Director Matt Reeves broke onto the scene when he wrote and directed the very limp David Schwimmer/Gwyneth Paltrow romantic-drama The Pallbearer in 1996.
Reeves moved on to co-creating Felicity with JJ Abrams where he directed five episodes including the pilot. He also wrote 73 episodes.
When JJ jumped to the big screen, he didn’t forget his partner. In 2008, Reeves directed the alien-invasion smash Cloverfield which JJ produced.
That brings us to LET ME IN. The movie is a remake of the 2008 Norweigan horror film, Let The Right One In. But it is one of those rare remakes that is in some ways equal to and superior than the original.
The movie stars Kodi Smit-McPhee, who we last saw as Viggo Mortensen’s traumatized son in The Road. In Let Me In, Kodi plays Owen, a bullied 12-year-old who has no friends and dreams of trying to stand up for himself. One night he watches a young girl, Abby (Chloe Moretz) and her father move in to the apartment next to his. He noticed that even though it is frigidly cold outside the girl is barefoot and has no problems walking in the snow.
The next evening Owen meets Abby on the playground in front of his apartment complex. She warns him they can never be friends and Owen wonders why. They become more and more curious about each other until one day Owen wants to become “blood brothers” with his friend. Abby freaks out and reveals she is in fact a vampire. Will their friendship survive the ultimate test? Is Owen’s life in danger from his new friend?
Director Matt Reeves is an interesting director to watch. You have his plain jane approach with The Pallbearer, sentimentality in the Felicity pilot, raw hand-held terror of Cloverfield and then the toned-down spooky approach seen in Let Me In. I think what makes Reeves so strong is he is the king of atmosphere and how he is able to adapt. Each one of his directorial efforts plays with atmosphere to amazing results.
Reeves directs the movie through a very claustrophobic lens. Many of his shots are over the shoulder, through a telescope, up-close and personal, etc. They are timed perfectly and where most American directors would go for the shock or flash everything is beautifully subdued. This is a directing feast!
I think for me what made this movie in some ways superior to the original is just how incredible the kids performances are in the film. Yes, the kids in the original were brilliant as well but these kids complimented the tone, atmosphere and story of the film.
Kodi Smit-McPhee was unforgettable as Viggo Mortensen’s sheltered yet broken son in The Road but here he takes his acting to the next level. From the scenes of where he is being bullied to the tender scenes with Abby this young actor is showing more depth than some actors twice his age.
Chloe Moretz, who was Hit Girl in Kick Ass proves once more that she is definitely the next Dakota Fanning. She is absolutely brilliant. She has innocence, danger and creepiness in every look and scene she’s in. It is just so haunting!
What a pleasant surprise and a remarkable film!
(4 out of 5)
So Says the Soothsayer