Ok, how are we supposed to explain this to the co-op board?
Let Me In was in an unenviable position from the day it was born. It was always going to be resented, ostracised by fans of the original - which for me was one of the strongest films of the recent past - and outright hated before it had the chance to make its case. So Let Me In did what the vitriolic internet hordes wanted it to do, be exactly the same movie only getting rid of the subtitles. Things are a little less subtle and points are hammred out a little more to make sure you get it, and the overriding majesty of the original's tone has been lost. But if anything its too enamoured with the original, and didn't have the guts to try and be its own movie. Although it would have been hated if it did. And because it didn't, and because it used so many of the original's moments of success, its in the position of only existing in comparison to the original, you can't write about it apart.
I think the most pressing example of this is to compare Richard Jenkins's character with the iteration of him in the original. I think they share pretty much all the same scenes, or the same character scenes anyway as the horror moments have been spruced up a bit, yet the character has none of the impact that Per Ragnar's version has in the original. There he was one of the most moving and tragic things about it, lending a poignancy to the love story at its centre. Here you think that the character is kind of pointless and just serves to pass time until the kids get together. Shows you how important execution is. Its not Jenkins fault, its just a little disappointing. The performances of Chloe Moretz and Kodi Smit-McPhee as the central kids, give no doubt weaker performances, although that doesn't bother me so much. Those performances were awesome, particularly that of Lina Leandersson, who I would rank as good as anyone in the entirety of 2009, and Moretz does some interesting work here. She's notably less assured of herself, and its a winning and kind of dark performance. McPhee less so, and that squeak in his voice, which was cancelled out by Viggo Mortensen in The Road, still hasn't quite gone yet and that does a disservice to a couple of moments. He's not bad though, and can be good occasionally. Let Me In has decidedly less interest in the supporting cast the the original, and while I don't think that's the worst idea in the world, it does somehow make the universe seem less drawn.
I think my main problem with it is that the moments of horror have definitely been shot up with steroids, and watching this you get the sense that this tries to be a horror film more then a love story, and as much as I love horror, that's what made the original so extraordinary. That and numerous close-ups of Romeo and Juliet just in case we didn't get it and rather obtusely keeping mom's face out of shot the whole film. Because there's glass between them guys. Here all the parts are present and accounted for, its just the magic is nowhere to be found. Having said that, I've no doubt that if you see Let Me In without having seen the source material, the grade goes up two points. Because what feels familiar to me will feel unique and kind of awesome to you. Such is the strength of this story. But the movie ended up OK, which is certainly better then what I was expecting, and is an indication that Moretz could be with us for a while.