The American version of a beloved Swedish vampire tale comes with an irritating sense of déjà vu.
Remakes are a tricky endeavour. In the case of Let Me In, only two years have passed since the release of its superior predecessor (both are based on the novel by John Ajvde Lindqvist), and with every frame this replica is haunted by the ghost of its original.
Granted, director Matt Reeves (of Cloverfield fame) has not made a carbon copy, yet it comes damn close, and like all clones the artificialities of Let Me In cannot be hidden, no matter how much blood is shed to submerge its flaws.
The plot is the same: Owen (Kodi Smith-McPhee), a young boy mercilessly bullied at school, strikes up a friendship with Abby (Chloe Moretz) a mysterious new neighbour, who is in fact a vampire.
When her blood thirst draws too much attention, Owen is left in a bind as to whether he should help protect his friend, or turn away.
Reeves’ decision to explore the tragic circumstance of Owen’s dilemma through the (minimal) use of religious moralising works well enough, as does Richard Jenkins’ turn as Abby’s mortal guardian.
His weariness and internal conflict towards his role as Abby’s lifeline (he kills unsuspecting teens for their blood) serves as a reminder of what awaits Owen in the future.
Smit-McPhee and Moretz are finely cast, as is the ever reliable Elias Koteas as the detective on Abby’s trail.
Curiosity would no doubt be a factor as to why viewers would watch Let Me In, and to his credit Reeves has created a polished looking piece of horror cinema.
Yet in both its tone and execution, Reeves has failed to provide an innovative alternative worth investing in.
An overuse of violence seems to be his only original drawcard, with more bloodshed and limbs severed in a bid to look more vicious, yet only succeeds in appearing desperate.
In the end the most brutal display of savagery is the film itself, as once again the American film industry feasts on the flesh and bones of their more creative European counterpart.