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Toronto Dispatch: 'Let Me In'

When it was announced that Hollywood would be remaking "Let the Right One In"--the wildly popular Swedish film about a young boy who befriends the girl next door, who turns out to be a vampire--you could hear the Internet go into overload. While I didn't have high hopes for a remake, now titled "Let Me In," I started to feel more assured the moment writer-director Matt Reeves ("Cloverfield") picked his cast. First, there was the brilliant idea to cast Richard Jenkins as the caretaker of the vampire--an idea I had actually suggested the minute I saw the original film. (Then again, I pretty much suggest Jenkins for EVERY film, as all movies can only be improved by his presence.) Then I heard Chloe Moretz (a.k.a. Hit Girl in "Kick-Ass") would be playing the ageless vampire. Finally, I learned the young boy (called Oskar in the original, Owen in this version) was being played by Kodi Smit-McPhee, who gave a beautiful, heartbreaking performance in last year's "The Road." Viggo Mortensen played Smit-McPhee's father in the post-apocalyptic drama, and he told me at a Q&A last year how impressed he was with how the young actor handled the heavy material. "He would be crying and screaming in a scene and when they yelled 'cut,' he'd go right back to laughing and just being a normal kid," Mortensen noted. "I could learn something from that." 

I've actually seen "Let Me In" (opening Oct. 1) and I'm happy to report Reeves did a wonderful job, staying true to the spirit of the original while putting his own mark on the movie. Most reactions I've been hearing pretty much say the same thing--they're pleasantly surprised by how good the film is. What's even more impressive about Smit-McPhee's performance is that he does it all with a flawless American accent--I completely forgot he's Australian! I had the chance to talk to Smit-McPhee in Toronto, where the now 14-year-old actor talked about his role, and how he understands people being wary of a remake. 

--Jenelle Riley

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