Let the Right One In : Double Bill

Let the Right One In (Tomas Alfredson, 2008)
Let Me In (Matt Reeves, 2010)

What are they about? Both the Swedish original and the US remake tell the story of a lonely, bullied schoolboy who befriends a strange, pale girl who moves into his apartment block. Curiously, her apartment windows are covered up, she seems impervious to cold and she doesn't seem to be able to eat normal food. Or not curiously, actually, since it quickly becomes apparent she is a vampire. 

Are they any good? Rather than outright horror films, both are unusual, low-key, coming-of-age stories, which just happen to feature a vampire. In a welcome departure from the sexy bloodsuckers of Twilight and True Blood, however, this 12-year-old vampire is pitiful and needy, although no less dangerous for that. So is there any difference between the two films? Well, both feature very good child performances (Kåre Hedebrant & Lina Leandersson in the original; Kodi McPhee-Smit & Chloe Moretz in the remake) and a nice understated atmosphere. The Swedish setting of the original is more evocative than the American one, and stages the climax more impressively, but the remake contains a terrifically realised car-crash and dispenses with a couple of superfluous characters. Perhaps the biggest difference is that the remake only hints at, but never fully explains, a key development which adds much weight to the story, presumably because they felt it was a bit much for US audiences to take. For this reason, the original emerges the blood-soaked victor. 

I don't trust you. What do others think? The original film was highly acclaimed, particularly by horror aficionados, for giving us a fresh spin on the vampire tale. As for the remake, virtually every review featured the word 'unnecessary', but most grudgingly admitted it was a perfectly fine horror in its own right, just rather, well, unnecessary, really. Basically, if you've seen one, not much need to see the other. If you've seen neither, either will do, but the original has more bite (see what I did there?).

Anything else I should know? Some of the darker aspects of John Ajvide Lindqvist's source novel are less explicit in the movies, but are still hinted at, particularly in the relationship between the vampire and her 'father'. Also, if you consider the real age of the vampire, it raises uncomfortable suggestions of child grooming and poses the question "Did she befriend the boy or select him?"

What does the Fonz think? Let Me In is a bit like Steps cover version of ABBA's "Lay All Your Love on Me". Absolutely fine, but the original Swedish version just has that bit more class.

Buy Let The Right One In on Amazon
Buy Let Me In on Amazon

No comments:

Post a Comment