Tuesday, January 25, 2011

LET ME IN (Blu-ray)

"Are you a vampire?"
"I need blood to live."
"But how old are you, really?"
"Twelve. But... I've been twelve for a very long time
." 

I can't tell you how nice it was to put a new horror flick into the Blu-Ray player and see the "Hammer" logo pop up. I'm a long-time fan of that British studio's gothic horrors, and while the latest incarnation of the company has little to do with the producers of such classics as HORROR OF DRACULA, CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN (or even VAMPIRE CIRCUS), it was still a kick seeing that name on a vampire movie again.

And, much to my delight, the movie in question, LET ME IN (2010), director Matt Reeves' (CLOVERFIELD) remake of the 2008 Norwegian thriller, LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, was probably the best vampire film I've seen in ten years or more.

In 1980s New Mexico, a lonely, odd young boy named Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee, THE ROAD) is having a tough time dealing with his parents' divorce and the bullying of his classmates. One evening, a man and a young girl move into Owen's apartment complex, specifically, the apartment next door to his own. He eventually befriends the strange little girl (Chloe Moretz, "Hit-Girl" from KICK-ASS), and over time, comes to realize that she is a vampire...

I have not seen the Norweigan version, so I can't fairly compare the remake to its source, but I've heard that LET ME IN follows that film quite faithfully. Eerie, disturbing and and utterly compelling, Matt Reeve's version is a remarkable, and refreshingly intelligent, horror film. Reeve's direction is engaging and atmospheric, and the acting by the young leads - especially Moretz - is nothing less than astounding. The effectiveness of the entire film hangs on the believability of their relationship, and the kids are exceptionally convincing, bringing amazing depth and sympathy to their roles.

I was pleasantly surprised by the traditional nature of the vampires (no TWILIGHTish "sparkling" here, kids) and the "rules" that govern their behavior, and equally pleased by the viciousness of the violence. The effects were mostly very well done, with only a couple minor/brief bits of unnatural - and unconvincing - CGI. Ultimately, though, the strength of the storytelling, chilling atmosphere, and powerful performances, truly make the film. It's very good.

Anchor Bay's Blu-Ray edition (which also includes a Digital Copy disc) sports a gorgeous, 1080p HD 2.40:1 widescreen transfer, and Dolby TrueHD 5.1 sound. Bonus features include an engrossing commentary track by director Reeves, a handful of behind-the-scenes featurettes, deleted scenes, theatrical trailers and a poster gallery.

LET ME IN is the freshest, strongest horror film I've seen in a long time. It's not a gimmick flick, gorefest or special effects orgy, but, instead, a deliberately-paced, character-driven chiller that truly delivers the goods. Highly recommended.

BUY: Let Me In [Blu-ray]