Thursday, October 7, 2010

Let Me In - *

Here we go with yet another completely unnecessary remake, this time of the criminally overrated Swedish vampire film, Let the Right One In. Director Matt Reeves, who tried, and failed, to elevate the giant monster genre a few years ago with the over-hyped, under-scripted Cloverfield, tries, and fails again, to elevate the vampire genre with the renamed replica Let Me In.

For some reason Reeves decided to set his film in 1983, 1983 via 2010, with every character dressing like contemporary Brooklyn hipsters, and playing Ms. Pac-Man while Ronald Reagan constantly addresses America. There's nothing in the actual style, the cinematic style, of Let Me In that feels like the 80s, an idea that could have worked for a schlocky vampire film, but Reeves desperately wants his film to be legitimate, despite setting it in the 80s for the cool factor.

The big problem I have with this film, which is the same problem I had with the original, is that there are too many subplots to maintain. The film is essentially about a twelve year-old boy who is bullied in school falling in love with a vicious twelve year-old-looking vampire girl. But there is a sizable portion of the film devoted to her caretaker, who goes around draining the blood from people for her to consume, which causes an absurdly half-assed police investigation by a detective unworthy for even a campy film. Who hasn't seen enough movies to know that you should watch for the peephole to darken when knocking on a suspect's door before giving up? The real issue is that these subplots add nothing at all to the film, other than forty-five minutes, and essentially end up cancelling each other out.

All that aside, I will say that the film looks pretty good. It's full of snowy nights and neon lights, which are captured brilliantly by Reeve's cinematographer, Greig Fraser. Also contributing some of Reeve's desired legitimacy is Chloe Grace-Moretz, who already wowed us this year as Hit Girl in Kick-Ass, and wows again in a much more subdued performance. She's about the only thing worth watching in this film, which is high praise for a movie co-starring the under-appreciated Richard Jenkins and Elias Koteas, or maybe it's just low praise for Matt Reeves for making Jenkins wear a bag over his head as he limps around, mumbling his nine lines, and putting Koteas in an equally thankless role. Yeah, let's call it low praise for Reeves... all around.

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