Let Me In is a fantasy horror movie directed by Matt Reeves and released in 2010. This film is the American adaptation of Let the Right One In, supposedly adapting the book to screen. This statement is not true. There is an effort to set the movie in America while keeping some of the contexts in the film.

Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee from The Road) is a bullied outcast desperate for somebody to notice him. Abby (Chloë Grace Moretz from Kickass) is a mysterious new girl who only comes out at night. The two form a tested friendship as forces seek to use them. Will this young love survive the forces set against it?

Let-Me-In-Leads
Kodi Smit-McPhee as Owen & Chloë Grace Moretz as Abby

What I like

While setting the story in America creates some growing pains in the narrative, I commend the efforts to provide a parallel experience to the original. Even the cinematography seems deeply inspired by Let the Right One In.

I will also say there are points when not providing a direct adaptation of the novel works best for the narrative. Oskar—or Owen—is called “Piggy” by bullies because he is chubby. In the Swedish film, Oskar is also called “Piggy,” which never made sense since the child was thin. In Let Me In, the bullies call Owen “little girl,” which fits better for a bully’s limited capacity.

The CGI was better.

Let Me In Alt Cover
Alternate Cover

What I Dislike

The problem with most American adaptations of a foreign masterpiece is that it usually is an inferior version but in English. Let Me In does not break this standard. Nearly everything done right or even exceptional was done better in the original. That isn’t to say there were problems in the film, specifically, only that it pales in comparison.
Chloë Grace Moretz is a talented actress and makes a strong Abby, or Eli. But, Eli—played by Lina Leandersson—brings more ominous undertones to the role. I don’t mean to pick on Moretz, as the same point applies to every casting choice.

In terms of adaptation, Let Me In doesn’t try beyond what the original laid out. What is adapted from the novel was adapted by the original with more faith in the source material.

Zeth M. Martinez

Final Thoughts

I don’t fault people for wanting an American remake of foreign films, though they usually disappoint me. Some people genuinely cannot follow subtitles for a variety of reasons. I am a slow reader myself, so I understand. One can even claim that translated books fail to match their source material. I find this all fair criticism. Let Me In is a competent film. But, it is only a competent copy of a masterful film.
3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

About the Author

Zeth received his M.A in English with a focus in Creative Writing at CSU, Chico. As a human writer, he published in the 9th volume of Multicultural Echoes, served on the editorial board of Watershed Review, and is a horror reviewer for Haunted MTL. All agree he is a real-life human and not an octopus in human skin. Fascinated by horror novels and their movie adaptations, Zeth channels his bone-riddled arms in their study. Games are also a tasty treat, but he only has the two human limbs to write. If you enjoy his writing, check out his website.

View Articles