Let Me In (15)
Time Out rating:
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Time Out says
Tue Nov 2 2010Tomas Alfredson’s moody Swedish fairy tale ‘Let the Right One In’ (2008) monitored the ruinous friendship between two children, the twist being that one was the victim of bullying at school and the other was hungry for human blood. American director Matt Reeves has decided to follow up his meta-monster movie ‘Cloverfield’ by heading to John Ajvide Lindqvist’s ripe source novel for a macabre English-language retooling of the material.
He relocates the story to a housing project in New Mexico circa 1983, where David Bowie’s ‘Let’s Dance’ is heard wafting from open windows. Once again, the story concerns the pre-teen, winterlight mutual crush between pallid social outcast Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee) and the feral, blood-lusting, sad-eyed Abby (Chloe Moretz). And once again, both performers are pitch-perfect.‘Let Me In’ is a more recognisable horror genre movie, though, replete with stylised set-pieces, scenes of splenetic violence and a lovely milky twilight look.
Some members of the horror cognoscenti have not been charmed by this new version, but I felt this film trumped the original in a number of ways, notably by tapping in to deeper and more obscure emotions concerning the ways in which a child would interpret romantic attraction. It also urges us to question whether the bond between these youngsters is love, or something more sinister and domineering. It’s also interesting that Reeves – unlike Alfredson – opts to make Abby’s victims anonymous, so we’re not invited to sympathise with her just because she’s killing unlikeable characters: if anything, it makes her situation all the more tragic. But perhaps the new film’s greatest coup is that it refuses to romanticise childhood loneliness, framing these troubled tweens as a product of their estrangement rather than cute nonconformists blazing a violent trail.
Author: David Jenkins