Let Me In
Director: Matt Reeves
Stars: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Chloe Grace Moretz, Richard Jenkins
Review by Brian M. Sammons
Now this was a great film, and chances are, you didn’t go see it. I say that based on the woeful numbers of tickets it sold while it was at the theater. I guess I can blame some of that on a less than stellar media campaign. I mean, I know quite a few non-horrorhead friends that never heard of it and didn’t know it had already been and gone at the local Cineplex. However if you are a horrorhead, and I am assuming you are since you’re reading this, then shame, shame, shame on you! You had to have known about this movie and you still didn’t go see it? Look, I know money is tight, but with all the fright-less, clueless, uncreative, watered-down crap we get under the banner of “horror,” when a movie like this comes out and gets kicked in the teeth, well that just pisses me off.
Want to know why?
Ok, let’s count down the reasons why you let the horror world down by not going to see this film.
Before we get into the horror-centric reasons, let’s tackle the question of good movie making in general. Let Me In is well directed, very well acted, and filled with beautiful cinematography so it’s just plain good looking. Those three key parts to good film making are rare for any film, but even more so for genre films. Such things should be celebrated, not avoided.
But hey, you want to talk about rare? Ok, how’s this: Let Me In is a remake and it is as good, and in some ways better, then the original movie. When was the last time you could say that? More on that in a bit, but let’s continue to count down the reasons you should feel bad for not supporting this film with your hard earned money.
It’s a vampire movie that doesn’t suck! That right there is groundbreaking these days. The vamps you find in this movie are not misunderstood, sparkly, sexy, “you don’t understand my pain” crybabies. While I am bored silly, not to mention quite depressed, with the vast majority of vampire flicks that come out now, it’s great to see a film that still gets it that vampires … are … monsters! While they can have traces of humanity left, it would really suck to be one of those lifeless, cold, undying parasites, not neato cool like many of today’s stories and films would have you believe.
But here is one last reason any serious horror fan should hang their head in shame for not seeing this movie; it’s the first film from Hammer Films in a long, long time. Now if you have to ask who or what is Hammer Films then stop reading, turn in your horrorhead car, and just get out of here. Ok yes, I’m kidding, but not by much. Maybe you’re a young’un and you’re not totally up on your Horror History 101, but Hammer Films was the name for horror flicks in the 60s and 70s. I won’t say that it made the careers of such genre giants as Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee, but it certainly cemented them in the hallowed halls of horror fame. So now here comes Hammer’s first fright film in many, many years and you missed it? Boy, don’t you feel like a schmuck?
Now if you are one of the few that went and saw this at the theater, then forget all that I just wrote and consider yourself one of the good guys (or gals). But if you did miss this flick at the show then rejoice, you can make up that grievous oversight by getting this Blu-ray when it comes out February 1st.
But despite my ranting and raving above, should you get it?
Well the story is as simple as it is well done. In a snow-bound town there is a lonely, bullied boy named Owen. So mercilessly picked on is he, that he’s well on his way to become something horrible. As fate would have it, something horrible has just moved in next door to him. While it may look like a cute little twelve-year-old girl, Abby is far more ancient and evil. She’s a vampire and she and her “father” have come to town to lay low, and of course, kill for blood. In short order Owen and Abby become friends, and perhaps something more, but to tell you more of the story would be to ruin the surprises, so I won’t.
I will mention a few of the things I liked so much about this movie. First there’s the faceless mother. During the entirety of this film you never once see her face. You see her shape and hear her voice but never her face, which is a subtle way of showing how she fits into Owen’s life. The cinematography is great and it showcases the cold desolation and isolation of the landscape which is fitting symbolism for both Owen and Abby. Speaking of the kiddies, the acting is amazingly well done and this is coming from a guy who usually hates child actors. Both young Kodi and Chloe have the daunting task of carrying this movie on their little shoulders and they do remarkably well. Furthermore Director Matt Reeves shows that he can make a “real” movie, as his only previous work was directing TV shows and the Video-cam-tastic Cloverfield.
This Blu-ray, brought out by Anchor Bay, has a nice selection of special features and extras to offer the discriminating horrorhead. There’s a behind the scenes featurette that runs about seventeen minuets, another spotlighting the CGI special effects, of which I must admit I am not a fan, one showcasing the impressive car crash, of which I am a fan, and then the usual deleted scenes, trailers, poster gallery, and director’s commentary. The neatest extra it has is a picture in picture video track that pops up from time to time while you watch the film to offer tidbits and inside info from many of the cast, crew, producers, and the director of the movie. This is a Blu-ray exclusive feature, so if you need another reason to get this disc in High Def, other than it looking gorgeous, hopefully that will do it for you.
I can both easily and highly recommend this movie. If more remakes were made with this much care, style, and reverence for the source material I won’t really have a problem with the Hollywood remake train. Well, not as big of a problem. Let Me In is a well made, well acted, well written vampire film that remembers that vampires aren’t supposed to be sexy, but cold blooded killers. What’s not to love?