Hammer films is back. The venerable British Horror Film House stopped producing films in the eighties but now they’ve brought us an incredible version of the Swedish vampire film Let the Right One In. Ok I’m not being paid to shovel bullshit for the Exclusive Media Group. These guys bought up Hammer to peddle the library for remakes. They were smart enough to snap up the book rights to “Lat den Ratte Komme In” and clever enough to claim their movie isn’t a remake but an original adaptation of the book. The original director Thomas Alfredson gets cut out of the creative credit and more importantly a slice of the financial pie. Hollywood is a cynical place, it’s pretty obvious that Matt Reeves watched Let the Right One In closely and that’s what makes Let Me In a great movie.
I’m not a remake snob. I can think of a few remakes that were better than the original; Scarface and Cape Fear being two examples of great movies that were remade into incredible movies. I’m still wondering why they remade Psycho, The Longest Yard, The Day the Earth Stood Still, and Invasion of the Body Snatchers. I didn’t even see Rob Zombie’s Halloween and the only saving grace of House of Wax was that Paris Hilton got murdered. Usually remakes suck but Let Me In will probably be the highlight of the fall movie season.
It all revolves around the creation of a psycho serial killer. If you’re a kiddy vampire life is tough and you need a special kind of human pal. Owen (Cody Smit McPhee) is a kid with problems, his mom is passed out drunk and his father is a voice on the phone. He’s a little psycho, “Do you Like that LITTLE GIRL” He screams at the mirror with a mask on while stabbing with a knife. He’s always alone playing with his Rubik’s cube. Of course something bad is going to happen.
Someone is watching Owen. Even while the camera plays on Owen watching everyone else we get the feeling that someone is watching Owen. It’s Abby (Chloe Moretz) and her helper is getting old so she needs a new one. Has she been plotting to replace “The Father” (Richard Jenkins) from frame one of the movie? It’s the kind of cinematic intimation that’s more chilling that buckets of blood and you know there will be lots of blood coming up because hell she’s a vampire.
Chloe Moretz is the girl who played the foul mouthed killer Hit Girl in Kick Ass. She’s good at playing childlike with adult overtones and that’s just what the character Abbey needs. Vampire movies are seldom so good at portraying the manipulative creature beneath the human mask. By the end of the movie you’re not buying into anything but the idea that Abbey is a fucking monster who just worked over a human who thinks he’s loved and cared for. Unlike in the Swedish version where it’s just hinted at Abbey is a brutal beast when she needs blood. In our American version we get a full loving bloody scare when Abbey feeds. It’s one hell of a lot more disturbing that anything Hit Girl does and I worry a little bit about Chloe Moretz crawling around inside characters like this. Not enough that it gets in the way of my recognition of an incredible performance. Screw the sparkle vamps, Abby is the new standard for vampires whether she’s Swedish or American.
Do me a favor and go see the original too. It’s on streaming Netflix and you’ll see how much credit Thomas Alfredson deserves. Don’t keep how great Let the Right One In is from seeing Let Me In though. It might be the best movie of 2010.
Hooray for screwing sparkle vamps! I am so sick of those damn things that bringing a real monster to the screen is exactly what we need right now. I can’t wait to see this, but yes, I should watch the original. I’m a bad movie watcher.
The book apparently makes it clear that the master vampire was/is a pedophile. He not only turns Abby/Eli into a vampire but castrates him as well turning him into this girlish creature. It’s also clearer that “The Father” is being controlled and manipulated through his pedophilia.
Yeah, a real psychological thriller with a vampire that is the monster they are. That is the cool part right there. No gentleman vampires with butlers, no emo spewing angst filled teenagers obsessed with high school sexcapades. I like the monster. That is the scary part. The movie looks good, gonna have to watch it.
The whole cute looking kid form hiding the monster inside really makes the vampire revelations awful.
I saw the original on Netflix recently. I do so love Netflix. It was definitely a strange movie, but definitely good. I didn’t even know they were doing a remake. The original was definitely messed up and disturbing…you know, the way vampire movies are supposed to be.
Messed up and disturbing is the word for it. Did you catch the part where she lifts up her dress? Apparently we’re supposed to understand that it’s a little boy that’s been castrated there only I’m not sure you get that unless you’ve been reading Vampire books in Swedish.
Sangfroid, this post is awesome! I have really become annoyed with the news trends in modern vampires and that movie looks so good. I really hope you will do more posts like this as we head in to the Halloween season…I love horror movies!!!
I find the movies this year disappointing. There are more than a few movies you can get streaming on Netflix that I’d rather review than what’s appearing in theaters. Suggestions will be happily noted.
Jenny says you’re the one that told her to tell me to see the original so thanks James. I really love Let the Right One In. When I get three different recommendations from differing sources I should know it’s going to be great.
I STILL CAN’T PAY YOU!
It’s not the salary so much as the press pass drawn in crayon………
his SWEATY FEET are enormous…………..DISGUSTING!!!!
“Despite the gloomy box-office forecast for “Let Me In,” however, there is a silver lining for the 2008 Swedish original. With all the buzz over the American remake, interest in “Let the Right One In” has surged on home video. “We’ve seen a nice uptick over the last couple weeks,” says Tom Quinn, senior vice president of Magnolia Pictures, which holds U.S. rights to the foreign-language title. “For example, the film has regained the top horror spot on iTunes for both rental and sell-through,” he adds. “You can’t beat that.”” -WSJ