LET ME IN (BLU-RAY)
Reviewed by: Andre Manseau
What's it about
A bullied young boy befriends a young female vampire who lives in secrecy with her guardian.
Is it good movie?
There are times when I feel privileged to be a reviewer.
This is one of those times.
I'm going to go ahead and say it- I feel like Let Me In is the best remake I've seen in a long, long time. It feels a little unfair to simply dismiss it as a remake, because even on its own it remains a great film. Adapted from Lindquist's novel of the same name, this one deals with the pain and loneliness of adolescence through the eyes of a young tortured boy and a perpetually young vampire who was once a twelve year old girl. This is a truly heartbreaking, sweet and at times horrifying movie that tells a beautiful story that isn't easy to forget.
The main reason that this film works is because it has a truly fantastic cast. Starting with fantastic supporting actors like Richard Jenkins and Casey Jones himself, Elias Koteas, you know you've got a good foundation laid already. Jenkins is understated and wounded as Abby's familiar, her 'Dad', who farms the victims for her with potential promises of eternal life. The man acts with his eyes and is clearly engaged in inner turmoil throughout the film. You get the sense that he feels 'too old' for the job several times and there's a scene that ends spectacularly that will undoubtedly have you feeling for the man, as he lies in wait with a crude garbage bag mask over his face. That's right, this film can have you sympathizing with the killer(s). As for Koteas, he plays the officer who's investigating this truly bizarre case of murders and disappearances and the guy's just acting his ass off. I know that might seem crude, but Koteas too has a lot of emotion and pathos to deliver with his character and he pulls it off well.
Of course, I would be foolish to leave out our two lead actors, Chloe Grace Moretz and Kodi Smit-McPhee. I can't tell you how amazing their performances are. I can't believe that two actors this young can turn in such believable and emotional (not to mention realistic) performances at an age this young. Moretz deserves a ton of credit and I'll get to that, but I don't think that Kodi gets his due. This kid is emotionally shattered, insecure and trapped in his own head, a friendless and awkward kid who is picked on by absolutely ruthless bullies (who are also great actors). If you don'
t want to scoop this poor child up in your arms and hug him until his problems go away, I don't know who you are. Kodi owns the role and is absolutely every bit as good as Moretz is in this film, if not better. He's got the most important role and he plays it earnestly with heartbreaking gravitas.
Moretz too, is a tour-de-force as Abby, the reclusive and sorrowful young vampire. She's all at once cute, vulnerable, wise, beautiful, monstrous and terrifying. Chloe surely had to step out of her comfort zone to play her vampire parts and she turns in a good performance. The scenes where her and Owen truly begin to bond (with the notion of 'going steady' and an impromptu 'date' when she is invited into his empty apartment and throws on one of Owen's Mom's dresses) will tug at your heartstrings and make you laugh, and remind you of your young and awkward days. Equally heartbreaking are the moments when you're forced to see that Abby isn't like normal girls, and that her insistence that she "is not a girl" comes into play. Abby's curse truly conflicts with her feelings for Owen and things aren't always rosy and easy between them, to say the least. Their fragile but sweet relationship is the reason to watch the film and can be as heart-wrenching as it is beautiful.
A few more things to touch on before I wrap up. Number one is Matt Reeves' beautiful filmmaking style. This movie has a deliciously retro vibe to it and looks fantastic, as if it is sometimes in a style befitting of a graphic novel (I love the Kiss shirt Abby wears). There's some amazing cinematography, including a car crash scene that is shot in a realistic, somber and downright unsettling way. Another thing worth mentioning is the music. This movie sports a wicked, toe-tapping retro soundtrack alongside its orchestral score that is instantly memorable and well-chosen.
If I had a complaint, it would be that some of the CGI is not so good. It happens a few times in scenes with Abby where she becomes completely CG, and doesn't look great. This isn't a dea lbreaker by any stretch, but it is a bit jarring and unnatural looking. Other than that, there isn't much I can complain about.
Let Me In is a film that grabbed me from the get go and never let me go. This is an emotional and touching story that will have you cringing, furious and absolutely cheering at times. You'll revisit feelings you've long forgotten and feel them for this film's small protagonists. This isn't a bloodbath of a monster film, but a truly unique sort of coming-of-age tale that packs an emotional punch. After all, no matter how old we might be now, we were all teenagers once.
Video / Audio
Video is presented in a 2.40:1 widescreen presentation and is in full 1080p. It looks really sharp, with great contrast and beautiful colors. The brightness can be a bit on and off, but it's still ridiculously good looking.
Audio comes in Dolby TrueHD and sounds fantastic. The track is subtle and soft but goes for the throat when necessary. I know there are more technical explanations, but this sounds beautiful.
First up is an Audio Commentary with Director Matt reeves. I'm not a huge fan of solo commentary tracks but Reeves pulls this off and is absolutely full of great information. It helps too that he doesn't seem like an idiot and is full of excitement about what he does. He pays great lip service to the original film. Good track.
From the Inside: A Look at the Making of Let Me In runs a little over 15 minutes long and is more or less the same old standard EPK featurette. I know that I love this movie a lot, but this feature barely gets past the superficial, even if I enjoyed watching it.
The Art of Special Effects is a 5 minute little featurette about the CGI pieces in the film. I'm not fond of those pieces, but if you are, this is how they pulled 'em off.
Car Crash Sequence Step-by-Step is pretty self explanatory and is a 6 minute piece that I thought was really cool, as this is one of the neatest shots in the whole film.
If you dig 'em, there are about 5 minutes of deleted scenes, including one that is really cool about how Abby came to be in her current state. Commentary from Reeves is optional.
There's also a picture-in-picture track called Dissecting Let Me In, and it has a bit of new material but tends to fall into the 'stuff from the extras re-cut into the track' mold. It's decent enough.
Finally, there is a still gallery and some trailers for this flick, Stone, Jack Goes Boating, The Crazies, The Disappearance of Alice Creed, I Spit on Your Grave (the remake) and And Soon the Darkness.
The Blu-ray also came with a digital copy and a neat little prelude Comic book.
This is a movie about finding love and acceptance in the last place you'd ever dream to do so. It can be horrifying, sad, joyful and strange and revels in it. I loved the original film, and this serves as a great companion piece that is far more than a straight remake of the source material. On top of that, the extras are decent and the picture quality is great too. This comes highly recommended as one of my favorite films of last year.