Predator (1987) vs Predator 2 (1990) vs Predators (2010)

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Posted by Maria Mills | Posted on 3:11 PM | Posted in


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Movie Review written by: Born Movie Reviews
PREDATOR RT Critics Rating: 7.6/10
PREDATOR 2 RT Critics Rating: 2.3/10
PREDATORS RT Critics Rating: 6.4/10

PREDATOR Born Movie Reviews' Rating: 9/10
PREDATOR 2 Born Movie Reviews' Rating: 1/10
PREDATORS Born Movie Reviews' Rating: 8/10

PREDATOR (1987) - John McTiernan
vs
PREDATOR 2 (1990) - Stephen Hopkins
vs
PREDATORS (2010) - Nimród Antal

It was 1985 and the renowned Sylvester Stallone returned with his fourth film in the famous franchise, Rocky IV. For a few months, following the release of the film, a joke was made in Hollywood. The joke was: "Since Rocky Balboa had run out of earthly opponents, he would have to fight an alien if a fifth installment of his boxing series were to be made." Screenwriters Jim and John Thomas took this joke seriously and wrote a screenplay titled Hunter about it. The new "Rocky" soon came to be Arnold Schwarzenegger and the film title later became a pop culture icon: Predator.

Predator follows an elite special forces team, led by Dutch (Arnold Schwarzenegger), on a mission to rescue hostages from guerrilla territory in Central America. Unbeknownst to the group, they are being hunted by a technologically advanced form of extraterrestrial life known as the Predator.

The film is extremely deceiving, for it shifts from a Commando-like action to a science fiction thriller. It begins with the usual cliche gathering of our platoon-like characters. Underneath the formulaic introduction, Predator careens itself to the foreground with extraordinary uniqueness, pitting the familiar characters into new conflicts we have never seen before. Ever seen a platoon fighting enemy soldiers? Yes. All the time. Ever seen a platoon fighting an alien warrior? Umm….

The Predator itself is amazingly designed, making it one of the most culturally literate monsters in cinema today. Unlike the xenomorph in Ridley Scott's Alien, the Predator bears a physically human shape, assisted with advanced gadgetry. And unlike the xenomorph, the Predator bears a personality. Instead of exterminating every other species in its path, the Predator hunts with honor, killing the armed and the dangerous. In a sense, it is a respectable but formidable opponent, a "gentleman" of a monster that I have respect for.

As for the film itself, Predator is briskly paced, with satisfying and quotable dialogue from each member of the platoon. Like AlienPredator builds its stakes with atmosphere and setting. In space, Alien strived with the claustrophobic environment of the Nostromo, a location where one cannot hide. This is a must-have in the horror/thriller genre, a sense of claustrophobia. But then again, the location itself might not be claustrophobic, like the halls of the Nostromo. It can be out in the open, a second path that Predator took here. With an "infinite" stretch of forest, the setting of the film also gives a sense of our characters stuck and nowhere to hide. This atmosphere, along with convincing performances, builds the suspense greatly until its finale, finally revealing the true nature and appearance of the Predator.

In conclusion, Predator is one of the most unique science fiction films ever, beginning with something familiar and ending with something unfamiliar. Even with a "tough guy" like Schwarzenegger, the group of "expendable" men have evidently met their match. At least the opponent can die, because "if it bleeds, we can kill it."

Inexorably, a sequel would be released due to the financial success of Predator. Three years later, Predator 2 was released. Now, like every other sequel that follows the original idea of its predecessor, how can the storyline of the newcomer stand out? Like I have always said, it needs its own aesthetic approach. In other words, Predator 2 better not take place in the jungle again. Fortunately, it does not take place in the jungle of Central America, but in the "jungle" of Los Angeles.

Predator 2 follows Lieutenant Michael Harrigan (Danny Glover) fighting for the city that is currently suffering from both a heat wave and a turf war between heavily armed Colombian and Jamaican drug cartels. In the middle of the shoot-out, Harrigan finds the Columbians mysteriously slaughtered. It is here where Harrigan is convinced that there is a greater force at work. Like every other cop movie, Glover is warned away by federal agents and thus takes the "case" to his own, a lone warrior heading for the climactic showdown with the Predator.

As I mentioned before, there is an appreciated beauty in the design of the Predator. However, for Predator 2, I shall quote five simple words from Roger Ebert to express my thoughts: "No such luck this time." What this film lacked compared to its predecessor was creativity. There is no intriguing factor to it whatsoever and everything related to the alien has been seen already, suffering from the formulaic flaw of the "been there, done that" element, a flaw that almost all sequels have. As a minor spoiler alert, the Predator in the first movie shocked us to our core when it spoke for the first time, mimicking the words of Schwarzenegger. Here, it was as if the filmmakers took this mind-boggler and turned it into a joke. The Predator now speaks vile street gang jargon, almost suggesting that the Predator this time bears resemblance to African Americans and cracked Jamaicans. Furthermore, Predator 2 took one of the most famous one-liners in its predecessor and "butchered it," a complete misfire of an attempt to reuse the line.

Although Danny Glover tried his best as the lead of this film, not even he can save this dreadful nightmare. In addition, we have already seen Glover as a cop before, a better one in the Lethal Weapon movies with Mel Gibson. In terms of characterization, there is nothing interesting to see and nothing to wonder about. It never had a crux that drove its engine, something that made the original so captivating.

In conclusion, Predator 2 is a disgrace to the original film, a disgrace as a sequel, and even a disgrace to filmmaking in general. I would go as far to say that this is one of the worst movies I have ever seen. The dialogue is vulgar, crude, and repetitive. The script itself has no rhythm to move along, and the special effects, though good, are not organic nor original. After finishing the film, I felt like waking up from a terrible dream. In plain words, Predator 2 is just ugly, uglier than the Predator itself. It is poorly made formula, topped with horrendous atmosphere and defines the word "appalling." It is the greatest shame that a film and creature so special like the Predator can be wrecked by a single misfire of a movie.

Twenty years have passed, during this time two crossover films were made binding the Predator with the Alien in the Alien vs Predator films, both inadequate. My only desire now was to go back to the original Predator's roots and start over. Go back to old-fashioned entertainment. I would no longer care if the story is not original. As long as it is well-made. My wish was astonishingly granted in 2010 when Predators came to theaters as a sequel/reboot of the Predator franchise.

Predators follows Royce (Adrien Brody), a mercenary, who wakes up finding himself falling from the sky into a jungle. Once on the ground, he meets other people who have arrived there in the same manner, all of whom have questionable backgrounds. As the film progresses, the group discovers that they are on an alien planet that acts as a game preserve where they are being hunted by our familiar race of Predators.

