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13

Let Me In vs Let the Right One In

Spoilers ahoy!

Ever since the initial trailer to Let Me In premiered (you can see it here) people have been comparing it to the original film, Let The Right One In. But most such comparisons are looking for minor differences or similarities. But let us remember–this is not a remake of the Swedish film. It is a re-adaptation of the novel, transposed to an American setting (specifically the fictional town of Los Alamos, New Mexico). So will it be different, the film?

Allow me to point out three little things, indicative of how this motion picture might be itself rather than (as so many insist) a mere copy. Initially there is this shot, wherein Owen asks “Do you think there’s such a thing as evil?” One can hardly imagine Oskar in the first film saying such a thing. But then, if you’ve read the novel you might recall the town where it takes place has no church. In America this simply would not happen. What this suggests to me is a different focus, an attitude towards events more in tune with Reagan’s America than 1980s Sweden.

Then there is Elias Koteas. The film’s IMDB page lists his character as simply “The Detective.” No such character merits such billing in either novel or first film. More, we see his character in the trailer, at the location of a murder and later breaking into a room with gun drawn. He seems to be present when one of Abby’s victims burns in the sun. More, we see him attacked by Abby in a scene that previously involved a character we’ve no hints of in either novel or first film. That role was filled by a gentle alcoholic who eventually tracks the vampire down. Yet in this version a police detective seems to be investigating the strange events all the way to the child vampire’s home.

Finally, consider the moment in the trailer when Abby is thrown to the floor (evidently) with an expression of horror on her face. This most certainly matches a disturbing subplot from the novel which however made no appearance in the first film. More, if you look carefully, the Caretaker character (named Hakken in the novel, but unnamed in Let Me In) falls from his hospital window in an almost identical shot from the original movie. I say almost, because he doesn’t look to be landing on anything other than the ground. But in the film, his back snapped on a heavy object–which explained why, even though he’d been bitten by a vampire, he didn’t rise again. He does in the novel, though–brain-damaged and driven by his lust for Eli, empowered with with the strength of a vampire. From this image above, it would appear this plotline exists in the film.

So–a very different film from the Swedish one. Not a copy.

D.MacDowell Blue blogs at http://zahirblue.blogspot.com/.  He graduated from the National Shakespeare Conservatory and is now working on a web series called “End Of The Line” which he likes to describe as “Dexter Meets Twilight“.

Veritas is a faerie child, switched at birth and left with wonderful parents in a small shack deep in the hills of West Virginia. He believes in magick and hopes to inspire readers lured into the enchanted path. Occasionally, he’ll post contributions from other authors so drop us an email if you’re interested.
david blueElias KoteasIMDBLet Me InLet The Right One InswedishThe Detective

Veritas • July 7, 2010


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  • sumoni

    I think that this “re-adaption” will be pretty faithful to the book.

    ****SPOILERS***I can live w/o Chloe’s character being an “it”. I’d rather have them spend more time making sure the personalities and the friendship between them are as enjoyable as it was in the original movie. Besides, in swedish version Eli only said, “I’m not a girl” A couple of times and then they did a quick glance at the fixed “area”. I didn’t get that part until I read a summary of the book. So it’s not a big deal they left it out. I do think the name change was unnecessary as if Eli and Oskar are such foreign names we don’t have them in America.***SPOILER END****

    I’m just keeping my fingers crossed they didn’t try to Hollywood it up too much, by relying on special effects and have a horrible script. Hell, I could’ve enjoyed the original movie w/o ever knowing Eli was a vampire. My b/f dislikes vampires and said it would’ve worked if Eli was merely a murder and not a vampire. Let’s see if Chloe and this other kid have the same chemistry.

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  • Deborah

    I don’t know how a comparison can be made between the films based on a trailer. I’ve seen both films all the way through, and was very disappointed to see a lot of mise en scene, and shot for shot plagiarism from the vastly superior ‘Let the right one in’. There is no point to this remake other than for people who can’t be bothered with subtitles and like their films jazzed up a bit, and made more explicit via the extra vocal, and visual explanation, along with the musical signposting. The poetry of the original is lost in this copy.

  • Los Alamosan

    Just so you know, Los Alamos isn’t a fictional town. It’s a real place where the movie was really filmed.

  • Mike

    Whether you call it an adaptation or a remake from the same novel “Let the Right One in” is the original movie and the best as far as I’m concerned and I enjoyed it because it was unique as far vampire films go, so I find it very disappointing that Hollywood or Los Alamos (the new Hollywood) remake a film that was only release two years ago.

    Is that’s the best Hollywood can do is to fund remakes of films that was release less then 24 months ago? Have they lost all since of creativity?

    How sad

  • name

    its more an adaption of the original film than the book.
    because the part at the end of both films in the train with her in the box talking through morse code isnt in the book.
    In the book it just says they went away.

  • the don

    im not going to ty and pretend i know loads and come off all pretentious, but i have to say i have read a couple of intervies with matt reeves and he doesnt talk about the novel as much as he does the film. his main concern was not creating his own adaptation of the novel but in fact to create a more accessable version of film.

  • Vogon Poet

    Two nights ago I watched Let Me In for the first time. Last night, I watched Let the Right One In for the first time. I only watched LTROI because I enjoyed LMI, and many critics and fans were saying how much better the original film is.

    Well, these critics are wrong. Let Me In is a far, FAR better film. Why?

    Both have the same basic plot because they are both based on the same novel, so that’s not the issue.

    The issue is the acting. The acting in LMI was impressive almost across the board. The acting in LTROI in was terrible almost across the board. It was so bad that it was almost unwatchable. I’m not saying this because I think non-American actors are terrible. Heck, the best child performance I have ever seen was by a four year old French girl in the movie Ponette. So that’s not it, but just compare the acting in the two films:

    Oskar and Eli vs. Owen and Abby – watching the kids portraying Oskar and Eli was like watching a really bad junior high school play. They couldn’t act individually and they had no chemistry when they were together. The girl was a little better than the boy, but that’s not saying much, and he had to carry the film. He was so bad, however, that it ruined the movie. Neither of them couldn’t make you care one way or the other what happened to either of them. The kids portraying Owen and Abby, on the other hand, were able to handle a script in which there is so much silence, in which facial expressions and the eyes alone have to carry a lot of emotional weight.

    The “father” – The actor portraying the “father” in LTROI was also completely incompetent. There are two scenes in particular that were in both films that illustrate my point: the scene in the kitchen when the girl touches his face and the scene at the hospital window before he falls. Both scenes in LTROI were flat – no emotion, no anything. In LMI, Richard Jenkins was amazing in both scenes because of what he communicated solely with his eyes – even through all of that make-up in the hospital scene.

    The Bullies – Not only could the kids playing the bullies in LTROI not act, they also weren’t in the least bit menacing. It was another aspect of the film that reminded me of a bad school play forced to use whoever they could find for the parts. The kids playing the bullies in LMI weren’t Oscar caliber by any stretch, but they were at least vicious little punks – the kind you actually run into in school – not weirdos who cry while they are hitting you with a stick (as in LTROI).

    The townspeople vs. the apartment dwellers – There was a major difference even with these background characters. In LTROI, they were universally bad actors. The whiny drunk, the cat man, the blonde, all completely unconvincing in their roles. In LMI, the apartment dwellers were not prominent, but at least they weren’t so bad that they were distracting

    FInally, if nothing else will convince people that LMI was a better film than LTROI, the cat attack scene should silence them. If nothing else, the director of LMI had the good sense to leave that ridiculously silly scene out of the movie. The director and editor of LTROI kept it in, and it all by itself made it impossible to watch any more of LTROI with a straight face.

    • