Let Me In is a dark remake of the 2008 vampire film Let the Right One In. The plot follows the developing friendship between a young boy and a girl with a cryptic past. The setting works wonders for the film, set in a snow-powdered New Mexico, where darkness sets in early and there aren’t many neighbors snooping around.
The actors do remarkable job, even among the minimal number of lines—no easy feat for child actors. Chloe Moretz (Kick-Ass) makes a perfect vampire (Abby), with an innocent smile, gentle eyes, and a ready-to-kill disposition. Kodi Smit-McPhee, who was marvelous as the boy in John Hillcoat’s adaptation of The Road, plays Owen with a quiet thoughtfulness, carefully studying his environment.
Let Me In is not afraid to dabble around Freudian issues, much like the film and subsequent novel it is based on. It is not difficult to find ties to Freud’s theories on the uncanny castration, gender identification, and relationships between children and their parents. The stress between Owen and his mother is obvious—the audience never even directly sees her face. The movie simply begs to be critically analyzed from a Freudian perspective.
There is one major question this film raises, and it’s not one to be taken lightly. Why was this film necessary? Let the Right One In hasn’t even been out for three years, and it received both critical and box office accolades. Matt Reeves (Cloverfield) does nearly nothing new with the source material, except for translating the dialogue into English and making the Freudian references more blatant.
Horror films have an unfortunate history with remakes. Whether it is Gus Van Sant’s shot-by-shot facsimile of Psycho, Michael Haneke’s Americanized version of his own Funny Games, or the various Wes Craven and John Carpenter remakes that seem to be getting regurgitated again and again, very seldom is anything new presented to movie-goers. Let Me In is no exception.
While this movie would be very enjoyable to any audience who is not familiar with Let the Right One In, I cannot allow myself to present this film with a favorable rating. For anybody considering watching this film, I give you this advice: see the original, or, at least, see the original first. Let Me In is nothing more than a film that imitates the original film, with too few offerings of originality. Where there should be creativity and art there is nothing more than plagiarism.