The title Predators is an allusion to the second film of the Alien franchise, Aliens. Thus, it can be predicted that there is more than one Predator in this film. Well is this one worth it? Is this the sequel that we Predator fans have always wanted? The answer is yes. It packs quite a punch.

Like the original film, Predators goes back to its original roots in the jungle. Although the character group this time is not as convincing nor realistic as before, the atmosphere is surprisingly there, building suspense when it needs to, have its narrative run when it needs to and slow down when it needs to. Unlike Predator 2Predators successfully pays respect and attention to the original piece while having its own inventiveness at the same time. The Predators this time have something to look for. They have new designs as well as new personalities, although I do prefer the original character. Nevertheless, it provides enough wonder for us to continue watching the film, grabbing our attention. The special effects are great, not impressive but delivered exactly what it should have delivered. Furthermore, the filmmakers walked an extra mile. In addition to the original Predator designs, the film features many new creatures never before seen in a Predator film. This successfully expands the universe of the Predator just like how Aliens expanded the universe of the Alien.

Adrien Brody, despite his Batman-like voice, delivered a brand-new male lead that perfectly matches the cast of Predators. Unlike Schwarzenegger, Brody plays an anti-hero, a man who is out for himself only, a nice extension of a mercenary character. With his new muscles and strong attitude, Brody gets the job done, a true transformation from a writer in King Kong and a pianist in The Pianist. It is arguable though that the character group as a whole was more like, based on Entertainment Weekly, "Cardboard cliches lining up for the body count," but at least they form a perfect engine to drive the simplistic plot forward. Unlike Predator 2, which overcomplicates things and does it badly, Predators goes back to simple old-fashioned narratives that delivers what we expect. After 23 years and three attempts, we finally have found a solid sequel to the Schwarzenegger classic.

Of course, the answer to which film is superior can be predicted already. Here, the original source material prevails. Despite the original Predator film carrying the label of "B-movie" wherever it goes, it stands as a cult classic, a fun and thrilling ride that everyone can enjoy. Most of all, it came in as a unique approach to the alien genre, a genre that Alien already revived eight years before. Predator may suffer from predictability, cheesy lines, and sometimes silliness, but it is a pumped up action picture ready to take off once the engines are turned on. It is a pure action movie that is well made, a film that rocks with great excitement and imagination. As for Predators, it is a promising and efficiently made sequel, borrowing several elements that made the original so memorable. As for Predator 2, eat lead.




Upcoming Reviews: ORIGINAL VS SEQUELS (5/20 - 5/26)

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Posted by Maria Mills | Posted on 10:25 AM | Posted in


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Predator (1987) vs Predator 2 (1990) vs Predators (2010)
The Pink Panther (2006) vs The Pink Panther 2 (2009)
Men in Black (1997) vs Men in Black II (2002)

Brothers (2009)

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Posted by Maria Mills | Posted on 12:03 AM | Posted in


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Movie Review written by: Born Movie Reviews
RT Critics Rating: 6.1/10

Born Movie Reviews' Rating: 8/10

BROTHERS (2009) - Jim Sheridan

The war genre has constantly been expressed in diverting ways from Hollywood. Generally, the genre is split into two types: Films that center on the soldiers fighting on the battlefield, and films that center on the veterans adjusting to life at home after returning from the war. For the latter one, it is much more difficult to captivate our hearts. In 1946, The Best Years of Our Lives was awarded Best Picture. It was a masterwork of storytelling, revolving around three United States servicemen trying to piece their lives back together after coming home from the Second World War. For many decades, the film was renowned as one of the greatest veteran movies of all time.

It is now 2009, and times have changed. The movie industry has shifted into visual-effect-driven films, intriguing the eye and lacking good narratives. But then came along Brothers, a film that came out as an old-fashioned rebellion from all the other action films in the 2000s decade. The film was released as an ambitious attempt of portraying the veteran returning home storyline, but this time about Afghanistan, modernizing the war background.

Based on the 2004 Danish film BrødreBrothers revolves around Sam Cahill (Tobey Maguire) and his brother Tommy (Jake Gyllenhaal). A Marine captain about to embark on his fourth tour of duty, Sam is a faithful family man married to his high school sweetheart, Grace (Natalie Portman), with whom he has two young daughters, Isabelle and Maggie. Tommy is just released from jail for armed robbery, not long before Sam departs for Afghanistan. The film follows Tommy and Grace's relationship after hearing the news that Sam's helicopter crashed, and finally revolves around the trio when Sam returns home traumatized.

On a technical basis, Brothers comes forth as an old-fashioned drama that relies on terrific performances and a well-written script with appealing cinematography. Despite the film's mediocre editing, Brothers manages to easily pace itself to keep the audience interested. It may appear as cliche, but the heart of Brothers is a fruitful exploration of family relationships, reminding us of the reason why we fell in love withThe Best Years of Our Lives. Themes like responsibility, loyalty, bitterness, jealousy, and guilt drive the film to cinema's most emotional levels. Director Sheridan approaches with great talent. Instead of indulging the film into conventional conflicts, he fleshes out the characters first, letting everything else naturally unfold through the three lead performances.

Gyllenhaal and Portman are both at their very best here. With character facial expressions speaking louder than words, Brothers is a fine reminder of just how astonishing an actor Gyllenhaal can be. Portman is uniformly perfect, convincing and sympathetic, similar to her other renowned performances such as in V For Vendetta. With the help of two sensational female children as her daughters, Portman brings the suburban mother to life. Although their character personalities contrast, Portman and Gyllenhaal develop easy engaging chemistry, both mourning over the "death" of Sam. For the majority of the movie, this pair sits as the leading coup, driving the emotions and raising the suspense to the compelling finale. But the true heart of Brothers is, to my greatest amazement, Tobey Maguire.

Throughout his career, Maguire has always been an easygoing actor, playing a simple main role in Pleasantville and Peter Parker in Spider-Man. Even as the web-slinging hero, Maguire has continuously dissatisfied me. His most serious role then was in Seabiscuit, but his performance was not the crux of the film, not the engine that runs all the gears. Here, Maguire has tapped into the dark side of himself, something that I never knew he had in him. Usually playing a neighborly fellow, Maguire here in Brothers looks more sophisticated, his face squarer, his features hardened. His gritty portrayal of a traumatic veteran reminds us of Robert de Niro in The Deer Hunter. With his head steady and eyes jolted, Maguire comes forth as a ticking time bomb once he returns home. You know he is going to "go off." It is just a question of when and how. And how he goes off makes his performance in Brothers the greatest he ever pulled off. As Brothers alternates between American home and Taliban home, from the words of Roger Ebert, "The prisoner scenes are handled with a ruthless realism, showing Sam placed in the grip of a moral and emotional paradox that makes it necessary that he commit acts he will never forgive himself for." This is, without a doubt, Maguire's deepest role and Brothers is proof that he is an extraordinary actor, stimulating and arresting from the very beginning, one of the greatest surprises from actors.

