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.