Refocusing the context of Tomas Alfredson's 2008 film adaptation of John Lindqvist's novel Let the Right One In, Matt Reeves has created one of the best American horror films in years. It's not just that the film is a more visceral experience with a more horrifying undertone, but it's also a more emotional experience with better acting by its young actors (the fantastic Kodi Smit-McPhee and Chloe Moretz). I was completely floored by how much I liked Let Me In. That's mostly because I wasn't expecting anything from director Reeves (Cloverfield). All the credit is due to him, though, as he has not re-imagined (the most dreaded words in movies of the last ten years) or remade the wonderful 2008 film, but he has simply taken elements from the novel that spoke to him more personally and built a film out of those experiences. And it's easy to see the love for the source material Reeves has as Let Me In never feels like we're just seeing an Americanized version of the Swedish film. Sure, there are similar scenes (some even framed the same way), but Let Me In is its own movie without making the viewer pine for Alfredson's. In fact, the two can co-exist as different film experiences even thought they have the same source material, and that is maybe what is most fascinating and impressive about it. I also appreciated how Reeves trims the fat the story audiences know because of Alfredson's film. Let the Right One In is a great film, there's no debating that, but I've seen it three times now and each subsequent viewing makes me more aware of the superfluous material. Alfredson's film just kind of drags in parts as he's more interested in telling a more contemplative story that gets under your skin and lingers for a long time afterwards (atmosphere and nuance, not to mention ambiguity, are all strong points of emphasis for Alfredson). Reeves believes in these things, too (especially the restraint he shows in the films initial murder scene at a railroad crossing, and the way he and his DP shoot a car accident from the inside backseat), but he puts more emphasis on the coming of age aspect of the story (there's a great scene where Smit-McPhee quietly emotes like an old pro in a painful scene where his character Owen has a painfully emotional phone conversation with his part-time dad) and definitely more focus on how Abby (Moretz) has evil intentions towards Owen as she looks to recruit him for purposes other than friendship and love. Some people may say that Oskar and Eli from Let the Right One were the better relationship because Eli's intentions weren't so obvious, but that's what makes Let Me In so great: it doesn't do anything to tarnish the great things that Alfredson's film did with the source material. This is Reeves' vision, and it's a damn good one. Not only is the film atmospheric and a great vampire movie, but its better acted and more emotionally profound. It's definitely the biggest American surprise of 2010. I loved it.