This trio, Gyllenhaal, Portman, and Maguire, is the core of the film's thematic materials. They assist the film in exploring contrasting human behaviors of guilt and happiness. When Sam returns home, he is greeted with joy. He himself no longer feels it. Always known as the better brother, Sam treats his guilt with self-destruction, contrasting his brother Tommy who fixes himself by developing a sense of self-righteousness. Truly, the film studies the chemistry of this pair of brothers. Furthermore, Natalie Portman moves in as additional enhancement of the confrontations. Like Ebert's words, "Portman is the emotional heart of the story, as mothers are for so many families."

In conclusion, Brothers has accomplished greatly. It is a successful drama that tells the familiar story of a scarred veteran returning home. In spite of the film having decent technicalities and music, Brothers is an emotionally crafted drama, maybe melodrama, that strives with a terrific script and well-written dialogue. Furthermore, the true heart of Brothers lies among the heart-striking performances from all three leads. Maguire, Portman, and Gyllenhaal have all raised their levels in this intensely raw piece. It is as grim as it is realistic, dark and enthralling, an observant war drama that triumphs through characterization and emotionally-charged atmosphere.


Hanna (2011)

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Posted by Maria Mills | Posted on 3:39 PM | Posted in


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Movie Review written by: Born Movie Reviews
RT Critics Rating: 7.1/10

Born Movie Reviews' Rating: 5/10

HANNA (2011) - Joe Wright

"You either adapt or you die."

That is the moral that 16-year old Hanna (Saoirse Ronan) lives by with her father, Erik Heller (Eric Bana). Since she was two years old, Hanna has been trained by her father, an ex-CIA operative from Germany, to become a skilled assassin. Erik, knowing a secret that must remain hidden, goes incognito into the Arctic, running away from CIA officer Marissa Wiegler (Cate Blanchett), the agent who he trained Hanna to kill. The film follows Hanna as she splits up with her father, instructed to meet him again in Berlin as she is chased by Wiegler's men.

The first unique approach that Hanna takes is the setting. It is a confident unorthodox film that departs from your typical cliche action movie. Director Wright was most known for his two films Pride & Prejudice and Atonement. Cleverly, Wright took the elements of dark fairy tales and applied it here, enhancing the experience of a female going into the world for the first time. With The Chemical Brothers underscoring the music, Hanna takes a Kubrick like stand on childhood innocence confront the modern "synthetic" world. This idiosyncrasy drives Hanna more efficiently than most other action thrillers.

The second unique approach is the cinematography. Unlike the Jason Bourne films that rely on close shots and quick pans, Hanna takes the cinematography to a filmmaking level, giving depth to every frame, blurring the background when needed, gliding around the settings when needed. This creates a new dimension of style for action films.

However, despite that Hanna takes an aesthetic approach to the visual elements of an action film, not even those elements can save this film from its flaws. The first blemish is, surprisingly, the acting. Although several critics claim that the acting is superb, I argue that only Bana and Blanchett delivered, as they should have since they are both terrific actors. My contrasting point centers on Ronan. Her voice deliveries are generally monotonous and her facial expressions are mainly based upon attractiveness. For a good young actress like Dakota Fanning, she is able to fully transform herself from Fanning to whichever character she plays. An even better example, take the 2010 remake of True Grit. Hailee Steinfeld's portrayal of the headstrong Mattie Ross earned her an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. She is only 15. Saoirse Ronan, 18, is not Hanna in the movie. She is Ronan playing Hanna in the movie, meaning there exists a sense where Ronan still behaves like an actress in the film. Naturally, everything conveyed by her grows contrived and flat. She is bland, as toneless as she is unexciting.

The second and sadly the worst flaw is the narrative. Hanna runs at an hour and 51 minutes, almost two hours long. I promise you now that you will not understand what is going on until the last 30 minutes. This is due to the last 30 minutes revealing a "plot twist." However, Hanna performed inadequately. For a decent plot-twist-driven action like Unknown, the entire film's narrative is about Liam Neeson trying to figure out who he is and who stole his original identity. This builds up into the climax when the twist is finally revealed. Here in Hanna, the film legitimately bears no crux, no goal whatsoever. Even when Hanna is asked to meet her father in Berlin, the film trails off and emphasizes on other characterization elements that make this "meeting" irrelevant. In simplicity, the narrative sits like a defective plane. It doesn't know when to speed up or slow down, and worse, take off.

In conclusion, Hanna stands as a rather disappointing action thriller. Even with Bana and Blanchett assisting the cast, Ronan's performance treads on water throughout. And even with the film visually enhanced with great locations, sets, and beautiful cinematography, Hanna drags with its narrative. In summary, Hanna is equipped with every technicality that a good film needs, but ultimately it fritters away all of them, neglected by an absence of confident storytelling, walking unsteadily from beginning to end.


Beetlejuice (1988)

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Posted by Maria Mills | Posted on 6:42 PM | Posted in


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Movie Review written by: Born Movie Reviews
RT Critics Rating: 8.1/10

Born Movie Reviews' Rating: 7/10

BEETLEJUICE (1988) - Tim Burton

People die. It's a fact of life. But movies constantly tell stories of the next life, usually in the horrific manner. But then came along a little horror comedy by Tim Burton called Beetlejuice. During its release, it was known as the most original idea on the supernatural genre.

Beetlejuice revolves around a recently deceased young couple (Geena Davis and Alec Baldwin) who become ghosts haunting their former home. In an attempt to scare away their house's new inhabitants, the couple call upon Betelgeuse (Michael Keaton), a devious "bio-exorcist" from the underworld. Assisting the cast is the New York family that moves into the couple's house. Jeffrey Jones is Charles Deetz, a successful contractor. Catherine O'Hara is Delia Deetz, wife of Charles, an aspiring but pretentious sculptor. Finally, playing the daughter Lydia is young Winona Ryder.

