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Fantastic Fest 2010: Let Me In

Let Me In
Directed by  Matt Reeves

This review is (sorry) for people who have seen the original.  There are two other reviews up on this site for the uninitiated:

Since the production of Let Me In was announced, the general consensus of Let The Right One In fans has been that Matt Reeves and Hammer Films got some serious ‘splainin to do. Matt Reeves’ second film, while fantastic in its own right, simply doesn’t provide a convincing justification for its existence.  Credit due–this really is an extraordinary movie and one of the best American horror films of the past decade. Matt Reeves, I do believe, is a very intelligent and respectful filmmaker.  And if Let Me In deviated from the original slightly more, it might even be possible to analyze it in a vacuum. But as it stands, the tiny differences are impossible to ignore (spoilers coming). The relationship between Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee) and Abby (Chloë Moretz) isn’t quite strange or sinister enough to justify the ending; the turning of a female neighbor, so perfectly explored in the original, is here a subplot that exists merely to direct us to the infamous hospital fire scene (which isn’t nearly as effective here); the ambiguity of “The Father”’s (Richard Jenkins) history is erased–he is, case closed, one in a possibly endless cycle of Owens; Abby is definitely a girl; when Abby attacks she doesn’t look like a tiny ball of evil, she looks like a computer animation.

If these seem like nitpicks, it’s because they are. But this is where the film differentiates itself, and mostly to its detriment. The two ways Let Me In succeeds where its predecessor did not involve a scene with Richard Jenkins in a car and Michael Giacchino on score duty. But, all nitpicking aside, and forgetting Sweden even exists for a moment, Let Me In is a triumph. I have not seen American actors of Smit-McPhee and Moretz’s generation act better than they do here, and their relationship is fascinating to watch. There is terror here, and there is heartache. Perhaps, when this gets a wide release this weekend, those of us with hang ups can stop worrying that it is a slightly faded carbon copy and move on to being astonished and excited that such a delicate, beautiful horror film is getting so much attention.

Emmett Duff

Visit the official website for Fantastic Fest 2010