In one of the most spectacularly disquieting sequences of Let Me In, Richard Jenkins commits a gruesome murder in a car. As the saddened blood-hunter and ostensible guardian (but really slave) of 12-year-old vampire Abby (Chloë Grace Moretz), he strangles the driver while a cheesy rock song blares, and the car then tumbles (in an unbroken POV shot) into a ditch. The scene has a sickening power, yet the surprise of Let Me In is that director Matt Reeves (Cloverfield) hasn't just remade the Swedish cult vampire film Let the Right One In (2008) into a more fluid and visceral movie. He's made it more dangerous.
Let Me In invites us to sympathize more directly with Jenkins' ambiguous overseer (even though it suggests, as the first film didn't dare, a far creepier side to his bond with the vampire). And this, in turn, makes Abby a much more ironic savior when she befriends Owen, the sensitive boy in her apartment complex who's become a punching bag at school. As Owen, Kodi Smit-McPhee is so delicate he's like a princeling newborn, yet he's a forceful actor. Moretz curls her lips with macabre domination, and Reeves makes her shockingly fast a herky-jerky demon in the bloodsucker scenes. The story is still awfully languid, but Let Me In has greater potency than Let the Right One In, because it's about a ''redemptive'' love so haunted you're never sure if it can lead to anything but more evil. B+