Donald Clarke

Whingeing about cinema and real life since 2009

Can we start complaining about Let Me In yet?

The question is prompted by the release of the first trailer for Matt Reeves’s remake of Let the Right One In. The Swedish vampire movie, made in 2008, but released here last year, proved very popular with the Screenwriter community. …

Thu, Jul 29, 2010, 15:46

   

The question is prompted by the release of the first trailer for Matt Reeves’s remake of Let the Right One In. The Swedish vampire movie, made in 2008, but released here last year, proved very popular with the Screenwriter community. Readers voted it the second best film of 2009. Your correspondent put it at the top of his list. Inevitably, news of the American remake was greeted with weary groans. What to make of the promo?

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Well, first things first. I don’t know who is responsible for the ghastly gloom-rock tune that thunders over the action, but it lends exactly the wrong class of high-school, door-slamming petulance. One of the worst aspects of early-noughties mainstream horror was its reliance on a particularly unlovely school of sulk metal. There is nothing less frightening than an under-educated, mid-western lout shouting about Satan while wearing his mother’s mascara. Secondly, the editing is depressingly dizzying and — again — reminds one of the hyper-active aesthetic that ruined so many horror films in the first few years of the new millennium.

So, in short, I don’t like the trailer, but I’m not sure the film itself looks too awful. There is, of course, every chance the picture will be edited with more caution and that the annoying song will appear nowhere in the finished article. I wasn’t all that keen on Kick Ass, but Chloe Moretz, young star of that film and of Let Me In, is a very talented juvenile actor. Kodi Smit-McPhee was great in The Road and he looks promising as the kid who gets lured into blood-letting by Chloe’s undead waif. The smashing Richard Jenkins is there also.

Reeves, director of the entertaining Cloverfield, looks to have composed the shots with the same restraint showed by Tomas Alfredson in the original. So, there is a chance — just a chance, mind — that Let Me In could turn out to be a reasonably respectable facsimile of the original. I shun no opportunity to whinge about the current obsession with faithfulness to source material, but a respectful copy of the Swedish film might be the most we could hope for from this particular project.

Anyway, it hardly needs to be said that, if you haven’t already seen Let the Right One In, you need to have a glance before the American version arrives on our shores. Let Me In is scheduled for release at Halloween.

Oh and one more thing about the trailer. Yes, you read that right. Let Me In is, indeed, a Hammer film. The great British horror studio has recently been reconstituted. Sadly, the example of Ealing films makes it hard to exhibit unqualified enthusiasm. That comedy enterprise also rose from the grave about 10 years ago. Since then — remember I Want Candy and St Trinian’s — they have produced little else but garbage. We hope for better from Hammer.

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