For fans of the 2008 Swedish import “Let the Right One In” littering the Internet with cries of blasphemous imitation, Chloe Moretz, the 13-year-old star of “Let Me In,” has a simple request: Give Matt Reeves’ remake a chance.
“Put aside the controversy and watch the movie,” says Moretz, who plays Abby, a centuries-old vampire trapped in the pale, deceptively frail-looking body of a 12-year-old. “See if you take something new from it.”
Though the roar of fanboy discontent stirred by the first announcement of an American remake has since died down to a murmur, those haunted by Tomas Alfredson’s original “Let,” which won the San Francisco Film Critics Circle’s Best Foreign Film award, remain wary of Hollywood tampering. Co-star Richard Jenkins understands.
“There’s nothing wrong with the original,” says Jenkins, 63, the 2009 Oscar nominee (for “The Visitor”) appearing in “Let Me In” as The Father, Abby’s mysterious guardian, “it’s brilliant.”
In fact, the best reason for doing a remake, he says, isn’t to correct someone else’s mistakes: “It’s usually because you love the original, and you have something else you want to say.
“Something about the relationship between Abby and [Owen, the lonely 12-year-old played by Kodi Smit-McPhee] spoke to Matt. I asked him if he understood how big a risk he was taking, remaking this much-beloved movie, but ‘Let Me In’ was something he needed to do.”
Reeves, co-creator of TV’s “Felicity” and director of the 2008 creature feature “Cloverfield,” makes no secret of his admiration for the original, but notes that the striking similarities between his film and Alfredson’s can be attributed to a common inspiration, John Ajvide Lindqvist’s 2004 novel.
“The screenplay for the original was Lindqvist’s, and he did an amazing job,” says Reeves, 44, who wrote “Let Me In” and never hesitated to add his own ideas. “A lot of the scenes in both films are taken verbatim from the book. I wasn’t going to change them just for the sake of being different.
“What I really love about movies is point of view. With Kodi’s character, I wanted you to see things from his perspective, like you do with the Jimmy Stewart character in ‘Rear Window.’ But I also wanted you to feel The Father’s pain. We see him as a sort of serial killer, but as we watch his plans and his life unravel, we start rooting for him. That was why I needed to make ‘Let Me In’ — to explore these rich, relatable characters, to portray the world as they see it.”