Okay, so I was happy to get my mitts on the new issue of Empire (subscriber, ‘cos I’m mad about movies) and found that they’re running a small piece with a very large picture about “Let Me In”.
Fair enough, I suppose. It’s a new movie…. Except it’s not, it’s so not: it’s an American remake of the brilliant Swedish horror movie “Let The Right One In” which was only released last year, to great acclaim. In “Let Me In”, the action is switched to America and the characters changed to fit that audience. In this version The Road’s Kodi Smit-McPhee plays Owen, a 12 year old boy, and Chloe Moretz, who was last seen playing Hit Girl in Kick-Ass, is Abby, his 12-year-old neighbour.
Abby is a vampire, although it’s not 100% clear at the beginning that she is. In the original Swedish version Lena Leandersson is understatedly wonderful as the tortured vampire, struggling to cope with her lust for blood and the fact that she can’t openly communicate with the outside world. The plot isn’t about being a vampire at all though: it’s about an unlikely friendship between a recluse and a lonely boy, simple as. The fact that she just happens to be a vampire is simply an unfortunate coincidence to her friend, who couldn’t care less if she sends out her dad to kill people and drain their blood for her.
So this isn’t “Twilight” kiddlywinks, it’s serious psychological stuff that’s a bit brutal at times but keeps the murder to a minimum. What worrying about the remake is, well…. just that, it’s a bleedin’ Hollywood remake. When was the last time that Hollywood made a good remake of a foreign horror film? They’ve given us re-hashes of “The Ring” and “Dark Water”, reinvented “A Tale Of Two Sisters” as “The Uninvited” and made sequels as well. And they are all rubbish, nowhere near as terrifying or inventive as the originals. “Let Me In” is being written and directed by Matt Reeves who in the past has given us “Cloverfield”.
Which just brings up worrying point number two: “Cloverfield” is an action movie with handheld cameras, fast movement and little in the way of plot (although in its defence it is different). But “Let The Right One In” is slow-paced and built on a foundation stone of excellent character: from the outset the tone is set and I don’t know if Reeves can do that. Richard Jenkins, who plays Abby’s father, says: “Remakes have been going on forever…. And if you’ve got a different take on it, why not?” Urk. “A different take?” sounds ominous. Apparently in one of the scenes a person who was bitten by Abby is chewing away at their own flesh before bursting into flames. Flames yes, but no-one in the original ever feeds on their own flesh.
I think this just sets a worrying tone for the remake. It sounds as if Reeves is trying to take the amazingingly atmospheric original and add more gore to it. This is something that the film just doesn’t need: “Let The Right One In” is perfect enough as it is, and doesn’t need tampering with. This sounds like a cheesy, pointless remake that is designed to cash in on the success of a foreign film by enticing people who like Twilight and have never even heard of the Swedish version to go and see it because they like vampire stories. Urgh. It’s more than a bit depressing.