Let Me In a welcome remake

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LET ME IN

By Matt Brunson

LET ME IN

***

DIRECTED BY Matt Reeves

STARS Kodi Smit-McPhee, Chloe Grace Moretz

The world needed an immediate remake of Sweden's 2008 Let the Right One In about as much as it needed another vampire flick, yet the good news is that Let Me In can hardly be construed as a shoddy, cash-in-quick product. Crafted with extreme care by writer-director Matt Reeves (Cloverfield), this is that rare retelling that pays the utmost respect to its predecessor — I'd be hard-pressed to single out even one frame that cheapens the memory of the original.

As before, the setting is an apartment complex in a frozen environment (here, Los Alamos, NM), where lonely young Owen (The Road's Kodi Smit-McPhee) notices he has new neighbors in the form of Abby (Chloe Grace Moretz of Kick-Ass) and a man he assumes is her father (Richard Jenkins). Picked on by bullies and exhibiting some disturbing character traits himself, Owen is happy to become friends with this strange girl who doesn't like candy and can only hang out with him at night.

Reeves largely sticks close to the look and tone of the first film, but not in the annoying manner of Gus Van Sant's atrocious Psycho remake. Reeves is clearly thinking for himself, and while his slight altercations result in a picture not quite as powerful as its predecessor (particularly during the climax, a mesmerizing piece of filmmaking in the '08 take), he's to be commended for creating a film that ably stands on its own. Still, for all of Reeves' accomplishments, the most thrilling aspect of Let Me In is that it's the first movie in 31 years from Hammer Film Productions, the studio responsible for many of the horror classics of the 1950s and '60s. With Let Me In, the revered company has risen from the grave in impressive fashion.

(For our review of the original Let the Right One In, go here.)

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