Let Me In
By Amy Nicholson
What’s grim, gorgeous and white all over? This American remake of the Swedish horror drama Let the Right One In which airlifts the story 5,158 miles to Los Alamos, New Mexico where lonely, bullied only-child Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee of The Road) crushes on the new girl in town, a frozen-in-time preteen vampire who says she’s, “Twelve, more or less.” Abby (Chloë Moretz, Kick Ass’ Hit-Girl) needs human blood, but she outsources the killing to her companion (Richard Jenkins) who poses as her father but moons over her like an ex-boyfriend. In the original, Abby’s caretaker was a jealous bungler—Oscar-nominated Jenkins sees his pathetic protectiveness, and the tragedy in his character focuses the film’s themes of desperation and the myopia of puppy love when you’re young enough (or undead enough) to feel immortal. Cloverfield’s Matt Reeves directs, and this quiet, controlled chiller is 180 degrees away from that mess. Reeves keeps the camera’s focus so close that the world past your fingertips is a blur. Adults barely register, like Dracula designed by Charles Schultz. What matters is immediate—the film exists in that margin between kid and teen when every day is a drama and every tumble is a catastrophe, when the thug in your class is the boogieman and a girl you play Mrs. Pac Man with could be your girlfriend, even though you don’t yet know what that means. But Let Me In is wise beyond its years, even if only the grown-ups in the audience bear witness to pain that the preteen stars can’t see.