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I hated the idea of remaking the brilliant Swedish vampire-teenage-coming-of-age-romance “Let the right one in”. The announcement came at the same time as the announcement to remake the “Millenium Trilogy” films, and it all seemed to be a big distrust reflex on part of corporate Hollywood: no way, this seemed to say, that American audiences can digest edgy Northern-European films. They will be confused when the supermarkets have no recognisable names and people do not have a Blue Ribbon  in the bar… Americans can only watch American movies, in terms of production values, actors and simplified narration… I remember terrible examples of this “Americanitis”, most terribly “Fever Pitch” maybe, but there are examples aplenty.

On both the “Millenium” and the “Let the right on in”, I start withdrawing my argument. In the former case because films two and three of the trilogy were really not very good, only a bit above regular tv crime show standard. There is hope that David Fincher will be able to create something more atmospheric and coherent from the material. And “Let Me In”, the US remake of “Let the right one in”, was just pretty good. It is difficult to fairly assess the artistic effort: the creativity of the material stems mostly from the book and the original film, but even for me who has seen the original twice, and hence the plot did not bring about anything interesting and new, “Let me In” was never a bit boring. It brought its own local colours (snowy New Mexico), it’s own character actors (boy, girl, girl’s  “father” all very well cast). There are some instances where specific set pieces very visibly deviate from the original, and especially the first one, the failed killing that originally took place in a gym changing room, is moved into a car, and the way it goes wrong is just stunningly filmed.

I did not regret having seen it at all, it was the strange incident of a very good film that I had seen before in an almost identical fashion, where both versions stand up on their own feet. The author of the original story said he was proud that out his one book, two great pictures were made, and he can be, as it seems the quality of the material holds it together.

The sad side of the story: this edgy little film is so European in spirit that it completely failed at the US box office. I can believe that the target group for “Let Me In” was very hard to define. Maybe the American producers are right and you cannot sell a vampire film that does not have loose-shirted teenagers in it?

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/let_me_in/

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2 Comments

  1. Let Me In was fine, I thought, though not as good as the original in some areas (music, most notably, but also the look of the film). The casts of both films were fine.

    The Millennium movies are a different case, to me. I liked the Swedish films (particularly the first one, which improves on the book in several significant ways), but they are not great films. They are not even close to Let the Right One In. My lack of enthusiasm for the remakes comes from two things.

    1) For me, Noomi Rapace is Lisbeth Salander. I can’t imagine another actress equaling that performance.

    2) The poster, which is a lot more hubba-hubba than I expected. I said on Faceook that it looks like James Bond doing an ad for American Apparel.
    http://www.imdb.com/media/rm2951921152/tt1568346

  2. I have this on DVD ready to watch but have been put off for similar reasons to you – I loved the original film, what was the need to remake it. But I guess the same could be said for other Hollywood versions of foreign films, some of which have been successful – I did like The Ring remake, for example.


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