Kodi Smit-McPhee, Chloe Moretz, Richard Jenkins, Elias Koteas
Owen: How old are you, really?
Abby: Twelve…but I’ve been twelve for a really long time.
A lonely 12 year old boy, Owen (Smit-McPhee), meets a 12 year old girl, Abby (Moretz), who just moved into his apartment complex. Abby seems equally lonely – but way more mysterious – and the two slowly build up a friendship. It’s a tough friendship to maintain though, seeing as how Abby can only come out at night…since, ya know, she’s a vampire.
Remakes…most people hate them, and with good reason. Whenever one comes out, especially so soon after the high quality original, people wonder why bother going through the trouble. Well, this is why. It’s a good story I’m sure quite a few people would miss out on because they wouldn’t be willing to watch the original, Swedish, version. Plus, as the filmmakers are quick to point out, it’s more like a different take on the book rather than a remake of another movie.
Yes, the original is probably superior, but not by a very wide margin. In fact, I think the Matt Reeves directed version might best the original in a few areas. I won’t go into a scene for scene comparison, but Reeves seems to know how to stage a tense, suspenseful sequence well. And that’s one of the main differences between the two versions, the overall tone. The original was a bit more calm, quiet, morose (but in a good way), while this version ramps up the tension and the scares a bit more. Thankfully it doesn’t go overboard with it, and there’s still room for the quietly building, sweet friendship between Owen and Abby.
Speaking of them, Smit-McPhee and Moretz are both very good in their roles. Moretz is becoming quite the scary little 12 year old when you consider her previous role as Hit Girl in Kick-Ass along with this movie. Be careful around that one. Besides having an odd name, Kodi Smit-McPhee also looks like he could have just walked straight out of the Swedish version of this story. That’s pretty much perfect casting right there.
Their relationship is the heart of the movie, and it’s a strong heart. If that relationship didn’t work, the film would be a waste of time. The leads act it well, Reeves directs it well, and Michael Giacchino (of Lost fame) adds his usual emotive music into the mix.
Overall, both versions of this film are worth a watch. They offer up different enough viewing experiences to make it not seem too repetitive to watch them both. If I had seen this version first, I might think it was the superior version. It’s always hard to judge remakes, or re-tellings, since you’ve essentially already seen it. But I can say that I enjoyed watching this particular re-telling, even though I knew exactly where the story was going. That’s a good sign.
Oh, and in case there are any vampires out there, consider this my invitation for you to come in and read my movie blog.
When you bully somebody, you bully their friends too. Make sure you know who those friends are.
10 – 1 because it does go overlong a bit and probably could have done without the opening scene that’s repeated later – .4 for ramping up the scares/tension a bit too much = 8.6