If I hadn’t seen the Swedish original, Let The Right One In, and hadn’t been in love with it, I might have found this film near perfect.
But, alas, I did see Let The Right One In and I am in love with it so Let Me In, while great, fails only when compared to the original.
The two young leads, Chloë Moretz (as the vampire Abby) and Kodi Smit-McPhee (as Owen), are the main reason to see this film. When I heard they had been cast, that was the first news I had heard regarding this remake that made me interested to see it. I think they were better than the kids in the original (it helped that they spoke English). Smit-McPhee acted every scene like his life was always on the edge, like if someone were to touch him, he’d “dissolve into molecules,” to paraphrase Jesse from Before Sunset. With Moretz, you were never clear if she truly cared for Owen or just saw him as a replacement for her current guardian (Richard Jenkins).
Writer-director Matt Reeves’ work on Cloverfield didn’t convince me he had the chops to pull this off but he pretty much stuck to the script, keeping the mood and pacing the same for the most part.
My biggest pet peeve was the CGI to show Abby in vampire mode. Because of the mood of the film, CGI was going to stand out anyway but the CGI was SO BAD. It was Hey-we-just-discovered-this-new-way-to-do-special-effects-in-movies bad.
While I definitely think you should see Let The Right One In (available on Netflix Instant Watch, the subtitles won’t hurt you), if you only see Let Me In, you won’t be disappointed.