Bigger. Louder. Scarier. Matt Reeves' Let Me In (2010) confirmed my suspicions that a remake of the brilliant Swedish film Let the Right One In (2008) was completely unnecessary.

Review: Let Me In (2010)

Director: Matt Reeve

Country: USA

Runtime: 111 mins

Cast: Chloe Moretz, Elias Koteas, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Richard Jenkins

DVD release: 14 March 2011

Bigger. Louder. Scarier. Matt Reeves’ Let Me In (2010) confirmed my suspicions that a remake of the brilliant Swedish film Let the Right One In (2008) was completely unnecessary.

Tomas Alfredson’s interpretation of John Ajvide Lindqvist’s vampire tale (2005) was unique and innovative, and I have to say that the apprehension surrounding the US version was rightly justified.

Reeves told that “There’s an assumption that immediately goes, “Oh, he’s going to take it and make it a big, stupid American film and destroy everything that’s great about this story!” And sadly, that is exactly what happened.

12-year-old Abby (Chloe Moretz) moves in next door to the tormented Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee), and the two form an unusual friendship.

Abby is a vampire, but contrary to other popular 21st century vampire films, her condition is not romanticised or depicted as desirable in any way.

The story itself is superb, and there was absolutely no need to make a direct copy of an already popular and admired film just because it was foreign.

Reeves claims that his film is based on the 2005 novel rather than the movie, but the two versions are very similar; the storyline is identical, apart from the fact that the American film is set in Los Alamos, New Mexico (1983) and the Swedish one in Blackeberg, Sweden.

According to the director, his ambition was to create an American context for the story, but one of the things that makes the original film so superior is the fact that it is so rooted in Sweden and in the town of Blackenberg where the author of the book grew up.

One of the few alteration Reeves has made is a slight difference in filming techniques; he has applied the same blue lighting, but there is something strange about the way he has chosen to depict Owen’s mother. The viewers never get to see her face. She is always blurred when she is in the frame. I’m sure there is a purpose behind this, but to me it is futile and does not make sense.

In addition, the mother is portrayed as a religious and borderline alcoholic housewife, which is not mentioned in the original story.

Finally, the dialogue between Abby and Owen immediately become a lot cheesier when uttered in a tasteless, American accent.

After the process of Americanisation, all the original charm and magic is lost, and the audience is left with an average, run-of-the-mill blockbuster.

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One comment

  1. Sadly this seems to be the case with so many brilliant foreign films that are Americanised, with all of the subtelty removed and any ounce of nuance being replaced by simple black and white dichotomies that can be easily understood. Vanilla Sky is a case in point, its almost a word for word translation of the wonderful Abres Los Ojos, with even the same lead part for Penlope Cruz, but with any sense of ambiguity removed. I guess subtitles must be too much of a struggle for audiences in the US, we all know difficult reading can be 😐 

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