Filling up seconds with paragraphs of words, director Matt Reeves impressed a full Comic-Con crowd with his technical knowledge and his film fandom. Those who could keep up with him, at least. The man spoke in the knowing pace of a hundred miles a minute with an audience fortunate to catch words like Hitchcock, Kino, and Dutch Angle like pennies from Heaven amongst the strikingly long statements.
It was his expertise and passion that held everyone captive, but it was also the names he dropped. Not in the form of famous talent he’s sat down to lunch with, but in the form of the films that truly inspired him while working on Let Me In.
After some impressive footage, it seems like these films sunk in deep. Thus, by way of a mini-Masters class on the subject, here are the four films that Matt Reeves kept in the forefront of his mind while shaping his coming-of-age vampire film.
Silence of the Lambs
A madman swinging a basket full of lotion down into a pit while a young woman cries uncontrollably. A new agent speaking with a criminal mastermind that has a taste for human flesh. Night vision goggles. These are usually the things that come to mind when Jonathan Demme’s modern masterpiece is mentioned, but it was the closeness and intimacy of the abduction scene that Matt Reeves wants to evoke with Let Me In. Fans of the original, Let The Right One In, can probably guess the particular scene as it also has to do with kidnapping out of necessity – out of a need for parts of the human body. In Silence of the Lambs, Buffalo Bill asks a sweet young girl for help loading furniture into the back of his truck. She does. She ends up at the bottom of a pit.
Of course, there’s a lot to mine from the fear created by Rosemary’s Baby. It’s a tight, celebrated bit of horror, but it’s also got a lot of personal, emotional impact. At the panel for Let Me In, Reeves discussed specifically the moment in which Mia Farrow breaks down completely. It’s a difficult shot to watch – close up, unflinching, and Reeves mentioned that he wanted a scene like that for Let Me In. This, of course, led to the question of what young actress would be able to handle it. This question, of course, led to Reeves singing the praises of Chloe Moretz.
Dial M For Murder
One of the scenes shown at Comic-Con was done in the well-worn style of frustrating a character by making it more and more difficult to complete a necessary task while making it easier and easier to get caught. It just happens to be a killer in this case. In Hitchcock’s murder plot perfection, the idea is that the audience can know everything about the plan and not see it being carried out correctly. Because he’s Hitchcock, he makes us want the killer to succeed and then throws as many small, devilishly-timed obstacles in the way. Reeves mentioned the film in relation to what he’s tried to do with the family of monsters next door – a young vampire and her old servant (Richard Jenkins) who finds himself in an ethical impossibility. Through their perspectives, Reeves set out to create experiences that the audience would never have normally.
Let The Right One In
It goes without saying that Reeves couldn’t speak of his film without celebrating the genius of Let The Right One In. He made it clear that his film will be different in many ways – including ways that stay truer to the novel and ways that move away from it. However, as much of a fan as he is of Alfredson’s adaptation, he wouldn’t allow any of his actors to see it if they hadn’t already. As a result, they all watched it after filming but came to the project untainted toward their characters.
It’s difficult to believe that a remake of a foreign horror film from only two years ago could be done well, but with all of the evidence laid out on the table – and with Reeves’s clear passion and film knowledge – it seems like he and the production team might have done just that.
We find out on October 1st.