Saturday, 8 October 2016

Let me in (5 Stars)

This is my Halloween Challenge film #8. It's the English language remake of "Let the right one in", which I watched earlier this week. It's been called an unnecessary remake because of it's close similarity to the original. It's true, many of the lines of dialogue are duplicated in the remake, but there are noticeable differences, some of them significant.

First and foremost, the characters are relocated from Stockholm to Los Alamos in New Mexico. This means a change from the loneliness of the big city to the loneliness of a small town. In the American version everyone is isolated, not just the children. In the Swedish version the local townspeople at least sat together in a bar to drink. In the American version nobody talks to one another, they just live side by side as if in different worlds.

Oskar and Eli have been renamed Owen and Abby. This isn't just a matter of giving them American sounding names. In Sweden Eli is a man's name, highlighting the gender confusion. Abby is clearly female.

There is even more of a family breakdown in the American version. In the Swedish original Oskar still visits his father. In the American version they only talk on the phone. The American version adds a suggestion that religion is responsible for the separation; Owen's mother is a strict Christian, while his father calls her beliefs "religious crap".

In the American version we see hints that Abby and the old man she lives with were once lovers. This is missing from the Swedish original.

The whole gender issue is missing from the American version. Abby speaks the same lines as Eli, such as "Would you love me if I weren't a girl?" but there's no suggestion that this means she's really a boy. "Not a girl" means that she's a vampire instead of a girl.

I saw the original version soon after its release in 2008. It was the best vampire film I had ever seen up until then. It was a film that made me cry. I was naturally horrified when I heard that a remake was planned. I shouldn't have worried. With two of the world's best young actors in the lead roles nothing could go wrong. I already knew Chloe Grace Moretz from "Kick-Ass" and Kodi Smit-McPhee from "Romulus, My Father". Their on-screen chemistry is amazing. Their performance is the main reason why I consider the remake to be superior to the original.

"Let me in" was only a minor success at the box office, but critics raved about it. Almost all reviewers agreed that it was superior to the original. Stephen King called it the best American horror film of the last 20 years. Is he someone a horror fan would argue with?

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