The movie feels right. Reeves recognized that the original book and movie were set in the 80s in Sweden, so he too found a 80s period setting with snow (and tax incentives) in high-altitude Los Alamos, New Mexico that allowed him to tap into his own Reagan-era youth for this coming-of-age story. He cast Kodi Smit-McPhee as a brutally bullied and lonely kid with no friends, and Chloe Moretz as the vampire neighbor who befriends him--without having seen The Road or Kick-Ass--based on their ability to deliver powerful emotions.
Reeves wanted to capture the visceral impact of the contrast of red blood on virgin snow. Ace character-actor Richard Jenkins brings his own reality to the complicated role of the man who goes out to obtain the blood the vampire girl in his care needs. Reeves likes the Hitchockian notion of getting viewers to root for the man to complete his mission, no matter how terrible. "I thought, 'I don't do these things,'"said Jenkins. 'When I read something I think, 'can I bring something to this?' I liked the idea of trying to make a human being out of someone who does what he does. What was in his childhood to get him to this place?"
None of the actors watched the original movie until after they completed shooting. Reeves stayed true to the structure of the film adaptation, but added various details from the more detailed novel. "I wanted to do a Romeo + Juliet story and filter things through that POV," said Reeves, who through J.J. Abrams was able to seek advice from Steven Spielberg on how to work with kids. He said, 'Let them come up with stuff, they are 12, have them keep a journal in character.'"
Let Me In is the first Hammer film in 35 years, produced by the recently reconstituted Brit horror label (home to the great Peter Cushing/Christopher Lee Dracula series). Still to come from Hammer's new chief Simon Oakes is The Woman in Black, which starts production in a few months from a Jane Goldman script, starring a post-Potter Daniel Radcliffe. Also in the works are reimagined films of Quatermass, Captain Kronos
Chronos and The Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires.