Let Me In (Blu-ray) (2010)

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Released 23-Feb-2011

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Audio Commentary-Director Matt Reeves
Featurette-Making Of-From the Inside
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Art of the Special Effects
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Car Crash Sequence
Bonus Track-Picture-in-Picture
Deleted Scenes
Gallery-Poster-Poster and Still
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2010
Running Time 115:47
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Matt Reeves
Studio
Distributor
Icon Entertainment Starring Kodi Smit-McPhee
Chloe Moretz
Richard Jenkins
Cara Buono
Elias Koteas
Sasha Barrese
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI $49.95 Music Michael Giacchino


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.40:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Firstly, the elephant in the room. When it was first announced that American director Matt Reeves was to helm the film Let Me In there was a general sense of outrage amongst the foreign film-loving community. After all, the last square of celluloid for the Swedish film Let the Right One In had barely made its way through the projector gate before evil Hollywood had decided to remake the movie. To Americanize it. The earlier film was in fact itself an adaptation of a Swedish horror novel. The fuss pretty much died not long after the American "version" came out and, sadly, the film did only marginally better at the box office than the "original". Very sad, for both films are exceptional additions to the horror genre. Some critics regard the later film as redundant but, for my money, the later holds its own and in some way exceeds the earlier version.

     For those who haven't read the book or seen Let The Right One In, the film is a vampiric love story of sorts some light years away from the swoon of Twilight or the lusty fang-banging of True Blood. Like the best of the vampire sub-genre it isn't really about vampires at all. Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee) is a lonely boy living in an apartment complex, and not exactly a ritzy one, in suburban Los Alamos, New Mexico. It is 1983. Owen is estranged from just about everything needed for teenage development. His parents are separated and his father is living apart, a voice at the end of the phone line. His mother is withdrawn and obsessed with her failed marriage and her religious devotion. Although Mad Men actress Cara Buono plays Owen’s mother we never see her face. She is in her own world meaning that Owen is too. He is a shy kid and the immediate target of bullies at school. At night he sits out on the play equipment in the common area of the apartment block acting out revenge fantasies against his tormentors. When the odd teen girl Abby (Chloe Moretz) moves into the apartment block with her apparent father (Richard Jenkins) it doesn't surprise Owen that she tells him outright that they cannot be friends. But little by little they do become friends as Abby comes to recognize in Owen a similar tortured soul. It is no spoiler to say that Abby isn't quite the innocent little girl she is made out to be- instead she is a vampire and so too the relationship between her and Jenkins isn't quite what it seems.

     Although the film has horror elements it is more of a love story between two kids, sort of, who just don't fit in. This version introduces another character, a detective played by Elias Koteas who has a role in some key plot points but the back story of the character isn’t really fleshed out and it seems like a way to remedy a problem not in the book. Matt Reeve directs with subtlety and care leaving much to the cast. He is fortunate in not only having the brilliant Richard Jenkins but also two of the best actors, young or old, working today in Smit-McPhee (powerful in Romulus, My Father and The Road) and Moretz, who came to attention/notoriety as Hit Girl in Kick Ass. Look out for her in Martin Scorsese's Hugo Chabret movie and with Sam Worthington in The Fields. She is going to be a star.

     Stephen King called Let Me In the best American horror movie for 20 years. That is mighty praise from a genre master but it also does a slight disservice to a film that can be appreciated by anyone who likes a deep, compelling dramatic story, albeit with some gore and grunt.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Let Me In was shot on a variety of 35mm film stocks and exhibited in the cinema at what IMDB describes as a 2.35:1 aspect ratio and the Blu-ray case (the review copy came without retail packaging but I spied a copy in JB Hi Fi) states 2.40:1. To the extent that anyone might notice the Blu-ray divides the two ratios, coming in at 2.38:1.

     At the Megaplex where I saw it, the film looked washed out, blurry and dull. On Blu-ray it looks nothing of the sort. The image is deliberately downbeat in tone with browns and oranges dominating. The film is set in the 80s and carries the look of the era. Far from drab, the colours in the film are well observed and it is possible to appreciate the delicate lighting work and subtle colour use in the film. The flesh tones are well handled - everyone looks cold!

