Let Me In Starring:
Kodi Smit-McPhee, Chloe Moretz, Richard Jenkins Directed by:
Matt Reeves Written by:
Matt Reeves, John Ajvide Lindqvist Studio:
Starz/Anchor Bay Rated:
116 Minutes Release Date:
February 1, 2011 Movie:
In recent years, we've been bombarded by vampire books, movies and TV shows. Despite their apparent popularity, there's still no denying that they don't always resonate with everyone. Maybe the genre could benefit from some "new blood." In steps Let Me In,
a visually aesthetic representation of the 2008 Swedish vampire film Let The Right One In
which was based on the book of the same name written by John Ajvide Lindqvist.
The date: 1983. An ambulance among a caravan of police cars races across the desert transporting an unidentified subject to a Los Alamos, New Mexico hospital. After arriving, a police detective (Elias Koteas) asks to see the patient alone. The patient is horribly disfigured and unable to speak. The detective hands the unidentified patient a pen and paper, suggesting that he save everyone some time by writing down anything the police should know. He promises that he'll eventually discover the subject's identity. At this moment, a nurse informs the detective that the receptionist downstairs is on the phone for him. It's a urgent call. The patient's daughter is downstairs. The detective leaves to take the call, but while on the phone, we hear a nurse's scream. The detective races back to the room only to find that the subject has lept from the tenth floor window to his death. The words "I'm sory Abby" (sic) are scrawled across the paper that the detective left.
We flash back two weeks earlier. Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee) is a lonely, slightly disturbed and often scared 12-year-old little boy. Forced to deal with neglect from his divorced parents, and extreme abuse from a group of bullies at school, Owen sometimes reenacts armed retaliation against the bullies after his mother drinks herself to sleep. A friend might be just what Owen needs.
One day, Owen notices a young girl (Chloe Moretz) and middle-aged man that appears to be her father (Richard Jenkins) moving in next door. The next day while practicing self defense, Owen meets Abby (Moretz). She advises him to fight back against the bullies, but if he's unable to defend himself, she promises to help him. Despite Abby's firm assessment that the two can't be friends, a strong relationship between Owen and Abby is obviously forming. They make plans to talk to each other through their shared apartment wall using Morse code, but instead, Owen overhears an argument between Abby and her father. Later, Owen asks Abby what they were fighting about, but Abby won't tell him. Determined to bring the two closer together, Owen cuts his finger in an attempt to convince Abby to do the same so that their friendship can be bound in blood. But, as drops of Owen's blood hits the floor, Abby loses control. Frantically, she drops to her knees to lick up the blood. With glowing, evil eyes peering just under the sharp line of her brow, Abby hisses through snarled, blood-soaked teeth for Owen to run away. Terrified, but seemingly intrigued, Owen runs with his first realization that Abby is, in fact, a vampire.
The mutualism relationship that develops between Owen and Abby is very enthralling as both find that they hate their current situation in life. Together they help one another and thus begins a cycle of sorts. This dynamic along with some very frightening scenes and spectacular performances by both Smit-McPhee and Moretz provide the backdrop for one of the more surprising offerings of the year. Let Me In
breaks new ground, is beautifully filmed and brilliantly combines the value of friendship with both the horrors of real life and vampires; effectively reinvigorating the genre. Rating:
Rated R for strong bloody horror violence, language and a brief sexual situation. Video: Let Me In
is presented with a 1080p MPEG 4 AVC video codec at an aspect ratio of 2.40:1. There is a very apparent style of filming from the very opening scene that permeates throughout. What may be mistaken as softness is really an artistic decision to film with exaggerated points of focus forcing you to look at what the director intends. Areas in focus exhibit high detail with skin pores and clothing threads drawing your eye while the environment falls back in a murky blur. As the focus pans from foreground to background, the director intentionally moves your eye across your display from one point of focus to the next. Some of these scenes may border on distraction, but most are exquisitely handled. One of my favorites is how Owen's mother is always draped in blurriness. She represents such a minor detail in Owen's otherwise complicated life, so this artistic decision speaks volumes. Darks for the most part are inky black, but the majority of the film features a low contrast approach typical of horror movies. Skin tones seem cold, but probably intentionally so due to the contrast level. Snow is everywhere and the majority of the movie takes place at night which brings me to another aspect of the artistic direction that I really enjoyed. During almost all of these scenes there is an oversaturated orangey light cast from various sources that produces an eerie feel throughout. This is far from a perfect video transfer and at first I rated it 4 stars, but after writing the video portion, I realize how much I appreciated the beautiful creative direction and thus explains the half-star increase. Audio:
This uncompressed 5.1 Dolby True HD track is conservative for the most part. Much of the audio comes from the front soundstage with the center channel at the forefront. Dialogue is consistently well represented from whispers to excellent dynamic range during high volume sequences. That said, the surrounds really come to life when the moment calls for them. Cross channel panning is effective as a train moves across your display, and is very impressive during the pool scene towards the end. Ambient effects are also used effectively, for examples, to help create a bustling hospital, sounds from the adjacent apartment opposite a shared wall, and the wind blowing right in your ear and then abruptly stopping as the camera enters a tunnel. LFEs are sparingly used, but pack a nice punch when utilized. The film's score is also a winner supporting frightening visuals with immersive and creepy background audio. The 80's hits may also bring a smile to your face. Not quite demo-quality, but the Let Me In
audio track does everything well and very effectively adds to an eerie experience. Extras:
Overall: Let Me In
- Audio Commentary
- From the Inside: A Look at the Making of Let Me In
- The Art of Special Effects
- Car Crash Sequence Step-By-Step
- Picture-in-Picture Exclusive: Dissecting Let Me In
- Deleted Scenes with optional Writer/Director commentary
- Poster & Still Gallery
- Anchor Bay Trailers
- Digital Copy
- Let Me In: Crossroads- (A Comic Book)
is a remake. Normally this is strike one. It's also a vampire movie. OK, let's say foul-tip. 0-2. But lucky for Anchor Bay, the beautifully artistic direction from Matt Reeves and sensational acting from Smit-McPhee and Moretz allow this vampire remake to dig in and turn on a hanging curve ball, taking it deep for a home run. This horror film goes so much deeper than the simple concept of vampires out for human blood. It turns the mirror on real life exposing the horrors some children are faced with every day. Divorce, alcoholism, social acceptance, physical and sexual abuse among other things prove to be no match against friendship, even when it's coming from the most unexpected of sources. Let Me In
should be a welcome surprise even for viewers with high hopes, and comes with my recommendation.