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.