     The image quality is sharp and the level of grain light. There are no technical defects with the presentation.

     There are subtitles in English for the Hearing Impaired.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     Sound plays an important role in Let Me In. In fact, the absence of sound plays quite a role too, particularly when Owen is in his room straining to listen for sounds emanating from next door. Then the thumps of Abby hitting the wall are rendered cleanly and crisply by the sub-woofer. The surrounds receive a work out from the variety of effects on offer.

     The prime English track is a Dolby Digital True HD 5.1 that conveys both the dialogue clearly and cleanly and the music and sounds. The original music is by composer Michael Giacchino who strays some distance from his Oscar winning score for Up to create a perfect accompaniment for the film - scary and scratchy at times and subtle and moody, sometimes moving, at others. The songs used are time specific such as David Bowie's Let's Dance.

    The commentary track is a Dolby Digital 2.0 running at 192Kb/s.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

     There are some good extras on this Blu-ray release. There are also annoying trailers, skippable, when the Blu-ray is popped into the player.

Commentary Track by Writer/Director Matt Reeves

     Matt Reeves is an enthusiastic speaker and he fills the commentary track with detail about the background to the film, the production process and the various versions of the story. The track is a little serious for those looking for giggles and gossip but Reeves assumes we listeners are also serious about the themes and influences of other films and media on the work.

From the Inside: A Look at the Making of Let Me In (17:04)

     Far from a standard EPK, this is a pretty good Making of with interviews with key players including Matt Reeves, Richard Jenkins, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Chloe Moretz and others including the production crew. There are lots of scenes on-set.

The Art of Special Effects (6:29)

     One for the tech fans, this shows various FX shots from the film and the careful work that went into perfecting them.

Car Crash Sequence Step-By-Step (5:34)

     A detailed breakdown of the short but impressive car crash sequence from the film showing the animatics, test runs and filming sequences. The featurette is narrated by telephone. An interesting look into the complexity of a key but brief moment.

Picture-in-Picture Blu-ray Exclusive: Dissecting Let Me In

     If you wish to have the extras material and some other insights, including interviews with the cast and producers pop up when you least expect it choose this option from the main menu.

Deleted Scenes (5:06)

     There are three scenes which can be heard with an optional commentary by Reeves. One tells the significant back-story of Abby and another, which I would have liked to see in the finished film, is one where Owen needs convincing as to why Abby is a good, umm being, despite her voracity. Great acting from the youngsters.

Poster and Still Gallery

     A bit of a different take on the whole gallery feature. This has a background against which the pictures, principally on-set shots are displayed. The photos are displayed in thumbnail on the top of the picture.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

 The versions on sale here and in Region A appear to be the same although there is apparently a 2 disc edition that contains a DVD of the film and a comic book. Unless you want either get the Region B.

Summary

     Fan boys and haters will choose their sides and never the twain shall meet. For those who want a well directed, stunningly acted horror drama Let Me In scores highly on all counts.

     The image is not sunshine and lollipops but this Blu-ray brings out the dark tones of the film in the cinema with stunning detail. The extras are fairly comprehensive and interesting. If you can't decide which side of the supporter’s fence to sit on - buy both.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Trevor Darge (read my bio)
Tuesday, March 01, 2011
Review Equipment
DVDCambridge 650BD (All Regions), using HDMI output
DisplaySony VPL-VW80 Projector on 110" Screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationPioneer SC-LX 81 7.1
SpeakersAaron ATS-5 7.1

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Aspect Ratio -
Moretz, not Moritz - REPLY POSTED
Re aspect ratio - REPLY POSTED
Anonymous -
re: aspect ratio -
Classic example... - REPLY POSTED
Let us not forget, too... -
Re: Let us not forget too... - REPLY POSTED
Re: Let us not forget too... -
re: Classic example. - REPLY POSTED