Thursday, October 7, 2010

Let Me In

Lina Leandersson in Let the Right One In/ Chloe Moretz in Let Me In

Two years ago, a small Swedish film redefined the vampire genre by stripping down everything we’d seen recently regarding the fanged beasts.  Let the Right One In was, simply put, the anti-Twilight.

A 12-year-old bullied boy meets a very old female vampire who’s stuck in a 12-year-old body.  The two form an unlikely friendship, but not without a little blood being shed.  Sound silly?  Far from it.

A few things director Matt Reeves (Cloverfield) has going for him in this revamp: his casting and subtle action shifts.  Abby, as played by Kick-Ass’s Chloe Moretz, fits perfectly into this lonely vampire’s world.  While The Road’s Kodi Smit-McPhee uses his saddened innocence to lead his character’s fear.

You have to give Reeves credit for not dumbing down his remake, as so many American films do.  Instead, he keeps the Swedish version’s slow deliberate pacing, but not without adding in a few welcome shifts.

In Reeves’ film, Abby is fast and agile in her vicious attacks, an eerie gesture that deviates from the original.  Also, there’s an extended, unbroken POV shot of a car crash that will make your head spin.

However, I can still picture the original Swedish girl’s tortured face, and the original boy, with his long, Aryan hair, appears creepier, thereby a better fit for his little vamp. 

Also, the original ending, one of the very best, most badass endings to a horror film I’ve ever seen, is untouchable.  Why?  Well, like most American horror films, they think something has to be dark to be scary.  Watch the original film to prove that notion wrong.

Maybe I’m being a little too hard on Let Me In.  But what do you expect?  When you remake a perfectly good horror film just two years after its release, you’re going to be harshly judged. 

Let the Right One In made no money in American theatres but has since reached cult status on DVD.  While Let Me In isn’t better, it does a damn fine job trying to be.  I’m just not entirely sure it is necessary.  B


  1. Two great versions of the same film, with enough differences to make seeing both a must. I wish the American film industry spent more time fussing with nearly perfect foreign films (and less on the usual Hollywood formulaic crap). This encourages me to see the American remake of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. (Loved the Swedish version.)

    1. Oh God, I couldn't agree more with you: it would be so nice for Hollywood to invest in worthy stories, instead of recycled garbage. I loved Fincher's TGWTDT, very different from the Swedish version, but very good. Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting!