Combustible Celluloid
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With: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Chloë Grace Moretz, Richard Jenkins, Elias Koteas, Cara Buono, Sasha Barrese, Jimmy 'Jax' Pinchak, Chris Browning, Ritchie Coster, Dylan Minnette, Dylan Kenin, Nicolai Dorian
Written by: Matt Reeves, based on the screenplay and novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist
Directed by: Matt Reeves
MPAA Rating: R for strong bloody horror violence, language and a brief sexual situation
Running Time: 115
Date: 09/13/2010

Let Me In (2010)

3 Stars (out of 4)

'Right' Moves

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Released the same weekend as Twilight, Tomas Alfredson's Swedish import Let the Right One In (2008) -- based on John Ajvide Lindqvist's novel -- never became a cash cow, but it did one better: it earned the adoration of both horror fanboys and mainstream critics, and both groups proclaimed it among the greatest vampire movies ever made. Before anyone could say "sacrilegious," Hollywood pumped out this close remake, set in 1983 New Mexico, with Matt Reeves (Cloverfield) directing, but employing a similarly chilly, patient mood. Truthfully, if Let Me In were an original, it would be fairly terrific. But it lives in the shadow of its predecessor, and the inevitable comparisons are not favorable.

Perhaps without even blinking, Reeves has dumbed it down, adding explanations and motivations so that Americans will not be confused. And he has gored it up, with extra blood and cheap-looking CGI, so that Americans will not be bored. (Sadly, this effectively neuters the climactic swimming pool sequence.) But Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Road) and Chloƫ Grace Moretz (Kick-Ass) are worthy American counterparts, playing the weird, lonely boy tormented by bullies, and the peculiar, blood-lusting girl who has been "twelve for a long time." It's a movie driven by commerce, but it does find some moments of inspiration.

For some reason, I received a DVD, but no Blu-Ray, of Let Me In. Released by Anchor Bay, the DVD still looks pretty great, and shows off this movie's cinematography well. It comes with a commentary track with director Reeves, three featurettes, deleted scenes, and a poster/still gallery, plus trailers. Inside the case, there's a tiny comic book. I had been hoping that Magnet Films would take this opportunity to release the corrected version of Let the RIght One In on DVD and Blu-Ray, but they have not yet done so...

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