Like any other film by Tim Burton, Beetlejuice strives with art direction. The imagination and creativity of the creatures in the afterlife are exquisitely crafted. From zombie women with their legs chopped off to alive men with shrunken heads, the scope of characters goes on and on. Of course, the film was released at a time when computer generated imagery was not popular yet and thus relied on animatronics and actual mechanical props. The conceptual design of the afterlife is ingenious. With a Handbook for the Recently Deceased to guide the dead couple, the film deconstructs the supernatural genre and explores the ridicule and silliness of the subject. Having a consistent tone and atmosphere, Beetlejuice contains a weird bizarre energy to it, unorthodox from everything we find familiar. This weirdness is what drives the comedy in Beetlejuice, purely brainless but never stops having fun being brainless. At the same time, I am excessively curious as to who in the afterlife came up with the jokes. At the end, Beetlejuice is freakish fun. With the help of Michael Keaton portraying a memorable role, Beetlejuice is proof that the fading supernatural genre is far from dead.

Both Davis and Baldwin are engaging as ever here. Although Davis' acting is stale and vague at times, her screen presence is attractive enough for the audience to follow. Nevertheless, her performance here is much inferior compared to her performance in The Fly. Baldwin here is young and skinny as ever, bearing extreme charisma and innocence at the same time. Though the duo is flawed and not the most appealing, the film kicks in fast enough for these problems to slide. The most bewitching characters in this briskly paced comedy are the New Yorkers. Catherine O'Hara is always hilarious, natural in her amusing acts. Despite her roles in several films being immensely similar, O'Hara works as a consistent treat to the audience, providing a great source of entertainment. As for Jones, surprisingly, he is the male version of O'Hara. Enough said. Young Winona Ryder was 17 years old when she portrayed Lydia in Beetlejuice. Unlike other teenage girls, Ryder depicts Lydia as a goth girl. With her costumes assisting her performance from beginning to end, it is no wonder why Beetlejuice was the film that "put her on the map."

But the greatest character is the name of the film: Betelgeuse (the title being a phonetic spelling). Keaton gives out a flat-out funny performance for ages to come. Disgusting, perverted, crazy, and summoned by calling his name three times, Betelgeuse comes forth as if Jim Carrey has been zombified yet resembles the appearance of Jack Nicholson's Joker. Totally wild, Keaton lets everything out in his greatest performance out of his entire career. It is no surprise as to why Burton came back to Keaton for his future films. However, if I have only viewed Beetlejuice, I would have called Burton "crazy" for casting crazy Keaton as Batman hisBatman movies. 

Unfortunately, Betelgeuse is not just the film's strength but also the film's weakness. As Beetlejuice escalates and kicks in Keaton's character, the film modifies its priorities. Like what Roger Ebert said: "[The film is] about gimmicks, not characters." Although I argue that the film still holds characterization, it is undeniable that the film halfway in begins restricting the actors from their full potentials. Some may claim that it is unclear as to whether or not Betelgeuse is an anti-hero or an actual villain, but the film purposely leaves this ambiguous, left for the audience to decide. However, it still suffers from an anti-climactic ending. What expected to be an extremely difficult task ended in a rather quick swift at the end with no narrative buildup. Then again, Tim Burton's Beetlejuice never aimed to be a milestone in the art of filmmaking. It wanted to be a fun, quirky ride, and one would have to set the mind to the right type of customer to fully enjoy this roller-coaster of a film.

In conclusion, Beetlejuice is outlandishly funny, wacky and extraordinary. Though it droops around in filmmaking standards, the film bursts in on a horse saddle and never stops galloping until the end. In my experience in viewing Tim Burton's films, I have made little secret of my distaste for his flaws in his films, focusing more on art direction and less on script and characters. It is always a question whether or not the art direction and context overpowers its imperfections. Beetlejuice stands as one of Tim Burton's films that I legitimately liked and enjoyed. Throughout Burton's career, Beetlejuice remains as probably the most surreal film of them all. At the end of the day, I oddly find the interest to call out Betelgeuse's name three times. Betelgeuse. Betelgeuse. BETELGEUSE!


Child's Play (1988)

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Posted by Maria Mills | Posted on 10:08 AM | Posted in


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Movie Review written by: Born Movie Reviews
RT Critics Rating: 6.8/10

Born Movie Reviews' Rating: 7/10

CHILD'S PLAY (1988) - Tom Holland

Introducing the next generation of children toys: The "Good Guy" dolls. Bearing the breakthrough technology of voice recognition, these dolls make the greatest source of companionship to any fun-seeking child down the street. Poor Andy Barclay does not have enough money to afford one for his birthday. In response, his widowed mother Karen buys a stolen doll from a street peddler. Unfortunately, terror has now moved into the Barclay family, and Andy has found a doll who is in no mood to play.

Child's Play was extremely controversial at its time. During its initial release, crowds of protesters called for a ban on the film, claiming that it incites violence in children. Furthermore, the film to this day remains notorious for leaving frightening impressions on dolls for children. I never look at a doll the same way again. Not after viewing Child's Play. For once, I can destroy Barbie dolls for a legit reason.

Child's Play tells the story of serial killer Charles Lee Ray (Brad Dourif), who is mortally wounded and chased by Detective Mike Norris (Chris Sarandon). Knowing that he cannot escape, Charles hides in toy store and uses a voodoo ritual to transfer his soul into one of the "Good Guy" dolls. This is the doll that our unlucky protagonists bring to their humble abode. As Andy plays with the doll, the doll introduces himself as Chucky, a name that popular culture today will always refer to the doll when mentioned.

Although its context remains a campy idea, the storyline of Child's Play still bears a sense of originality today, though it might lose its value over time. Given the suspension of disbelief, the film never fails to thrill and scare the audience. Knowing that having a killer doll will bring the meaning of silliness, Child's Play takes advantage of the situation by truly expressing the cliche formula of "the killer never dies." However, this blueprint flunks in countless slasher flicks, notably the Halloween and Friday the 13th franchise. They don't die yet they're still human. If the horror genre defines logic in this world, then I would be merry to let everyone know that I am perfectly stable to withstand over ten gunshots and possibly more than one amputation. Of course, this is illogical and worse, this logic has plagued nearly all slasher films today. Child's Play takes a clever approach to this technique. It efficiently uses the idea that a doll can still operate even with parts missing. The logic is thus methodically avoided. Yet again, one can say that the film is simply taking a loophole around this common flaw. However, believe it or not, this simple avoidance drives the film's atmosphere far more effectively than others.

