Let Me In far exceeds expectations

Owen and Abby meet on the jungle gym in Matt Reeves' Let Me InWhen people heard director Matt Reeves was remaking Let The Right One In, the popular vampire movie from Sweden, there was an immediate uproar. People were afraid it would be Americanized and dumbed down. I was skeptical as well. Based on the previous work of Reeves, I felt Let Me In would definitely be a disappointment. I was wrong.

Let Me In is a terrific film and really raises the bar for vampire movies. And yes, it is a vampire movie, just not the kind we’re accustomed to in America. This is a vampire movie made right. With Let Me In we see what it’s really like to live the life of a vampire through the eyes of 12-year-old Abby (Chloe Grace Moretz).

The life of a vampire isn’t glamorous at all like many movies and television shows lead us to believe these days. It’s a life of loneliness. It’s a life of isolation. Abby is unable to spend time with others because of her unique difference. It’s quite sad and depressing.

Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee) is a 12-year-old boy who also lives a life in isolation, but for very different reasons. His parents are going through a divorce and don’t pay much attention to him, at least not any real attention, and he’s bullied at school by a group of school yard hoodlums.

Owen and Abby eventually meet in the courtyard of their apartment complex. Abby is the new kid and Owen is curious about her. Abby tells Owen they can’t be friends, but that doesn’t stop the two from continuing to meet in the courtyard. Despite Abby’s warning, they quickly become the best of friends.

This is what this film is about. It’s about the relationship between Abby and Owen and how it changes and grows. Yes, I said it’s a vampire movie, and it is, but it’s more than that. It’s about two lonely 12-year-olds that need each other. Owen needs Abby to teach him to fight back when the bullies and school pick on him and Abby needs Owen to survive.

Reeves did an incredible job directing and writing this remake. It’s very true to the original. The pacing is slow, which helps build the drama. The violence comes in quick spurts and is really few and far between. The mood is incredibly dark and heavy. Reeves is able to make you jump in your seat without doing much. Less is more. The tension is thick. Let Me In takes place in the 80’s, but with the tone set by Reeves, there’s a strong gothic feel.

The performances from the two leads are remarkable. Smit-McPhee and Moretz shine in roles that are very complex at mature for actors their age. Moretz seems to grow every time she takes the screen. There’s not enough that can be said about her. Smit-McPhee is equally impressive and Richard Jenkins delivers another outstanding role as the guardian of young Abby.

Let Me In is a film I hope people find the time to see. I think they will, but I’m not sure how it’ll be received. The previews and trailers make it look like something it’s not. This country expects either mindless violence or brainless high school prancing around. This film has neither of these. This is a coming of age story. This is the story of two lonely children that find the compassion they need. This is a story that deserves to be heard.

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Chris Coffel

My name is Chris Coffel from Phoenix, Arizona. I love film and the Phoenix Suns. I write movie reviews for Trashwire and write about the Phoenix Suns for Downtown Phoenix Journal. I'm also the co-host of a movie podcast focusing on fringe cinema, the Dark of the Matinee. Please subscribe to my show on iTunes. I write about the Suns here: downtownphoenixjournal.com I make movies here: youtube.com/phxpro I talk about movies here: facebook.com/darkofthematineepodcast

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