Sunday, March 13, 2011

Let Me In – review

Director: Matt Reeves

Release date: 2010

Contains spoilers

At last, the official Taliesin Meets the Vampires review of Let Me In, some may recall that I gave my first impressions after seeing the film at the cinema. However, before I begin let me throw both a caveat and a general thought at you.

The caveat is that this is going to be less a review and more a case study, the film deserves no less, as such I will completely spoil the film and as a result the article is going to be a long one. I will also spoil aspects of the original Let the Right One In novel and the earlier Swedish film. I apologise but also wonder, if you haven’t seen both films and read the novel yet, why not? They are that genre important.

the film itself is like a puzzle
The thought I wanted to offer, at the head, is that I rate this film highly – higher than the original. Now, I like my world cinema but the backlash against this as a remake has been, in places, befuddling. Remakes can be bad, true, and I appreciate that not everyone is the same and thus some will like the Swedish film more than this. However naysayers have suggested that this is pointless as it is a scene for scene remake – it is not, even by a long shot. It has a different under-current, it has scenes reworked to give them more power, aspects of the story have been refocused, the lighting offers a different emotional credence and there are themes running through that… well the Swedish film simply did not have. It offers so much, if we are willing to watch and truly look at it – very much like a puzzle.

Elias Koteas as the Policeman
The film begins with an ambulance and police escort. We are in Los Alamos, New Mexico and it is 1983. Snow covers the land and is falling heavily. In the ambulance we see very little, we certainly see no character in focus or clear shot – this is a technique used within the film as we shall see. As a man pulls against his handcuffs we hear that he has acid burns over a large proportion of his body and is a police suspect. The man is called the Father (Richard Jenkins) in the credits. The first character we see clearly is in the hospital and is the policeman (Elias Koteas) who asks a nurse if he can speak to him. She says he can’t speak – due to the burns – but the policeman goes in to see him for a few minutes. Like the obscuring of faces, many of the main characters do not have names in the credits. It is the children who are defined clearly.

Regan on TV
The policeman places a pad and pencil before the Father and asks for a name. He asks whether he is part of a satanic cult. Historically this would fit in with the satanic rtual abuse accusations of the 1980s, indeed in 1983 the accusations were laid that began the McMartin preschool trial – a famous case. It is also the start of a theme in the film of good and evil, the nature of it and the inadequacy of religion when it comes to define it. He is called to the nurses’ station as there is a call from downstairs. As he takes the call, mentioning a daughter, Regan is on TV. An alarm sounds, the nurse investigates and screams. The father is dead, he left the room via the window (the room is on the tenth floor), leaving a shakily written and misspelt note, “Im sory Abby”. The policeman goes downstairs, Regan is talking about good and evil, the image of his face reflected on the hospital doors and so begins another theme of the film – reflection and mirrors. This appears through the film and I think is deliberately chosen due to the genre standard of vampires having no reflection. This film is full of mirror images. It also needs to be stated that the actual speech is the infamous "Evil Empire Speech" and thus also underlines the idea that the film will explore good and evil.

a killer in waiting
Two weeks earlier… When I first saw the film I wondered at having a main plot area as the prologue and then running back in time but it proved to be a perfect way of setting the undertone that threaded through the film. So, two weeks earlier and we see Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee), sat alone on a snow covered climbing frame eating candy called Now and Later, whilst singing the advertising jingle that belongs to the brand. He is alone and, as we shall see, Owen’s life is one of loneliness. He is called to dinner by his mother (Cara Buono) and hides the candy wrappers in the snow. When she says grace and they eat we note that she faces the camera but remains out of focus, Owen is in focus. We never see the mother clearly; she is out of focus, purposefully cropped within scenes or obscuring her own face whilst drunk or sleeping. She takes a call from Owen’s father, they have split up and it sounds acrimonious. Owen returns to his room, passing by his mother who cries as we hear a preacher’s sermon (presumably from the TV), he has taken a kitchen knife. With the saying of grace and the sound from the TV we get the impression that she is religious, she also enjoys wine we should note – the wine, Jesus and her own misery filling the space where Owen should be. In his room, Owen faces the mirror, wearing a mask and brandishing the knife and threatening someone referred to as “little girl”. Whilst there is a reason for the phrase, this shows a masked killer in the making and the threat is gender based. Indeed facing the mirror is reminiscent of ‘Taxi Driver’, indicating that he is practicing as well as being part of the mirror motif.

the voyeur
Owen looks out of the window and sees a couple, Larry (Dylan Kenin) and Virginia (Sasha Barrese), arguing. He watches for a moment through his telescope and then turns to another window and sees Jack (Chris Browning) working out to David Bowie’s Let’s Dance. He pulls his mask back, to the top of his head, and briefly looks at his own skinny body. He turns his attention back to Larry and Virginia, who are making up. Larry frees a breast from her top, cupping it. She looks up, towards the young voyeur. Does she know he watches her, possibly but the disdainful looks she offers through the film could be in his own head, a rejection born of the loneliness he feels. He ducks anyway, but has heard a vehicle and looks out. The Father and a girl, Abby (Chloë Grace Moretz), walk to the building. He notices her feet and when he watches her and the Father pass his apartment door, through the security peephole, he confirms that she isn’t wearing shoes. Using the peephole is, of course, another example of voyeurism.

at the feet of the bullies
The next day, as he goes to school, he notices her footprints in the snow, he also notices that the windows of their apartment are boarded with card and tape. At school, during the pledge of allegiance, he is hit by a spit-ball. We see, for the first time, Kenny (Dylan Minette), bully and tormentor. We see Kenny in action in the pool as he torments a girl. She calls the teacher, Mr Zoric (Ritchie Coster), who intervenes. Owen, still dressed and sat watching, smiles and Kenny sees him. He tries to get out of the gym area but Kenny and his cohorts, Mark (Jimmy Jax Pinchak) and Donald (Nikolai Dorian), get him. Kenny calls him "little girl" – though we still haven’t reached the source of this phrase – yet somehow, while brutish his use of it isn’t as chilling as Owen’s. Kenny is a thug but we have seen a real darkness embryonic in Owen. They give him a wedgie until he pees himself. There is a sharp kick before they leave.

knife in mouth
On the way home he buys candy and we get a hint about him. He pays with a $20 bill and we suspect that he is a thief. It seems unlikely that his mother – going through a messy divorce – has given him so much money. Oskar, in the book, was certainly a thief – shoplifting was his thing – really that was lost in the Swedish film. Here it is hinted at but we shall return to theft later, when our suspicions are confirmed. He eyes up a knife also. That night we see him stabbing at a tree when Abby appears and asks what he is doing. He says nothing, though we know he is fantasising about killing. Abby says she can’t be his friend. Later Owen is sat eating candy from the end of his knife, putting the blade in his mouth, when the Father exits the building, standing in a doorway trying to light a cigarette. We have a mirror here, Owen with the knife and the Father with a cigarette are reflections one of the other. Eventually Owen will be him. One thing we wouldn’t spot, that fits in with this, is the fact that the mask Owen wore was, according to iMDB, a cast of the Father’s face.

collecting blood
The Father goes to a convenience store and breaks in a car. A young man (Rowbie Orsatti) gets in and drives off. He doesn’t notice as the Father sits up behind him, his face hidden by a black plastic bag with eye holes cut in it. They stop at a level crossing, as a train passes, and the Father attacks. He takes the boy into the woods, hoists him by his feet, stabs his neck and lets him bleed into a funnel and container. When it is full he lifts it but his foot breaks through ice over a sinkhole and he drops the container. It falls downhill, spilling the blood. He retrieves it but a vehicle is coming. When he returns home Owen hears shouting and assumes he is shouting and hitting Abby – it is the other way around, her voice altered by vampiric rage. The Father in this is very different to Håkan in the Swedish versions. In the book he is probably one of the most chillingly despicable villains ever drawn but Håkan from the book could never be replicated on the big screen – not in detail, anyway – as the censors probably would not pass the film. In the Swedish movie he seems simply inept; in fact I have heard him called a comedy character – though personally I wouldn’t go that far. In this he is sympathetic, he is tired of the killing (done, we can assume, for the love of Abby despite the fact that, honestly, he is abused by Abby) and he feels this is why he has become sloppy. As he suggests, part of him wants to be caught.

warm lighting pierced by cold
At school, Kenny and his gang greet the news of the killing with boorish humour. That night Owen sits on the climbing frame playing with a Rubik’s cube. Abby appears, her stomach growling. She says she wants to be left alone, a sentiment shared by Owen – clearly neither of them do, however. She asks about the cube, she’s never seen one. He lends it to her but tells her that she smells kind of funny and, pointing to her bare feet, asks if she is cold. She replies she doesn’t get cold. When he has left, her stomach growls again, causing an abdominal pain so severe that she doubles over – dropping the cube. There are a few things to note here. First I want to mention the lighting. The Swedish film was starkly lit, giving a cold and open feel to the film. In this the main lighting, around the apartments at least, is a golden orange. Actually offering a feeling of warmth that, at times, might be claustrophobic. Key moments with Abby, however, change the lighting and make it colder. In this a shaft of blue light cuts across Abby and the warmth of the shot. The bleeding of the boy by the Father was in a cold pale blue light. We discover some lore, that she smells when she has not fed, that she doesn’t feel cold temperatures and that the hunger overrides all – hence the symbology of her dropping the cube, representative of Owen, as the hunger pierces through her.

Abby feeds
We see Jack jogging and again notice the lighting. There is a tunnel, dark and cold, whilst the winter night is still shot in a way that feels warm. He enters the tunnel and hears a call for help. It is Abby and she says she has fallen. He goes to help her and she asks to be carried. As he picks her up and she puts her arms round his neck she attacks. The attack is jerky, inhuman and works because of it. More inhuman is the first glimpse of her vampiric face. Not fully revealed in this scene we already know that there is no romance in the vampiric state. Indeed the full look owes a partial debt to some of the more modern zombie films, one feels – the skin is mottled, the eyes burn, the mouth is twisted and ugly. There are no evident fangs. After feeding, she breaks the victim’s neck – preventing a return. Owen hears shouting again and sees the Father leave the building. He is going to dispose of the body and dumps it into a lake, pushing it in with a metal rod used for roping the area off.

more bullying
The next day Owen finds the Rubik’s cube completed and left on the climbing frame. That night he meets Abby and she is wearing boots. She asks him if she smells better. She is clearly, in wearing the boots, dressing human for Owen. He asks how old she is and she says 12 more or less. He can recite his age by the exact number of months and days past 12, underlining the oddness of her response. He asks when her birthday is but she doesn’t know and so he offers the cube as a gift but it is refused. At school the next day, as the class are shown the 1968 Romeo and Juliet, Owen copies down Morse Code. Later, in the toilet, Kenny demands to know what he has written but he refuses to tell. Eventually the bully whips at his face with a metal rod and cuts his cheek – then forces him to agree to say he fell.

Jesus watches the theft
He tells his mother the lie but tells Abby the truth and she advises to hit back harder than he dare, to use the knife even and, if necessary, she will help. He responds that she is a girl but she tells him she is stronger than he thinks. She spots his Romeo and Juliet but he says it is boring and shows her the Morse Code. They are able to communicate through the wall that way – she seems disturbed that sounds might carry but he reveals that he thinks it is the Father’s voice he hears. When she tries the code she kicks the Father out of the room that is next to Owen's, this indicates that she has decided that Owen will likely replace the older man. The next day, having arranged strength training at school, he steals money from his mother’s purse and we have our suspicions confirmed. Owen is a thief. He does this before a mirror but he doesn’t watch his reflection, instead his eyes look to the picture of Jesus. His mother’s beliefs look disapprovingly upon him but, by not looking into the mirror, he doesn’t reflect on whether his own actions are right or wrong but looks to a constructed morality that he then ignores. He takes Abby to play arcade games and then buys Now and Laters. He offers her one; she tries to refuse but then tries one for him. She runs out to be sick – vampires cannot eat mortal food. She apologises but he hugs her. At this juncture she asks him whether he would still like her if she wasn’t a girl – we will return to gender identity later.

A tender moment
The Father is preparing his bag and Abby asks him if he is going out. He responds that he has no choice. She lifts her hand to his face and there is a tender moment but one in which it feels like he is the child to her adult. The tenderness is broken when he asks her not to see *that boy* again. In the book there was a feeling that Håkan was jealously possessive of Eli (Abby’s name in the original) but I didn’t get that feeling with this. Indeed I felt that it was a plea for Owen. That the Father realised that, reaching the end of his usefulness as he was, Owen was being groomed to replace him. For that is a feeling I got through this, a sense that Abby sensed the darkness in Owen and nurtured it whilst building a relationship with him, which of course is the thing missing from his life and would thus make him emotionally dependent on her.

the Father in the car
The Father attempts the same car trick again but his plans go astray when the driver offers another guy a lift. The passenger even dumps his bag on the Father. Eventually the driver stops at a gas station and gets out leaving the passenger in the car. This entire scene is tense and brilliantly shot because our loyalties are split. We know what he wants to do and want the driver and passenger to escape but we also fear for the Father and his potential capture. This emotional attachment was at least partially built in the previous tender scene. As it is the passenger reaches for his bag, to get a lighter, and sees the Father’s feet. A struggle ensues and the tension builds as the driver nearly leaves the gas station but is side-tracked by friends. The Father subdues the passenger and drives off, but a drink is thrown on the windshield, obscuring his vision, and he crashes the car. He manages to reach into his bag and grab a tub of acid that he pours on himself to permanently disguise his features. We have reached the opening scene.

The Father disfigured
Abby and Owen are in their respective apartments, both touch the wall in the same spot, another mirror motif. Abby smiles. A news report comes on the radio and she knows that the Father has been caught. She turns up at the hospital – her footwear abandoned again – and walks into reception (this will be mentioned again later). She asks the nurse about her father, and is told he is on the tenth floor. She leaves and the nurse chases after her but she has gone. The nurse doesn’t look up, but we see Abby scaling the wall – the lack of shoes obviously allows her extra purchase when climbing. She knocks on the window and the Father pulls himself there. He cannot invite her in, as he cannot speak, but he offers his neck. She feeds and then pulls him out of the window. The policeman, looking out, doesn’t see Abby at the side. She jumps down ten stories and, given that the film continues, lands unharmed.

blood at mouth
Abby knocks on Owen's window and opens it. He was asleep and, when she asks to be invited in, he mumbles the invitation but it is enough. She tells him not to look at her and strips, getting into the bed naked but with blood smeared and drying on her mouth. He asks how she got to the window and she suggests she flew and, when he realises she is naked (and cold) she asks him if it is gross. In response he asks if she will go steady with him. Abby wants to keep things as they are and, when Owen mentions the word girlfriend, she says she is not a girl (again, we’ll look at gender issues later). He thinks the response is something to deflect his question but then she says she will go steady with him. In the morning she is gone and Owen seems puzzled by her entrance and exit – the windows don’t allow for movement between the apartments. She leaves a note on a Now and Later packet that quotes Romeo and Juliet, “I must be gone and live, or stay and die.”

the worm turns
The school has a trip to the now frozen lake and, on the bus, Owen reads Shakespeare with renewed interest. At the lake, Kenny threatens Owen telling the boy that he will be pushed into the water. Owen finds a rod and we should note that – as it isn’t in the ground where it should be that this is probably the rod that the Father used to push Jack’s corpse into the water. Kenny comes to him and he stands with the rod and says he’ll hit Kenny. Kenny doesn’t believe him but Owen lashes out, ripping Kenny’s ear open and making him fall screaming. Mr Zoric is about to run over when some other children start screaming. They have seen Jack embedded in the ice. The emergency services cut the corpse out of the ice.

Abby is pleased
Owen is taken to the Principle (Brenda Wehle) and read the riot act. That night the policeman starts doing a door to door around the apartment building. Owen opens the door but he is sent to his room and the policeman speaks to his mother and then moves on to Abby’s apartment. She doesn’t answer the door but looks through the peep-hole at him. As he moves away she steps back and a floorboard creaks. He doesn’t hear it. The next day, at school, Owen sees Kenny and hides, watching voyeuristically as Kenny’s brother Jimmy (Brett DelBuono) cruelly teases Kenny and calls him "little girl" – we have the source of the phrase, a cascade of bullying that is shaping Owen’s fragile psyche. That night Owen meets Abby and tells her that he did it, he hit harder than he dared. She is pleased and kisses him, but is she pleased that he stood up for himself or pleased that his violent fantasies have started to materialise as reality? He takes her to a basement area that the adults don’t know about. There was an older boy called Tommy who used to hang out there and would play table tennis with Owen sometimes. Like everyone else in his life, Tommy went away.

Virginia bitten
He decides to do something and has Abby close her eyes. He takes out his knife and cuts his finger. He holds out the knife expecting her to do the same, saying it only hurts for a moment as his blood spills onto the floor – clearly intending to make a blood pact. Abby takes on vampire form and drops to the floor, lapping at the blood. She tells him to run and then runs herself, bursting out of the basement and climbing up a tree, the unnatural cgi movements actually adding to her otherworldliness. Virginia is walking her dog and Abby drops on her, taking a bite out of her neck. Larry pulls her off and Abby runs, clambering over the fence and getting away. The paramedics come for Virginia. Abby running from Owen shows a control that we might have suspected she did not have. Arguably it is because she either actually feels something for Owen or she manages to remember that she shouldn't squander her investment in him.

phoning dad
Owen is clearly at a crossroads at this point. He wants to talk to his mother but she is asleep – probably dead drunk. He therefore phones his dad (Elias Koteas) and asks if there is such a thing as evil. Can, he asks, people be evil. His father uses this to turn on his mother, saying that she is filling his head with her religious crap. We discover during this that he has been absolutely absent for at least two months. He is ignorant of the tears the boy sheds and once again Owen is abandoned by those who should be supporting him. Religion cannot help him, his father treats it with disdain, his mother (who is the representative of religion in his life) is too drunk and self-piteous to help him define, understand and choose between good and evil. He turns to Abby.

old photo
He goes to her apartment and she opens the door. He tells her that she must invite him in – again with have the mirror motif. Inside he asks if she is a vampire (the only time the v word is used) and she says that she needs blood to live. She is 12 but she has been 12 for a long time - she never gives her true age. There are antique puzzles, and she explains that she likes puzzles – this fits with the obsessive compulsive trait of vampires in some folklore. He finds an aged photo strip of her and a boy in glasses – this is the Father when he was Owen’s age. On seeing that he turns to leave. It appears that she might prevent it but steps aside and his reaction is clearly one of jealousy.

The sun rises over the hospital and the way it is filmed makes it appear harsh and merciless. The policeman is there and speaks to Larry who tells him that Virginia has had 6 pints of blood. The policeman shows him an artist’s impression of the Father, and Larry suggests he looks like a guy who lived in his building. His daughter is mentioned as are, again, satanic cults. Now the scene is a staple of the novel, and was in the Swedish version of the film but, for my money, they really upped the ante with this interpretation. Virginia awakens and sees the cannula in her arm has bled. A nurse comes in, not realising that Virginia is sucking the blood from her own arm. She opens the curtains and Virginia is caught in the sun. She starts to smoke and the nurse runs over as Virginia bursts into flames, a veritable inferno that engulfs her and the nurse.

no invitation
Owen is having a pot pie, left by his mother who has gone to see her lawyer. There is a knock at the door and it is Abby. She asks to be invited and he asks her what would happen if he didn’t invite her. She walks in, then she starts to shake, her body starts to bleed copiously and he invites her. She knew he wouldn’t let her die, she says. She showers and then he lets her borrow one of his mother’s dresses, peaking in on her (his voyeurism again surfacing). His mother comes home and they run to his room, Abby goes through the window to get back home. There are two things to discuss here. Firstly the gender identity issue. In the book Eli is a boy who has been castrated and given a penectomy prior to being vampirised. This is vaguely referred to in the Swedish film in the corresponding scene as we see the scar. However, unless you had read the book it is highly unlikely you’d have thought, hmmm… Eli had a penectomy and must have been a boy. The confession by Eli/Abby of not being a girl could refer to the vampire state. I do not think the film suffers for neglecting to convey the book's gender confusion – indeed I’d argue that the Swedish film is hardly distinct in this respect. With regards the requirement to be invited in, the book suggests that an invitation must be given for each method of egress, so if permission to enter is given to a window it doesn’t follow that Eli/Abby could pass through a door into the same building. The film is not clear and it could be that or it could be that permission is needed on each entry regardless of whether that entrance had been used before. At the hospital Abby could enter the reception, I believe, because it was a public place but could not enter the Father’s room as it was a private room.

reflected in the TV
Later that night, with his mother asleep on the couch, Owen sneaks out of the house. Continuing the mirror motif we see his exit reflected on the TV screen which also has a legend asking, “Do you know where your children are?” Clearly his mother doesn’t, wallowing in her own misery she has again cast Owen adrift. He goes to Abby. He awakens the next day in her apartment; there is a note that tells him she is in the bathroom but not to come in. The policeman knocks on the door.

reaching out
Owen goes to the door and looks through the peephole. He steps back and the floorboard creaks – the policeman hears it this time and breaks down the door, but Owen has hidden. He searches the flat, finding the IDs of victims and then the note to Owen. He moves to the bathroom and we get one of the finest tension scenes I have seen for some time. He moves to the bathroom and opens the door, he moves covers in the bath and finds Abby sleeping. He starts to remove the cardboard from the window but Owen shouts to stop, he spins around and then Abby jumps him. Owen walks to the door and, in a brilliantly constructed scene the policeman reaches to Owen – Owen reaches his hand out, it looks as though he will take the adults hand (from the angle the shot is filmed) and then his hand closes over the door-handle, pulling the door shut. Owen has made a choice.

bloodied hug
Abby comes out and holds him, she is bloodied. Then she tells him that she has to go away. She kisses him, transferring blood to his lips. As night falls we see her get a taxi, the body of the policeman is in the basement area – but who put it there? Abby or Owen or did they do it together? We don’t know. Life goes on. Owen goes to his after school training but Jimmy has decided to get revenge over Kenny’s ear. The gang set fire to a dumpster and then lock Mr Zoric out when he investigates. They get everyone out of the pool. Owen runs to get his knife but Jimmy just laughs and they drag him to the pool and throw him in. Jimmy grabs his head, he will have to try and stay under for three minutes. Succeed and he’ll nick Owen’s cheek, fail and he’ll take an eye. As the clock ticks Kenny is getting cold feet. The camera locks on Owen as we hear glass break, see movement in the water, a head spins past Owen. Abby has fulfilled her promise and has helped him, leaving carnage in her wake.

on the train
So we reach the end. Owen is last seen on a train. A crate contains Eli, protecting her from the sun. They communicate by Morse Code and, in a mirror image of the first time we met him, he sings the Now and Later advertising jingle. We can still go on as the film is so rich in detail. Perhaps Eli is the embodiment of Owen’s dark heart. His voyeurism takes in several people. Through the telescope Jack and Virginia; through peepholes Abby, the Father and the Policeman; at school Jimmy, Kenny and Kenny’s gang; in his mother’s bedroom Abby. There is the obvious exception of Abby herself, but each one he spies on is killed by Abby. Indeed, no one is killed by Abby who he had not spied on.

