Francesca Rudkin is an entertainment reviewer for NZ Herald.

Movie Review: Let Me In

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Rating: 4/5
Verdict: As far as remakes go, it's unexpectedly good.

Swedish director Tomas Alfredson's macabre romance Let the Right One In was an artful, unique, deeply disturbing and yet touching vampire film. Unexpectedly, so too is director Matt Reeves' (Cloverfield) Hollywood remake Let Me In.

Reeves has made a few tweaks and added CGI enhancements, but overall he has remained faithful to the original thriller's story (based on the novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist), and retained its dark tone and measured pace.

It is hardly even a remake, as though Reeves has cheekily chosen to just ditch the subtitles in the hope of appealing to a wider, more mainstream audience.

The film remains set in the 80s and Alfredson's set design and locations have inspired Reeves' own vision as he translates this film from Swedish to English by transporting it from a bleak, generic apartment block in a snow-covered suburb of Stockhom to a bleak, generic apartment block in a snow covered suburb of New Mexico.

One of the most important aspects to get right was the casting of the young lead characters.

Their relationship is at the heart of this coming of age story, and Reeves nails it. Owen played by Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Road) is a lonely, bullied 12-year-old who befriends his new neighbour, Abby, played by Chloe Moretz (Kick-Ass).

Abby, accompanied by a man we presume to be her father (Richard Jenkins), is also 12 and, as it turns out, is a rather thirsty vampire.

The protective, tender friendship that develops between these two outcasts is awkward and sweet, and a great contrast to the violent, gruesome supernatural elements of the story.

It's this mix of romance and horror that worked well in the original, and by avoiding turning this into a fast-paced typical Hollywood horror, Reeves has managed to retain that magic.

The suspense levels are high and there are a few truly horrific moments, but Let Me In is best and at its most disturbing if you are unfamiliar with the story. There's no need to see this film if you've seen Alfredson's slightly better, less obvious version, but comparisons aside, this is still an intense and well-crafted thriller.

If you find the whole teen vampire craze tiresome and you're looking for vampire film with a little more bite, then Let Me In should satisfy your appetite.

Cast: Chloe Moretz, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Richard Jenkins
Director: Matt Reeves
Running time: 115 mins
Rating: R16 (Contains violence, offensive language and horror)

- TimeOut

- NZ Herald

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