Let Me In review

Remakes aren't the enemy. Not always, anyway. But there's something unbelievably arrogant and patronising about taking an acclaimed foreign language film – in this case 2008's Let the Right One In (aka Låt Den Rätte Komma In) – and remaking it in English. Middle America can't handle subtitles, apparently. Or titles with more than three syllables. 

The notion of a remake was heartsink-inducing, and the reality isn't much better. The basic plot is much the same, give or take a change of name/language/assumed audience IQ level. Twelve-year-old Owen (Smit McPhee) has a miserable time at school and at home, which is respectively down to school bullies and his warring divorced parents. Enter Abby (Moretz), the strange, slightly whiffy girl who moves into the flat next door to Owen's with a man who appears to be her father – and who devotes a considerable amount of time to obtaining blood for her to drink ... 

While the basics are intact, Let Me In does away with great chunks of subplot that had made the journey from John Ajvide Lindqvist's novel to the Swedish film. This, then, is a dumbed down version of the story. Scenes where we see Abby behaving like a vampire (rather than a little girl) are given a pantomime twist, one of the most dramatic scenes has been shunted right to the beginning (because, y'know, people are just too stupid to enjoy any kind of slow-burning plot) and some scenes have been simplified for no apparent reason. So, for example, an important decision made by one character is now just something that happens by accident. 

There's nothing to commend Let Me In above the original. That's not down to the cast – Chloe Moretz is as good as she always is, and it's not possible to level any criticisms at the other actors. In particular, the young cast are all superb. It's just that Let Me In is what happens when you take a good film and stick it through the Hollywood machine. Is the fact that Lindqvist, author of the original novel, co-wrote the screenplay a mitigating factor? Is it heck. What on earth was he thinking?

• Let Me In at IMDb

Anne Wollenberg

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