“Anyone expecting the frenetic pacing and whiplash visuals of Cloverfield,” writes The Los Angeles Times’ Marc Olsen. “…will be shocked by his new film’s stillness, as well as the patient and exacting mood that Reeves is working to create.”
He’s writing about Matt Reeves, director of Cloverfield and the forthcoming controversial pre-teen vampire remake Let Me In, based on the 2008 film Let the Right One In and the novel that inspired it. In the piece — which published today at The LA Times — Olsen and Reeves are playing what appears to be team defense, beating away the fears of genre fans who have openly criticized both the necessity and authenticity of such a remake. And there’s something to that. Reeves has been on his heels since the beginning, understandably. He’s remaking a film heralded as one of the best genre flicks in years a mere two years after its original release. It wreaks of a lack of shame.
Then again, Reeves isn’t making another Cloverfield. As he describes, he is aware that fans might be expecting a frenetic, stylish affair. But that’s not what he’s in it for. “I think because of Cloverfield, people have an assumption, which is, ‘Oh, crazy handicam, he’s going to jazz it up,’ ” Reeves said. “And I think that’s probably what a lot of people were afraid of when they thought of the most cynical version. And that’s the last thing we tried to do. We tried to create the approaching, foreboding dread of movies like The Shining, where you feel like something wicked is unraveling and it’s not going to end well. That’s what I responded to about the original, the juxtaposition of those tones, this very disturbing story but at the center of it there are these very tender emotions. That’s a very unusual mix, and that’s what drew me in and dug into me.”
“This is a vampire movie, but really it’s about the pain of adolescence. And that kind of thing is really exciting to me.”
There is a hint here that Reeves — whose credits beyond Cloverfield include co-creating Felicity with J.J. Abrams — has a very clear idea of the kind of movie that he’d like to make. He’s looking to make the same slow-burning, delicate film as the original. He’s charged it with acting talent — including Kick-Ass‘ Chloe Moretz, The Road‘s Kodi Smit-McPhee and Oscar nominee Richard Jenkins — and will give it more than a small amount of visual pop (300 visual effects shots worth).
There’s no doubt that rejection is on the horizon for Let Me In. Few remakes will ever eclipse the experience of seeing a truly original film (especially one like Let the Right One In) for the first time. The question now becomes whether or not there was a good reason to bring the story back so soon. Is there a fresh angle or idea that Reeves and Co. have for the remake, or will we see a simple Americanized rip off? That’s a question that will only be answered when the film hits theaters. For now though, it’s good to know that it’s on Matt Reeves’ mind.