Matt Reeves' Let Me In, judged solely on its own terms, is a delicate and atmospherically spooky boy-meets-girl vampire yarn, a cathartic school-bully revenge tale and a sweet, rewarding pre-pubescent love story. It's clearly made with the right frame of mind and certainly accomplishes the same icy, desolate chilliness of Tomas Alfredson's original.
The problem is that anything the film accomplishes - mainly that stirring juxtaposition of violence and tenderness, coldness and warmness - is almost entirely indebted to its Swedish inspiration. Aside from a cute plot-loop framework, it's a befuddling cut, paste and repeat process down to the final shot (even the locations are strikingly familiar).
Yet the cast, with the likes of Kodi Smit-McPhee, Richard Jenkins, Elias Koteas and the great Chloe Moretz, bring an added sincerity to the core relationships which run through this horrific yet amiable story that even Alfredson's original couldn't match.
It's just a shame that Reeves fails miserably to make the film his own - in fact, the only strong deviation is an example of divulging too much information - and he manages to adapt his source material without shaping, forming and applying his own ideas whatsoever. As it stands, this is one great film that's awfully imitative - get your own swimming pool. [B-]