In' is not simply an attempt to jump on the bandwagon. Its the one that sets the bar.
The fact it stars two very talented child actors in the lead roles doesn't hurt either. Kodi Smit-McPhee of "The Road" and the amazing Chloe Moretz of "Kick-Ass" create this sweet and heartfelt romance between two young pre-teens that blossoms from being the outcasts of a society and a school clique. The wrench in the machine is that the young girl isn't who she appears to be, in fact she is of the blood sucking type. And while it seems she would like nothing more than to abandon the traits that make her a vampire, she also seems to relish in the fact that she has this secret to hold over everyone. She feels good when she attacks and feeds off of the others blood. Richard Jenkins and Elias Koteas do fine work in supporting roles to enhance the 1980's era feel and their solemn and silent older characters serve as a strong contrast to the closeness of the younger ones. To make an original vampire flick though, you must have a truly compelling story and that is what sets this apart, really. The relevance of bullied children that yearning for revenge paired with the struggle of a young person trapped by these vampire limitations and the bond that creates while still carrying all the scary facets that come along with that character, it is full of possibilities and "Let Me In' deals with many of them in just the right tone.

Director Reeves pulls back from the violence, detaching us from the acts, but he shoves the aftermath in our faces. The blood on a young girls face signifying more than simply a requirement to live. It is one of many things you notice as you watch this well made horror film. It is a complete delight, an original take on what has become a tired genre as of late. You stay on the edge of your seat, hoping that this dark tale has some light at the end of its tunnel.