Viewed – 11 November 2010 Cinema
I immediately went into this movie at a disadvantage. You see, I am a big fan of the original Swedish version Let The Right One In, of which this is the American remake, and despite my best intentions, found myself comparing both movies scene for scene. But I digress, as this second adaptation of the best-selling Vampire novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist stars latest hot property Chloe Moretz as Abbie, a lonely new arrival to a housing complex who befriends bullied young boy Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee) when they meet at night in the local courtyard. Yet Abbie is no ordinary girl, and is hiding a dark secret – yes you got it people, she’s a vampire! Watched over by her father / guardian who kills local youths to obtain blood, Abbie & Owen’s friendship soon develops into a rather sweet love story, albeit unconventional and only her blood sucking urges threaten to tear them apart.
Matt Reeves’ remake offers a perfectly acceptable interpretation of the novel, again like the Swedish movie glossing over some of the darker aspects of the plot, with a credible cast including Elias Kotias as the local Sheriff investigating a series of murders, and a foreboding, wintry atmosphere that perfectly sets the scene. Taken on its own merits the movie is gripping with some good moments (the car-crash especially standing out) and great Vampire action. Chloe Moretz is good but not as star-making as her previous break-out performance as Hit Girl in Kick-Ass. More impressive is Smit-McPhee who offers great vulnerability, innocence and likability, far removed by the otherwise oddball character of Oscar in the original. Moretz pales in comparison to Lina Leandersson however, who was every bit the gothic weird girl, and remains a little too cute to fully convince. The story brings little new to proceedings but for a new opening and more reference to Abbie’s father’s background. Otherwise this is shot for shot material with stand-out moments from the original failing to have similar impact – and it’s not through my familiarity – they’re just not done as skillfully as I had previously seen. Oh and the subtletly is completely missing, with many moments overblown and sensationalised. Treating the viewer as stupid more often than not. It’s the 80s!! She’s a vampire!! Etc.
Still, I think quite a few people will enjoy this as the story is still great and the performances above average, but if like me you were a fan of Let The Right One In, or even a casual admirer … this can only disappoint.
Verdict: 3 /5