Friday, October 8, 2010

Let Me In

Last weekend saw the release of two fairly big films: The Social Network, and Let Me In. The Social Network was certainly good, though not nearly as impressive as the raving reviews would have you believe. On the other hand, Let Me In was absolutely phenomenal, and one of the very best films released all year.

Sadly, though, while everyone went out to see The Social Network, Let Me In's screenings were all but completely empty. Considering it's a vampire movie, and one involving somewhat of a love story at that, I'm actually a little surprised it didn't even attract the attention of the Twilight crowd. Not that I'm comparing this movie to Twilight, mind you.

Let Me In is the story of a bullied young boy named Owen. A new girl, Abby (played by Kick-Ass' Chloe Moretz, who is on one hell of a roll this year), moves in next door, and the two gradually grow close to one another. Abby isn't just any ordinary girl, though. Like Owen, she has her own set of problems. You see, she's actually a vampire. And that's how things get really interesting. Watching their relationship unfold is truly a fascinating thing to witness, and it's one that can be interpreted in a number of ways.

After watching this film and loving it so much, I became particularly interested in the original, and so I decided to give that a viewing. Let Me In is actually sort of a remake to the Swedish film Let the Right One In, a film that is itself soaring with critical praise, though I personally found to be highly overrated. Now, I say it's sort of a remake, because technically, it's the same story, and there are many things that are almost exactly the same in both. However, there's also a number of differences between the two, enough to where it's far from watching the same film twice. And where Let Me In makes these changes, it trumps over it's predecessor in glowing fashion.

While trying to stray away from spoiler territory, allow me to share a few comparisons of the films. I've heard the word "subtle" thrown around a lot when describing Let the Right One In. But where others find subtlety, I just see it as being lifeless. Now, I suppose one could look at this "lifelessness" as somewhat of a metaphor for our vampire's condition. Though as an enjoyable movie going experience, that just does absolutely nothing for me. There are many scenes in the film which are just poorly shot, as well as a number of scenes that are so unbelievable that they take me right out of the movie.

On the contrary, Let Me In is a completely engrossing film, one that sucks you in and refuses to let go until the credits roll. The scenes with the old man are uniquely shot, and are filled with tension throughout. Tension that is completely absent in the original. The lighting and music also adds a dark tone to the film, while Let the Right One In is almost entirely devoid of such mood. And all of the characters and their actions (the bullies, in particular) are very much relatable, and I think that's where this version gets it so right.

Now, while it certainly appears that I'm ripping a new one in the original film, it's not all bad. The scenes involving our two main characters are pretty much the same in both films, and are pretty much on par with one another in quality. But overall, while I found Let the Right One In to be a decent film at the very best, I was completely amazed by Let Me In, and I find it to be by far the superior film.

It really is a shame that nobody went out to see it. It's a supremely satisfying film that one-ups it's predecessor in every way imaginable. And even without taking into account that it's technically a remake, this film stands tall on it's own merits as a truly outstanding movie. It's a haunting story, one that will stick with you well after it ends, leaving you begging for more. It's the best vampire movie I've ever seen, and one that I wish more people would go out and see for themselves.