Thursday, March 17, 2011

"Let Me In" is beautiful and dark

Having seen the original, I was both excited and leery to watch this film.  I think of the original as one of the best vampire movies I have ever seen.  I had heard that Matt Reeves ("Cloverfield") actually did a pretty good job.  I still had my doubts.  The original was a slow paced, bleak look at the awkwardness of adolescence.  Not exactly the type of film you would expect to come out of a director who had made a killer summer action movie.  An impressive cast made it all the more intriguing.  However there was still this lingering doubt in my mind.  Well I finally got around to watching it last night.  I am glad to say I was very wrong to doubt.

Transitioning from a young child to a teenager comes with all sorts of issues.  There are many changes to your body, you start to have an interest in the opposite sex, in fact ALL of your hormones are making things generally difficult for you.  Throw into that mix a bully at school and you have about 75% of the youth I knew growing up.  Now imagine you meet an interesting girl who moves in next door...who just happens to be a vampire.  Then you have all the aspects of this brilliant tale originally from Sweden.

The original film, "Let The Right One In", was a moody piece of film that had washed out color and a slow burn storyline.  It takes some balls to try and make that exact same film here in the states.  With people's attention spans averaging a nanosecond the average moviegoer will NOT enjoy this film.  If you love movies, this will be a pure delight.  It is set in 1983 with a great soundtrack, brilliant use of set and color, and great wardrobe.  The color pallet is so muted, it seems bright.  It reminds me of looking at an old Polaroid from back in the day.  The tone is amped just right.  You FEEL for all of these characters. The story isn't fast paced.  It takes it's time to develop.  The movie is longer than it REALLY needs to be but it is in the length that the beauty really can take hold.

I must applaud the two lead youngsters that made this film so special. Australian Kodi Smit-Mcphee ("The Road") and Chloe Moretz ("Kick-Ass") are perfectly cast.  I really love it when you can get two young actors to just relax and be themselves on-screen.  Their performances never really seemed too forced.  Kodi does a great job at being a geeky outcast and Chloe does a great job as a seemingly young child who has really been around for centuries.  Imagine trying to have an adults knowing eyes in a child's body and you get the look Chloe achieved for this picture.  The supporting cast in equally as talented.  Richard Jenkins ("The Visitor", "Six Feet Under") shows up as the old watcher of Chloe.  He has the task of going out to find prey and killing them far from the two of them so as not to attract too much attention.  Elias Koteas ("Shutter Island", "TMNT") plays the detective who has to figure out the mystery of all these new bodies that keep showing up.  Even the bullies (Dylan Minnette, Jimmy 'Jax' Pinchak, and Nicolai Dorian) are spot on.

A talented cast, a great look, and a beautiful story.  What else can you ask for in a "horror" film.  I do wish that Mr. Reeves would have given more credit to the original film.  Many of the decor choices are exact duplicates seen in the original film.  There is some originality, but for him to not mention that he had seen the other film and that it influenced him would be an outright lie.  But don't let that stop you from seeing this.  Or the original for that matter.  This film had to live up to high expectations.  I am happy to say it met them all.

9 out of 10 stars

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