I have mentioned the lore through this article. I have mentioned themes and I have mentioned lighting. What I haven’t mentioned is acting. The acting is top notch all the way through but it is to the two young leads I have to look as the film's success rested on their shoulders. I have to say that I expected great things from Chloe Moretz as she was superb in Kick Ass. She did not disappoint at all. However I knew nothing of Kodi Smit-McPhee and his performance was superb as well. They are, easily, the best young actors I have seen for some time. This is a superb film and I have no shame in offering such a comprehensive case study/review. It is easily one of the best vampire movies ever made and, for me, it is the best film that has come from the Hammer stable – and they had already made some truly great vampire films. 10 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.


Anonymous said...

A masterful review/analysis that explains why Let Me In is arguably this era's definitive vampire film as well as one of the signature stories - in any genre - of our times.

I do like the idea of Abby as the embodiment of Owen's rage and The Father as his future visage. It's a trinity of Owen: The Father, boy (Son), and rage (Spirit).

The vampire myth is very adaptable. The myth can be particularly powerful in an understated way when it's really about ourselves: our fears, anger, longing, and relationships. Habit, The Wisdom of Crocodiles, Let's Scare Jessica To Death, Let Me In.


Taliesin_ttlg said...

Cheers Halek - and thanks for bringing up the trinity aspect... I hadn't quite got there but, yes, that does fit very nicely in the puzzle and also fits with the good and evil motif.

Unknown said...

So this is "serious" vampire film, unlike sumptuous and often silly Gothic classics from Hammer. I haven´t seen this yet, but I have heard mostly praises. (Yes, I have seen trash like Lost souls but not Let me in. So, shoot me. p)

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Rose, you really need to see this one :)

James Garcia Jr said...

Andrew, I saw the trailer for this last year and made a mental note, but the problem is I just don't get chances to watch horror films around my house. In any event, as fate would have it, I was looking for something dark to review for another blog that I (barely) help with, when I had the chance to see this briliant film about six weeks ago or so.
I could not agree with you more.
I read your entire review in pieces this morning while at work on my iPhone. I think you nailed so many points, and a few I hadn't really noticed. I really thought this thing was a piece of artwork. I haven't bought it yet, but my birthday is coming up in a few days and I hope I score the thing.
I think too often people think horror is shock and awe. Lets have some scenes that revolt the audience! Yet, in the powerful scene you described after he makes his choice and closes that bathroom door, only for her to come back to him and hold him in a tender moment, with him accepting of it. Yet, the whole time she is covered in blood and gore. That's horror!!
You got me all excited again just thinking about it. Lol!
Cheers! My friend.


Taliesin_ttlg said...

Cheers Jimmy, That scene is breathtaking. A few of us went to the cinema to see the film and that scene was the first thing we all blurted out about as we left the cinema.

The other scene tht really hit me was the Father in the car, and the way Reeves managed to split the viuewers loyalty.

Good to hear from you

Zahir Blue said...

You know that I love this movie on so many levels. To be honest the CGI distracted me, but c'est la vie. Still a masterpiece, the equal of the Swedish film but noticeably different. The cast members did uniformly wonderful jobs, capturing this amazing tale with honesty and passion.

Unknown said...

Agreed...on all counts.

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Cheers Kevin :)

Unknown said...

Hi and thanks for the best blog ever on the topic... On the topic of this film, did you see the swedish original film?
Let the Right One In (2008)

If you did, and I missed the review, then I was wondering what the reason for the remake making your top films list when the original did not? I've seen both (repeatedly) and feel that the Swedish film has an extra edge to it that the remake does not - both are excellent though...

(sorry i have the flu as i'm writing so i'm a little foggy)

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Hi Sarah, thanks for reading and the nice words :)

It must be the flu :) as the original film review is linked in the second paragraph:

I also scored that very highly (its at #11 in the top 100 films) but, for me, this was a superior film. I know that it perhaps a minority view but this one was just nigh on perfect.

Indeed the book gets a lower score than both films probably because of what it contained (not that it was bad, it was just not a pleasant experience working through some of the real world horror that the films avoided) and the fact that I found the language somewhat clipped (and I think that was the translation rather than the author)