While promoting the DVD and Blu-Ray release of his latest endeavor, Let Me In, Matt Reeves took some time to chat with Dread Central about its release and how Hitchcock influenced his style for his take on John Lindqvist’s story of isolation and adolescence, his incredible cast, and what’s in store for the writer/director now that the film is debuting on home video February 1st.
Since most genre fans only have Reeves’ last flick, Cloverfield, as a reference point, it may shock those who missed the film when it was in theaters that Let Me In isn’t another exercise in handycam filmmaking. In fact, for Reeves, this project was more his speed when it comes to storytelling.
“It may surprise a lot of people, but Cloverfield is actually not my usual style of storytelling,” explained Reeves. “What I will say is that there are a lot of parallels between that film and Let Me In. Both films are very POV-driven, and while Cloverfield was challenging and fun to make, Let Me In is closer to the style I love to do as a filmmaker. It just feels more intimate and subtle, which is what I wanted audiences to get out of it.”
“I was very much influenced by Hitchcock with Let Me In – it was important to me to immerse viewers into this world of adults but to have them see it from the point of view of Owen, a boy struggling with his parent’s divorce and bullies, so you see him kind of awakening throughout the movie into this new ‘grown-up’ world through his experiences with Abby and while watching his neighbors. It needed to bring viewers right in with Owen, and I think we accomplished that,” Reeves added.
And while there were a lot of similarities between Reeves’ vision of Lindqvist’s work and Tomas Alfredson’s 2008 Swedish-language version, Let the Right One In, there was one sequence in particular that completely blew this writer’s mind – the car crash with Richard Jenkins – and I just had to find out how Reeves came up with the sequence and how he was able to put it together seamlessly.
Reeves said, “The car crash sequence was something I had always envisioned since I wrote the script and was heavily influenced by Dial M for Murder. I always thought that was so interesting when you see them planning for this crime, and everything that can go wrong ultimately does. And the same thing happens to Richard in Let Me In. But the thing that I love about that scene is that you unwittingly get pulled in and begin rooting for the serial killer because nothing is going right for him and you know how trapped he is. And just when you think he’s about to escape, then the crash hits and you take the ride along with him.”
“I worked alongside our VFX guy Brad Parker to determine the best way to get the crash scene made and still keep the audience inside the car during the crash so you get the same disorientation that Richard’s character gets, too. We used a lot of YouTube videos for reference, and there was one video in particular that just floored me. It was a video of a cab driver who got in a crash after he fell asleep at the wheel. You’re just watching him from a dashboard camera and you see him nod off. But as that happens, all of a sudden you can see the horizon moving around him, and I knew that’s exactly what I wanted to do in Let Me In. And Brad worked hard to make sure we pulled it off,” Reeves added.
With fan expectation high, Reeves knew that he had to put together a cast that wasn’t just actors, but people who truly embodied those characters. “Let Me In is a very adult-themed movie, but the anchors to the movie were going to be the two kids caught inside this adult world. Most people say that I must have cast both Kodi (Smit-McPhee) and Chloe (Moretz) because of The Road and Kick-Ass, but honestly, neither were available to watch so it was purely based on their auditions. But I knew the minute I met Kodi that I could make Let Me In; he was going to ‘be’ this movie, and everything about him was perfect for Owen.”
“Chloe embraced this different type of vampire with her Abby – we’re not dealing with the fantasy world type of vampires in Let Me In at all. Abby is alone, alienated and scared, and Chloe just nailed those feelings with her performance. Elias (Koteas) is amazing; that guy is really a genius. I worked with him on a pilot once, and I told him I always wanted to work with him. Then Let Me In came along, and I really wanted him to be a part of it and asked him to come on board as the detective,” Reeves added.
With the ending of Let Me In being left wide-open (similar to the 2008 version so hopefully that’s not spoiling too much for those fans who haven’t seen the American version yet), I asked Reeves if he had any thoughts about what the future held for Owen and Abby.
“I think the ending for me of Let Me In is perfect, with the viewers being left with a question that doesn’t necessarily need to be answered,” explained Reeves. “You see the main characters now taking this open-ended journey together which is both touching and bittersweet. I honestly don’t really see the need to follow Owen and Abby after that last shot, but being as huge a fan of John’s original novel, if he were to ever return for another story about Owen and Abby, I would definitely love to come back for the opportunity to tell that story on the big screen.”
For Reeves the future is also wide-open. While he doesn’t have much to say in terms of Cloverfield 2 (“I’m not sure what will happen there. It may or it may not happen. It’s a matter of getting the band back together again, and that’s harder than it sounds.), the writer/director is now sorting through various scripts and offers, seeing what his next move will be. One project he does hope happens soon is his longtime passion project, The Invisible Woman.
“That’s a story I’ve been working on since before Cloverfield, so if I can somehow do that in conjunction with something else, that’s really what I’d like to be doing next,” said Reeves. “It’s very similar in tone to Let Me In, but with a woman who’s facing this extreme desperation. Naomi Watts was once involved, but that’s no longer the case. So it’s just waiting for everything to align again, and then hopefully we can move forward.”
Let Me In (Blu-ray / DVD review here) will be in stores February 1st.
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