I thought for sure that any Hollywood remake of Tomas Alfredson's artful Swedish vampire film, Let the Right One In, would be a crass desecration. Well, color me blushing. Director Matt Reeves (Cloverfield) proves expert at tracing Alfredson's footsteps, creating a mood of chilling terror even while moving the setting from Stockholm to 1980s New Mexico with Reagan raising fears about the Evil Empire. Better yet, Reeves plugs in a live wire to play Abby, the girl vampire who's been 12 for, well, a very long time. That would be Chloë Grace Moretz, an acting dynamo (see Kick-Ass) whose mesmerizing performance goes deep. Abby fascinates her new neighbor, Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee of The Road), a boy victimized at school by bullies. He wants to be fearless like Abby, whose only parental figure is a guardian, played by the great Richard Jenkins. For the sake of newbies to this story, I'll say no more, except there will be blood and surprising tenderness. Moretz and Smit-McPhee will stay with you, especially in a delicate scene where he asks her to be his girl. "I'm not a girl — I'm nothing," she says. Prepare to be wowed. It's a spellbinder.
From The Archives Issue 157: March 28, 1974