starring Kodi Smit-McPhee, Chloë Grace Moretz, Richard Jenkins, Elias Koteas
screenplay by Matt Reeves, based on the novel Låt den rätte komma in by John Ajvide Lindqvist
directed by Matt Reeves
by Walter Chaw SPOILER WARNING IN EFFECT. Matt Reeves's redux of Swede Tomas Alfredson's lovely, understated, doom-laden Let the Right One In finds magnification in the wrong places while betraying what seems to be its better nature in order to present something more "palatable" to a popular audience. Wrong to call it a "dumbing down"--better to say that elements left unspoken or at arm's length in the original film are presented in Let Me In in as confrontational, uncontroversial a way as possible. More's the pity, as the movie begins with Ronald Reagan quoting Alexis de Tocqueville in his "Evil Empire" speech (delivered to the National Association of Evangelicals on March 8, 1983) on a television in a snowed-in New Mexico E.R.: "Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the greatness and the genius of America... America is good. And if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great." It's a thread of Christian fervour that weaves through much of the first twenty minutes of the picture, through the introduction of our hero, Owen (a tremendous Kodi Smit-McPhee), suffering an extended Grace delivered by a faceless mother (Cara Buono) and, later, an admonition by an also-faceless father over the telephone that Owen's mother is unbalanced and should stow her Christian shit a bit more tightly. The lack of the father as a physical presence in the film becomes a poignant elision in this respect: in a film about good and evil, the divorce between Father and Son, as it were, is a pithy one.