Saturday, October 2, 2010

Innocence in Blood

Director: Matt Reeves
Writer: Matt Reeves
Starring: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Chloë Grace Moritz, Elias Koteas
2010 | United States | R | 115 mins

When a film of such stark power, horror, and beauty comes along like Let the Right One In it seems incomprehensible how mainstream audiences cannot embrace subtitles and ultimately rule that a remake is necessary. Normally a hack director is hired so that audiences with attention spans of goldfish can forgive any mistakes and blasphemies against the original when these remakes are pumped out to cash in. But Matt Reeves is not a hired gun, nor is he unfamiliar with the source material, and he actually cares about what cinematic audiences think and feel.

Los Alamos, New Mexico. 1983. Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee), an only child caught between the divorce of his parents, faces growing up on his own against the pressures of bullying and friendship. Spending time alone in the apartment courtyard, Owen meets Abby (Chloë Grace Moritz), a girl seeming to be around his age who moves in next door. The two forge a friendship that satisfies both their needs to feel accepted, but Abby hides a secret that only blood can quench.

Based upon John Ajvide Lindqvist's novel and screenplay for Let the Right One In, Matt Reeves faithfully adapts the story of belonging and growing up with minor changes to properly set the film in America. Taking place during the Reagan era, Reeves' adaption and attention to detail is astounding and the Cold War politics play a subtle key of tension to the backdrop and atmosphere of the film. These changes add a great depth to the film. A few scenes from the original are axed, such as the cat lady scene, but not without reason. The performances by both young actors are expertly realized and a strong anchor to the emotional impact the film presents. A few things this retelling has specifically over its 2008 predecessor is Greig Fraser's absolutely gorgeous cinematography and Michael Giacchino's beautifully haunting film score reminiscent of 70's gothic horror, both of these excel beyond expectations.

At the time of its announcement Let Me In was pointless and seemed like a blasphemy against the brilliant original, but now after witnessing Matt Reeves faithfully and sure-footedly spin his take on this tale of adolescence with a vampiric twist, the film is more as if another director had a shot at adapting John Ajvide Lindqvist's novel, rather then just a remake. While still not as wholly impressive as the Swedish masterpiece, Let Me In retains the emotional resonance and purity of horror without tarnishing the original. 

All contents copyright 2010 Tyler Baptist

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