Going back to the Halloween and Friday the 13th franchises, Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees terrify only by standing and killing. It is not their behavior that does the scaring, but rather their appearances. What are Myers and Voorhees most known for? Their masks. In simple words, they lack a soul and personality. This is another strength that Child's Play uses to its fullest. Brad Dourif, though handicapped as only a voice for Chucky, provides the best voice acting for a villain in a long time. Come to think of it, Dourif's performance is probably one of the best for a slasher killer, even better than Robert Englund portraying Freddy Krueger. Unlike Englund who is able to use his acting talents and on-screen presence, Dourif is limited from the very beginning. As mentioned before, he is restricted to only use his voice yet it is able to bring to life a complete character. Fleshing out Chucky from beginning to end, Dourif has created one of the most monumental horror villains in the world. If compared to other voice acting, Chucky will count in this rather disturbing analogy: Dourif rendering Chucky is the complete foil of Tom Hanks rendering Woody. Discomforting, no? But it's true.

In conclusion, Child's Play bears a nostalgia factor to its value. The film might not stand as a good piece of work in filmmaking, but it never presented itself as one in the first place. It is energetic and briskly paced. Underneath its silly and possibly "dumb" concept, the film has successfully left an impact on the horror genre and ever since has gained a cult following. Chucky is truly an intimidating villain, a feat that can only be pulled off by the one and only Brad Dourif. Assisted with a full convincing cast and an evocative soundtrack, Child's Play will leave an imprint in your mind indefinitely. However, one Child's Play movie is enough for me. For all the sequels that followed, it is not even to be thought about. I played with Chucky once, and I intend to not do it again.


Upcoming Reviews (5/13 - 5/19)

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Posted by Maria Mills | Posted on 11:09 PM | Posted in


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Child's Play (1988)
Beetlejuice (1988)
Hanna (2011)
Brothers (2009)

The Princess Bride (1987)

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Posted by Maria Mills | Posted on 6:52 PM | Posted in


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Movie Review written by: Born Movie Reviews
RT Critics Rating: 9.6/10

Born Movie Reviews' Rating: 10/10 (Full Score)

THE PRINCESS BRIDE (1987) - Rob Reiner

The fantasy genre is most known for its emphasis on creativity and imagination. Sadly, as time progressed, it has slowly drained itself of originality. So why not combine everything we love in movies in general and put it all in a fantasy? What if we incorporate comedy with adventure, romance with fairy tales? What if a movie came along loaded with "fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, [and] miracles?" The result is Rob Reiner's 1987 masterpiece The Princess Bride.

Based on the 1973 novel of the same name by William Goldman, The Princess Bride follows young woman Buttercup (Robin Wright), who falls in love with her farmhand Westley (Cary Elwes). Westley leaves to seek his fortune so they can marry, but his ship is attacked by the Dread Pirate Roberts, who has a reputation for never leaving anyone alive. Years later, believing Westley is dead, Buttercup reluctantly agrees to marry Prince Humperdinck (Chris Sarandon). However, before the marriage, Buttercup finds herself kidnapped by three outlaws: Fezzik, a giant from Greenland, Inigo Montoya (Mandy Patinkin), a Spanish fencing master, and their Sicilian boss Vizzini (Wallace Shawn). To our greatest surprise, the outlaws are later pursued by a masked man in black, halfway in revealed to be Westley, still alive.

The film contains several characters, and it introduces all of them quickly. However, the charm and originality of each character is the first of two elements that drives Princess Bride forward so fluently. What's better than a giant with immeasurable strength but non-stop silliness in his head? What's better than a fencing master with a sense of humor, not to mention a great chemistry with the giant himself? And finally, what's better than watching a Sicilian who calls himself intelligent but is really a fool? Every single performance, excluding Elwes, is magnificent and spellbinding. From their personalities to their bodily ticks, each character possesses a memorable and nostalgic value to themselves. Prince Humperdinck delivers contrived intimidation.  Leave it to Sarandon's laughable face to do all the work, revealing his stupidity and inexperience in being a prince. Truly, he is the antithesis of one, the real prince being Westley throughout this narrative. Inigo's honor and respect to even his opponents mark him as a worthy character with a great spirit. As for Fezzik the Giant, hell, even his own voice composes half of the humor. And do not forget the quotable lines that Vizzini constantly pulls, notably his exaggerated comment "Inconceivable!" Though I agree with Inigo's curiosity as to whether or not Vizzini actually knows the meaning of the word, I cannot help but shout the catchy term myself in my daily life as a sign of cultural influence.

Influential and unforgettable are the simplest adjectives I can use to describe the second element that drivesThe Princess Bride forward: the screenplay. In questioning the film's loyalty to its source material, I was astounded already within the first five minutes. The story is presented in the film as a book being read by a grandfather to his sick grandson. Although certain audience members can find this old-fashioned and possibly even corny, this method of narrative effectively preserves the original novel's narrative style. Furthermore, this chosen form of narrative creates deeper engagement as well as interest. The pacing of the film is stable, knowing when to slow down and when to speed up. Like a musician, it bears its own unique form of rhythm, confident in its delivery from the very beginning. Incorporate that with some of the most renowned lines of dialogue in movie history and we are given one of my favorite movie screenplays ever. Without a doubt, The Princess Bride stands as one of the most quotable movies of all time, from simple catch phrases to the most uproariously funny monologues. Its tone is amusing yet it shifts back and forth to satisfy a much larger audience than its predicted target audience. As mentioned before, the film has almost everything an audience wants, from fencing to fighting, romance to revenge. Similar to George Lucas' Star Wars, it has a little bit of everything to please the world. As a response, it has earned itself the position of a cult classic, and rightfully deserves it.

In conclusion, The Princess Bride is one of the greatest movies of all time, thanks to its beloved characters and masterful screenplay and dialogue. It is a delight to watch, ranging from swashbuckling action to laugh-out-loud comedy. Loaded with great wit and cleverness, The Princess Bride stands as the most entertaining deconstruction of the fairy tale genre, a film of remarkable craftsmanship. There is a variety of "perfect" fantasy stories in this world, particularly The Wizard of Oz or even Alice in Wonderland, but to say that one has never heard, seen, or enjoyed The Princess Bride, that would be downright inconceivable.


Tropic Thunder (2008)

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Posted by Maria Mills | Posted on 1:33 PM | Posted in


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Movie Review written by: Born Movie Reviews
RT Critics Rating: 8.3/10

Born Movie Reviews' Rating: 7/10

TROPIC THUNDER (2008) - Ben Stiller

Full Metal JacketApocalypse NowPlatoonThe Deer Hunter. All of these films centered on the psychological horror of the Vietnam War. Guns fire. Trees burn. Lives lost. Picture that in your head. Picture men who commit suicide over witnessing their friends die. Men with their arms and legs amputated and men who died decapitated. Now picture that except with the men making modern-day weed jokes with vulgarity and radically foul content. The product is Ben Stiller's 2008 Vietnam parody Tropic Thunder, expressively presenting its tagline: "Get some."

