Monday, 12 March 2012

Let me in (2010)

Let Me In is a 2010 American romantic horror film directed by Matt Reeves and starring Kodi Smit-McPhee and Chloë Grace Moretz. It is based on the 2008 Swedish film Let the Right One In (Låt den rätte komma in), directed by Tomas Alfredson, and the novel of the same name by John Ajvide Lindqvist. It tells the story of a bullied 12-year-old boy who develops a friendship with a vampire child in Los Alamos, New Mexico in the early 1980s.

Interest in producing an English version of Let the Right One In began in 2007 shortly before it was released to audiences. In 2008, Hammer Films acquired the rights for the English adaptation and initially offered Tomas Alfredson, the director of the Swedish film, the opportunity to direct, which he declined. Matt Reeves was then signed to direct and write the screenplay. Reeves made several changes for the English version such as altering the setting from Stockholm to New Mexico and renaming the lead characters. The film's producers stated that their intent was to keep the plot similar to the original, yet make it more accessible to a wider audience. Principal photography began in early November 2009, and concluded in January 2010. The film's budget was estimated to be $20 million.

Let Me In premiered at the Toronto Film Festival on September 13, 2010 and was opened wide in North America on October 1, 2010. The film received highly positive reviews from critics, becoming one of the best critically reviewed films of 2010 and was placed on several critics' top-ten list. Many critics noted it as a rare Hollywood remake which stayed true to the original film from which it was based, while some criticized it for being too similar to the Swedish film in light of Reeves promoting the film as being a new take on the original novel. The film earned $24 million in box office revenue worldwide, of which $12 million was earned in the United States and Canada. Chloë Moretz won several awards for her performance with critics praising the on-screen chemistry with her co-star, Kodi Smit-McPhee. Let Me In was released on DVD and Blu-ray in North America on February 1, 2011 and in the UK on March 14, 2011. An official comic book miniseries prequel titled Let Me In: Crossroads was released after the film which establishes the back-story of Abby and ends where the theatrical film begins.

The Plot

In 1983 Los Alamos, New Mexico, a police detective (Elias Koteas) enters the hospital room of a disfigured man and tries to question him about a recent murder for which he is a suspect. The detective concludes by telling the suspect that he will catch whoever else he is in league with; the detective is then called to take a phone call outside the room and is told that the man's daughter is downstairs. While he is on the phone, a scream is heard, and the detective finds that the suspect has fallen out of the window to his death.

Flashback two weeks earlier, Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee) is an unhappy and lonely 12-year-old boy, who is neglected by his divorcing parents, and continually harassed at school by bullies. One evening, when Owen is alone in the courtyard of his apartment complex, he is approached by Abby (Chloë Grace Moretz), a girl who has moved into the apartment next door. Abby tells Owen that they cannot be friends, but regardless, she and Owen grow closer and start communicating by Morse code through the walls of their apartments. At school, the main bully, Kenny (Dylan Minnette), scars Owen with an antenna rod; when Abby finds out, she tells him to defend himself and she will help him if needed.

Abby's "father", Thomas (Richard Jenkins), occasionally goes out to kill local residents to acquire blood for the vampiric Abby. During his first murder, he accidentally spills the blood and returns home empty-handed; a furious Abby leaves, kills, and feeds on a jogger who lives in their neighborhood. One night, Thomas hides in the back of a high school student’s car in order to subdue him, but the student picks up a passenger, completely altering Thomas's plans. While the driver stops at a gas station, Thomas subdues the passenger and tries to flee. He crashes the car in a nearby ditch and becomes trapped inside. Thomas douses his face with acid so that his connection to Abby will not be discovered. He is taken to the hospital; when Abby learns of this, she climbs up outside his window to see him. Thomas leans forward to offer his throat to Abby, who drinks his blood. Thomas passes out and falls to his death. The detective gradually learns of Thomas's connection to Abby.

The next day, on a school outing to a frozen pond, Kenny threatens to push Owen into an ice hole. Owen defends himself with a metal pole, splitting Kenny's ear. A body is also discovered under the ice. Later, Owen takes Abby to an abandoned area of their apartment complex, where he cuts his finger to make a blood pact with her. Abby is drawn to the blood; thirsty, she licks it up and Owen sees her vampiric form for the first time. Not wanting to attack Owen, Abby flees and instead attacks Virginia (Sasha Barrese), a woman in the complex park. Owen then confronts Abby at her apartment, where she admits that she is a vampire. Owen also discovers that Thomas was not her father. Owen sees a black and white photograph of Abby and a young boy, suggesting that she met Thomas when he was Owen's age. Horrified, Owen immediately leaves. Abby tries to block his way, but eventually lets him go. Meanwhile at the hospital, Virginia transforms into a vampire, but when a nurse draws the curtains, the daylight causes her to burst into flames, killing them both.

Abby visits one night while Owen's mother (Cara Buono) is away. Owen opens the door for her and she tells him he needs to invite her in. He asks her why, so she enters without an invitation, which causes her to bleed heavily until he verbally acquiesces. The next morning, the detective finds Abby asleep in the bathtub, but Owen startles him, allowing Abby to grab him from behind. Abby kills the detective and feeds off him. Later, she leaves in a taxi.

During an evening gym class, Kenny, his older brother Jimmy (Brett DelBuono), and their friends start a fire outside to distract authorities and clear out the swimming pool. Jimmy tells Owen that if he can hold his breath underwater for 3 minutes, he will cut Owen's cheek; if Owen cannot, he will poke out one of Owen's eyes. As Owen is held underwater, chaos ensues as Abby slaughters the four bullies. Abby and Owen then make their escape.

Later, Owen travels on a train with Abby in a trunk beside him. They tap out brief messages to each other in Morse code as the film ends.


Let Me In has received generally positive reviews. Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 90% based on reviews from 202 critics, with an average score of 7.6/10. Among Rotten Tomatoes selected "top critics" the film received score of 81% based on 32 reviews, with an average score of 7.8/10. The consensus is that "similar to the original in all the right ways — but with enough changes to stand on its own — Let Me In is the rare Hollywood remake that doesn't add insult to inspiration." Let Me In was included on Rotten Tomatoes list of the ten best reviewed wide release films of 2010 in addition to being the best reviewed horror film of 2010. Metacritic gave the film an average score of 79% based on 35 reviews, judged to be "generally favorable reviews". According to Metacritic, Let Me In was one of the ten best-reviewed wide release films of 2010 and the best reviewed film of the year in the horror category. Particular praise was given to the film's two leads, Kodi Smit-McPhee and Chloe Moretz, for their chemistry and maturity on-screen.

Acclaimed horror author Stephen King wrote "Let Me In is a genre-busting triumph. Not just a horror film, but the best American horror film in the last 20 years." Joe Morgenstern of The Wall Street Journal wrote that the film "is more than a respectful remake; 'Let Me In' is quietly stylish and thoroughly chilling in its own right." Lou Lumenick of The New York Post called Let Me In "the scariest, creepiest and most elegantly filmed horror movie I’ve seen in years — it positively drives a stake through the competition." A. O. Scott of The New York Times wrote "what makes 'Let Me In' so eerily fascinating is the mood it creates. It is at once artful and unpretentious, more interested in intimacy and implication than in easy scares or slick effects."Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times praised the film while comparing it to the original. He stated, "Reeves understands what made the first film so eerie and effective, and here the same things work again." Rolling Stone film critic Peter Travers, who was initially skeptical, gave the film a positive review while writing, "I thought for sure that any Hollywood remake of Tomas Alfredson's artful Swedish vampire film, Let the Right One In, would be a crass desecration. Well, color me blushing" and "Prepare to be wowed. It's a spellbinder."Roger Moore of Orlando Sentinel gave the film 3.5 out of 4 stars, stating, "Reeves has Americanized a very good foreign film without defanging it."

Let Me In was not well-received by all critics. Some disputed Reeves' claims that he was not remaking the film but re-adapting the book, criticizing it for being too similar to the Swedish film. Josh Tyler wrote "The movie he’s made is absolutely a direct remake of the 2008 film, the two are so similar that it’s almost impossible to differentiate between them." In a similar vein, Jamie S. Rich noted that while there was plenty of content in the original novel that the Swedish film omitted, "Reeves hasn't really ferreted out anything new; on the contrary, there is actually less plot in Let Me In than in the Alfredson version."Beth Accomando wrote, "How Reeves can take the credit 'written and directed by Matt Reeves' seems almost laughable when you note how similar the script and the direction are to the original." In comparing the two films, she opined that the remake "makes obvious all that the original film made subtle and does so with less complexity."Mark Kermode called it "the most utterly redundant remake of the year". According to Sukhdev Sandhu of The Telegraph, "Let Me In doesn't need to exist unless, that is, the very notion of Swedish cinema is strange and unpalatable to you....What’s missing is the alluring otherness of Let the Right One In. That film's brittle textures and haunted ambiance seemed in some strange way to have sprung organically from the nation in which it was set. This remake, by contrast, smells of boardrooms and calculating machines."

Let Me In was a critics' pick as one of the Top 10 Best Films of 2010 at CNN and at MSN Entertainment for the 2010 Year in Review Special Features.

The Cast

Kodi Smit-McPhee as Owen
 Chloë Grace Moretz as Abby
 Richard Jenkins as The Father
 Cara Buono as Owen's Mother
 Elias Koteas as The Policeman
 Sasha Barrese as Virginia
 Dylan Kenin as Larry
 Chris Browning as Jack
 Ritchie Coster as Mr. Zoric
 Dylan Minnette as Kenny
 Jimmy 'Jax' Pinchak as Mark
 Nicolai Dorian as Donald
 Rebekah Wiggins as Nurse
  Brett DelBuono as Kenny's Brother

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