8 out of 10
I don’t know if it prejudices or re-enforces my opinion of this film but I did see the original foreign version titled “Let the Right One In.” In most instances, the original version of a film is superior to a remake. However, this version is so close to an English speaking carbon copy of the first that it’s tough to rate any differently. It not only follows the story almost exactly but the visual look of the film, right down to the choices of lighting, character performances, and lens filters are carried over as well. It somewhat reminded me of Gus Van Sant’s remake of Psycho without being an obnoxious shot for shot remake. Like the original, the story shows a great deal of respect for its characters. Emotions and personal problems are put front and center and they are conveyed in a believable and satisfying way. All of the child actors are excellent particularly Kodi Smit-Mcfee and Chloe Grace Moretz(Hit Girl from the movie Kick-Ass).
Adolescence is the toughest of ages. You’re not only going through physical changes but you’re saying goodbye to your childhood innocence. The fact that the original screenwriter decided to have a vampire film that takes place during this period was an extremely original and interesting idea. This isn’t a big action film at all. Don’t expect vampire hunters, wooden stakes, or garlic. It’s a character driven piece about friendship and loyalty. If there’s one main criticism I could levy against it, the special effects are really, really bad. Whenever Moretz feeds, she goes into CGI mode and it looks like a fucking cartoon invaded the film. She jumps around like Jar Jar Binks and climbs on the back of her victim. It looked so fake that it almost made me laugh. You have to remember that this film takes itself very seriously. There’s little to no humor and when something so obviously computer generated shows up, it takes you right out of the wonderful mood that the director has created.
I’ll also point out that if you’ve seen the original Swedish version, don’t bother. It’s so close in tone and story structure that you’ve already seen it. But, if you have yet to enjoy either version, there’s so much to like here. I highly recommend it.