Tropic Thunder revolves around a group of declining actors (Ben Stiller, Jack Black, Robert Downey, Jr.) who are making their fictional Vietnam War film. When their frustrated director decides to drop them into the middle of the jungle, the group is forced to rely on their "acting skills" to survive the real danger.

Ben Stiller is Tugg Speedman, a fading action hero from the fictional Scorcher series, also known for playing the role of Simple Jack in the fictional film Simple Jack, the "worst film ever made." Robert Downey, Jr. plays five-time Academy-Award-winning Australian actor Kirk Lazarus who undergoes a skin change to play an African American for the film Tropic Thunder. Jack Black plays drug-addicted comedian Jeff Portnoy, a parody actor on the Nutty Professor franchise. Assisting the "platoon cast" is rapper Alpa Chino (Brandon T. Jackson) and newcomer supporting actor Kevin Sandusky (Jay Baruchel). Pushing them and their crew forward to finish the film is foul-mouthed studio executive Les Grossman, hilariously portrayed by an overweighted Tom Cruise.

The characters in this film stand as a strength and weakness. Though the group alone parodies the cliche platoon in every war movie with vulgarity, it comes in as too vulgar. It is inevitable that Tropic Thunder will receive offended audience members. In fact, the film was attacked by Vietnam war veterans, calling the content profane due to no experience nor respect to the literal subject. Although I agree that the film is undoubtedly distasteful about Vietnam, it comes in conceptually as a silly movie where the filmmakers are just "having a bit of fun." Tropic Thunder never wanted to be serious.

In addition to satirizing the Vietnam genre, Tropic Thunder hilariously flips the bird to the movie industry. With an extensive marketing promotion, the film was most known for its opening scene, a series of faux trailers. Tropic Thunder advertised with fake websites for the three main characters and their fictional films. Furthermore, it aired a fictional TV special and sold energy drinks shown as fictional in the real movie. Throughout, Tropic Thunder explores the cliches of every war film, exaggerating them to fit the humor style of Stiller, Black, and surprisingly Downey, Jr. This is where Tropic Thunder trails away from other lame comedies. Underneath the ridicule of the characters and their vulgar jokes, the film consistently bears a sense of wit and originality. To an average audience, the film stays humorously appealing, but to a filmmaker, Tropic Thunder is a clever self-aware film that deserves more respect than it appears to.

In conclusion, Tropic Thunder is comically entertaining. The humor is radically crude, but Ben Stiller, Robert Downey, Jr., and Jack Black all pull off hilarious performances in this mindless yet culturally literate comedy. It delivers with enough wit and creativity to the formulaic war film genre. Though its content is excessively profane, it stands from beginning to end as a silly parody on the Vietnam war movies as well as the movie industry. It stands as one of the most daring and controversial films of 2008. And finally, it stands as a surprisingly well-structured narrative with a great cast, a movie that truly deserves to "get some."


Marvel's The Avengers (2012)

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Posted by Maria Mills | Posted on 10:42 AM | Posted in


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Movie Review written by: Born Movie Reviews
RT Critics Rating: 9.3/10

Born Movie Reviews' Rating: 10/10 (Full Score)

MARVEL'S THE AVENGERS (2012) - Joss Whedon

It was 2008 when Iron Man first hit theaters, restoring public opinion on the once renowned actor Robert Downey, Jr. At the post-credits scene, as Tony Stark enters his humble abode, he meets Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), head of the top secret agency S.H.I.E.L.D., who reveals that he (Stark) is not the only superhero in the world as well as a new operation called the "Avengers Initiative." From that point on, every Marvel film has been promoting The Avengers. Tony Stark visits the Colonel at the end of The Incredible Hulk. Agent Coulson from S.H.I.E.L.D. reveals that they have found the hammer of Thor in the end of Iron Man 2. Doctor Eric Selvig becomes possessed by Thor's evil brother Loki in the end of Thor. And finally, Captain Rogers finds himself awake several years later after WWI, meeting Nick Fury at the end of Captain America.

During my childhood, I have never read a single page of Marvel Comics. However, I have been a loyal follower to every movie adaptation of them, whether the movies themselves are good or bad. The Avengers was, without a doubt, the superhero movie that received the most hype in the history of Marvel Studios. The result can be one of two things: Either it is the greatest action movie in the world or the greatest disappointment in the world. In other words, it could possibly be another Last Airbender. Though Marvel was the source material that introduced this concept, the idea of combining every superhero together into one team is inevitably a tough task to have a good script for. I feared that the film will fall into the same problem that Spider-Man 3 fell into, jumping around each character too much, attempting to develop them all, but failing to develop anything out at the end. My greatest surprise came when The Avengers blew me away with its script.

The script is what made The Avengers work. It evenly fleshes out every superhero without emphasizing more on a specific one. We are given the advantages as well as disadvantages within each hero. In an independent hero film like Thor, we as audience members are given the impression that Thor is the most powerful superhero of them all, psychologically because Thor is the protagonist of the film as well as the only hero present. However, here in Avengers, Thor's significance and strength is up to par with Iron Man, Hulk, and the others. In a way, Thor is unable to fight alone. Truly, The Avengers stresses on the characterization of each hero, making them need each other in the end, forming a true team. Never losing their humanity, the script in this film is nothing short of the word "genius." Despite us seeing Iron Man fight, the film still maintains Tony Stark's stubbornness throughout, evident from his dialogue. Despite us seeing the Hulk smash everything in sight, the film focuses on Bruce Banner during the first half of the entire film, fighting himself to calm down, to not awaken "the other guy." As I mentioned before with the dialogue, each character's personality stays true to the film. There is no avoidance of logic here. It is all consistent. Each hero has their own personality and The Avengers successfully expresses what will possibly happen if one puts these heroes together in one room.

The second greatest strength here is the directing. Joss Whedon is probably one of the most talented writers in Hollywood today. The Avengers is his second directed film, his first being the 2005 film Serenity. Whedon is a very observant director. Like Matt Reeves, he knows what made each independent superhero film work. He took them all and applied it here. However, he also knew which elements to leave out. He knew what worked and what didn't and took only their strengths. Finally, Whedon's attention to detail enhances the visionary experience of The Avengers. Whether it is a quick line that someone says or the ticks that a certain character has, they all pave the way to make the chemistry among the heroes as realistic and engaging as possible.

