Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Video review: "Let Me In"
"Let Me In" is a better adaptation of the Swedish vampire film "Let the Right One In" than I had any reason to expect. Writer/director Matt Reeves kept the original's creepy atmospherics, although he did punch up the action beats, as one might expect.
The American version, which bombed at the box office, is unnecessary but undeniably well-made. It features two of the best child actors Hollywood has to offer, Chloe Moretz and Kodi Smit-McPhee as, respectively, an ancient blood-sucker trapped in a girl's body and the boy who befriends her.
Nine times out of 10, an American remake would tone down the violence and sexual innuendo of a daring European film. But this time, they preserved everything that made the original such an unnerving, makes-your-feet-itch experience.
Smit-McPhee is Owen, a slight, bullied lad who's intrigued by Abby, the new girl who moves into his snow-straddled apartment complex with (Owen assumes) her father in the dead of winter. She's strange: She only appears at night, doesn't seem bothered walking barefoot in the snow, and bathes infrequently. But soon these two lonely souls cement a connection that grows into the unlikeliest of affections.
It's not all happiness and sunshine, though. Even after he knows he's smitten, events unfold -- particularly those involving Abby's father figure -- forcing Owen to recognize that loving the undead brings ... complications.
If there ever were a romance between a human and a vampire, it would not be the stylized, sanitized Gothic splendor of the "Twilight" series. It would be like this: Disturbing, smelly and increasingly unpleasant as time goes by.
Video extras are quite good in both DVD and Blu-ray versions.
The DVD includes a commentary track by Reeves, a making-of documentary, a step-by-step look at some of the film's special effects, deleted scenes with commentary and a still gallery.
The Blu-ray includes all these features, plus a feature called "Dissecting Let Me In."
Movie: 3 stars out of four
Extras: 3.5 stars