Review: Let Me In (2010)

Matt Reeves’ Let Me In is the second film to be adapted from John Ajvide Lindqvist’s acclaimed horror novel Let The Right One In; the first being Thomas Alfredson’s skilfully directed companion piece of the same name.

Let Me In is Reeves’ difficult second film following his debut Cloverfield, 2008’s found-footage smash-hit, and sees him tackling altogether different themes.

The story, for those not already aware, deals with a bullied young boy, played by Kodi-Smit McPhee, who befriends a young female vampire, played by Chloe Moretz, who lives in secrecy with her guardian.

In many ways, Let Me In feels darker and explicit than Let The Right One In, perhaps as it’s aimed squarely at the American horror market. Reeves’ version, although almost identical to Alfredson’s, is more accessible.

This is not necessarily something that benefits the film as a whole, as he relies too heavily on expensive, yet cheap-looking special effects and over-bearing, Americanised dialogue, which in turns makes the entire film feel like the exact thing Reeves was hoping to avoid, an American knock-off of a truly excellent foreign language horror film.

However, when it works, it works very well indeed. The sequences between Owen and Abby are subtle, honest and afflicting. Some of the horror sequences towards the beginning of the film work well in creating tension and providing chills.

Chloe Moretz and Kodi-Smit McPhee as Owen and Abby respectively, provide two of the most disturbing, restrained, afflicting and daring performances of the year. There chemistry and underlying troubles are captured perfectly by Reeves’ direction and convincingly by the dialogue.

Michael Giacchino’s score is sombre, moody and a masterpiece in it’s own right. Against the film, it fails to achieve it’s set goal and maintain the tension throughout the film’s tedious running time.

Let Me In undoubtedly struggles to match up to the cinematic masterpiece Let The Right One In is, even failing to meet it’s own purpose. Reeves tries valiantly to craft a individualistic adaptation, one that reignites the Hammer horror genre, but ultimately creates a cheap-looking, sometimes effective, showcase for two bright stars.

Let Me in is still a stunning piece of cinema at the heart, with some truly excellent performances and unnerving horror sequences. However, none of that excuses the terrible, Americanised dialogue and over-used special effects. It felt far too meticulous at times, which is a shame, as it certainly possessed the potential to be quite magnificent.

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