As for the superheroes themselves, their humanities are stronger than their actual powers. Ever since Iron Man, I became a fan of Tony Stark and never his suit. The suit is not a character but an accessory. With his fast-paced talking and his complicated choice of words, Stark remains as one of the more intriguing characters of the bunch. In addition, Stark hilariously summarizes himself in four words: "Genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist." Chris Hemsworth was always natural in his performance as Thor, the god of thunder. He is the one who takes the battle the most personally, since Loki is his brother… adopted brother. During the fights, the film stresses on the inner conflict Thor has, the decisions he must make regarding Loki. In contrast to him, Loki still has his consistent hatred and jealousy for Thor. Even though I strongly dismissed the independent superhero film Captain AmericaThe Avengers got me to like Captain America himself as a character. Although he is the least expressive of the team, his patriotism is uniform, fleshed out from the fact that he is a soldier the whole time, the only one trained in combat. Scarlett Johansson as Agent Romanoff was at her peak in this film. Although she already appeared in Iron Man 2, her full character arc was never developed. Here, her relationship with Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and her friendliness to Bruce Banner both help her nature come in full force. Even Samuel L. Jackson brought his inner Oscar-worthy performance out as Nick Fury. But the greatest performance in the entire cast, surprisingly, goes to Mark Ruffalo, the man behind the Hulk. If one has followed the Hulk movies, he/she will know that Bruce Banner was portrayed by a different actor in each film. Incredulously, Ruffalo pulled off the greatest Banner of them all. Again, with the help of Whedon writing the script, the dialogue conveys Banner's personality throughout the film. Enhanced by Ruffalo's performance, Banner's character can be completely comprehended. In the past, we always wished to see Banner transform into the green giant. However, here, the stuttering in Ruffalo's words and the looks of anxiety on his face lay the foundations for our sympathy to his character. During the first half of the film, we were always hesitant to unleash the beast and actually desired Banner to remain calm. Ruffalo is the most stirring actor of them all, vividly delivering the inner battle he has inside, attempting to calm down when clearly he is not calm. But when he finally transforms, that's another story.

Undoubtedly, the visual effects in The Avengers are compelling, making it a clear contender for the upcoming Visual Effects Oscar. However, the fight scenes alone are more powerful than the visuals. Here's why. In a mediocre climactic fight like the one in Transformers, we are given random robots fighting around in the city, breaking buildings, not to mention themselves. But in the end, we don't really know where they are or what they are shooting at. Here in The Avengers, Iron Man fights in the sky, Captain America fights on the ground, Hulk leaps around buildings, Hawkeye shoots while standing on the roof, and Thor uses his almighty hammer. There is a comprehensible geometry throughout the entire fight. It is not dizzy nor messy. From beginning to end, we completely know who's where and what is going on. In simplicity, the fight scene is entirely "mapped out." Combine that with Whedon's directing, and we are given virtual cameras that travel around the setting, delivering the greatest visual experience for a climactic fight. Whedon knows exactly what he needs to do to provide the perfect movie and is fully confident in doing so. As a whole, the filmmaking team has successfully assembled the superhero team, bringing them to life. Here, they have sincerely accomplished.

In conclusion, The Avengers is the greatest achievement Marvel Studios has ever made. The script never let down its heroes and the film itself provides a spectacular experience, from visual effects to even set pieces. The fight scenes are captivating, and the overall tone of the film is humorous, appealing, and extremely entertaining. As for the die-hard fans, the critics are right. The Avengers is indeed "a dream come true for the fans." It deserves every bit of the hype it has received ever since the implication of its release four years ago. It stands tall like Captain America, takes flight like Iron Man, casts Thor's thunder, and packs the Hulk's punch.


Upcoming Reviews (5/6 - 5/12)

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Posted by Maria Mills | Posted on 9:10 PM | Posted in


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Marvel's The Avengers (2012)
Tropic Thunder (2008)
The Princess Bride (1987)

Låt den rätte komma in (2008) vs Let Me In (2010)

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Posted by Maria Mills | Posted on 2:21 PM | Posted in


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Movie Review written by: Born Movie Reviews
2008 RT Critics Rating: 9.8/10
2010 RT Critics Rating: 8.9/10

2008 Born Movie Reviews' Rating: 10/10 (Full Score)
2010 Born Movie Reviews' Rating: 10/10 (Full Score)

LÅT DEN RÄTTE KOMMA IN (2008) - Tomas Alfredson
vs
LET ME IN (2010) - Matt Reeves

Underneath the skin of the vampire genre, I have always longed for a film that will come along and take vampirism seriously and beautifully. For so many years, cinema has exhibited vampires as evil beings that we should oppose and kill. I have always desired for a film that questions this conventional idea. Then I realized that in 2008, the artistic filmmaking country of Sweden presented the most unorthodox and the most breathtaking vampire movie I have ever seen.

Based on the 2004 novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist, Låt den rätte komma in (Let the Right One In) is a Swedish romantic horror film that tells the story of a bullied 12-year-old boy named Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant) who develops a friendship with a vampire child named Eli (Lina Leandersson) in the early 1980s.

First, on a technicality basis, Låt den rätte komma in strives with breathtaking cinematography. Thanks to sets designed without roofs, the film's cinematography is strongly assisted with crisp lighting manipulated above the interacting characters. Despite the film's label being a "horror film," Låt den rätte komma in stands as the most beautiful horror film if not general film I have seen in years. Though the color is not vibrant, the shots take full advantage of manual focus, providing an aesthetic experience to shots that appear to be formulaic before.

Though the plot of Låt den rätte komma in is fairly simple, the narrative is intelligently crafted. Without a confident director, the film could have trailed off in an entirely different direction. Despite the actual film being different from the original novel, director Alfredson uses a combination of chilling music and magnificent storytelling. In spite of the actual pacing being slow at times, Låt den rätte komma in flows to the audience like a mystical painting. With the snowy winter of Sweden as its setting, the film effortlessly immerses us into Oskar and Eli's world. Alfredson's greatest talent as a director lies not in the vision of how the film looks, but how the film sounds. Apart from nearly every film director today who uses intense music to build crucial scenes, Alfredson uses the power of silence to deliver. Surprisingly, the latter method is much more powerful, giving a sense of reality to the scenes, making the emotional impacts both raw and compelling.

As touched on before, the music is phenomenal, scored by Johan Söderqvist. It incorporates hope with dismay, chill with warmth, evil with love, and darkness with light. Beginning with an elegant tune from a guitar, Söderqvist builds the gracefulness of the score to its musical climax with a spectacular symphony of strings. Wonderfully written, the original score to Alfredson's film stands in my book as one of the greatest foreign movie soundtracks of all time.

Out of all the horror movies I have seen, Låt den rätte komma in does not aim for  terror. Instead of scary images and sudden jump scenes, we are given great depth of characterization and emotion-defying atmosphere. Furthermore, Låt den rätte komma in is more than a vampire film. As mentioned before, the film tackles the subject of vampires seriously. Conceptually, it earns my respect already. If one removes all the elements of vampirism, Låt den rätte komma in is a humanism story of two lonely and desperate kids washed up in despair.

Although his appearance does not quite fit the character, Hedebrant delivers a quiet and unconfident Oskar, never standing up to himself from beginning to end, but eventually learns about self-courage as he connects with Eli. Regrettably, Hedebrant could have portrayed a far more emotionally charged character. His depiction of Oskar can be labeled as "too stiff," holding back feelings when he should have expressed them out to the audience. Nevertheless, there is no doubt that his "rigid" performance somehow successfully communicates to the audience about his newly found love as well as self-identity through the vampire Eli. 

Speaking of Eli, she is the heart of this artistic piece. Leandersson, unlike other vampire characters, conveys a contrasting vampire, one who is both mysterious and lovely. Her presence is innocent yet cunning, walking along the cold empty hallways by herself like a homeless child, waiting to attack an unfortunate victim. Out of all female characters in cinema, Leandersson's Eli drains the most passion out through her performance. She is the perfect anti-hero, a character whose literal context is negative, yet at the end of the day, we care over what their fate is. In the world of "cliche cinema," vampire characters never have reasons over their actions. They drink blood for the purpose of telling us that they are evil and should be dealt with the lethal way. Here, Leandersson's vampire Eli breaks the wall that obstructs the connection between being a vampire and being a human. She is a true vampire, a human-looking creature who "[needs] blood to live." For once, we are given a vampire who we do not desire to die, a vampire for us to care about and even, fall in love with.

Loaded with fantastic cinematography, acting, music, and storytelling, Låt den rätte komma in is rare enough to be a good horror movie. It is even rarer when it leaves an imprint in your mind as a work of art. It bears a haunting magnetism that will stay in your skin temporarily and in your mind indefinitely. It is as tender as it is eerie, with an atmosphere that engulfs the entire film from start to finish. 

From the words of film critic Tom Long, "An American remake seems inevitable." Although I do agree with his comment, I never expected a remake to arrive just two years later.

After his directorial success of Cloverfield, director Matt Reeves takes the reins with the 2010 American remake of Låt den rätte komma in, now simply titled Let Me In. The film follows 12-year old Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee) as he develops a friendship with the vampire girl Abby (Chloe Moretz), the same plot as the original Swedish film. However, a few adjustments were made here and there. Surprisingly, these "modifications" are what made Let Me In work as a remake.

In creating the film, Matt Reeves took a very clever step at American-izing the original context of Låt den rätte komma in. Instead of Sweden, the setting is now moved to a New Mexico town, astonishingly covered with snow. In addition, Reeves altered the time period of the narrative to the 1980s period, during the time of Ronald Reagan. To help the movie's narrative in convincing an American audience, Reeves used Reagan's "Evil Empire Speech" to explore American humanism at the time, a debatable conflict between good and evil. 

According to Reeves, this thematic background is central to the protagonist Owen, for he is conflicted daily over his dark feelings towards the bullies who terrorize him. Through Abby, he learns about not just love, but also revenge. Enhanced by a far more gripping performance by Smit-McPhee, and Let Me In's Owen stands as more superior over the original's Oskar. Unlike the original, Let Me In analyzes the quiet boy completely. With every scale of his personality fleshed out, the 2010 remake presents the true depiction of a 12-year old boy who encounters a vampire child.

In contrast to Owen, Let Me In's vampire Abby stands as also a complex character. Sadly and predictably, Abby pales in comparison to Eli. This is due to probably one simple thing: Chloe Moretz. Regardless of how one judges her, Moretz pulled off a sensational act. She was previously seen as the hard-headed foul-mouthed Hit Girl in Kick-Ass. I am astonished enough that she approached something completely on the other side of the scope, and did a marvelous job at it too. The unlucky element that leads to her character's downfall against Eli is utterly Moretz's appearance. Simply put, she is way too attractive as well as "modern." This leads to her performance being much more arduous to convince the audience. In its 2008 counterpart, Eli almost always wore no pants. In addition, her shirts are always short sleeved. With her hair cluttered up, face pale, and clothes utterly plain, Eli exhibits signs of being homeless, an intoxicating contrast to who she actually is deep inside. Here in Let Me In, Moretz is fully well-dressed throughout, despite that she does not wear shoes to follow Eli's design. Her hair is perfect, her facial texture is nearly pure, resembling the "average healthy neighbor" of a girl. In simplicity, she does not appear to be a vampire at all, though her performance covers this issue up nicely. I give Moretz respect for trying something new and succeeding. Critics called Kick-Ass as the movie that "[put Moretz] on the map." I on the other hand, believe that Let Me In is the true film that worked the magic.

Incredulously, I was blown away by something I never expected out of an American horror movie: the cinematography. Observant of the original, the creators of Let Me In kept the power of lighting and camerawork and applied it here fluently. In addition, Let Me In was also helped by a well-written musical score by Michael Giacchino. Although the music is not as stirring nor nostalgic as the original's, Giacchino pulled off a tough process to bring the emotions of the film to life. Despite the fact that Giacchino mostly worked on the soundtracks of Disney films, he has taken a great leap for this movie. On a technical and directing basis, Matt Reeves is nearly a filmmaking genius. In Roger Ebert's words, "Reeves understands what made the first film so eerie and effective, and here the same things work again." As engulfing as the original, Let Me In stands as another spellbinding work of art.

Ultimately, both films complete the storytelling arc of these two characters. However, each film offers certain elements in a more superior way. Låt den rätte komma in has better cinematography, stronger music, and a haunting Eli. Let Me In, on the other hand, has better pacing, visuals, and a captivating Owen. Though both screen duos are fascinating to watch, each film has a better character within the pair. Nevertheless, when viewed as a whole, there is no doubt that Låt den rätte komma in stands as the most artistic film of the two. It comes in as the biggest surprise for a horror film, one that chooses to take a different road and is confident in doing so. Though Let Me In did a fabulous job in adapting the original for American audiences, Låt den rätte komma in strives as the original "source material," the one that started it all. Certainly, author John Ajvide Lindqvist should be proud of both filmmakers as well as himself, for delivering a darkly romantic tale to the world. Steven King, eat your heart out.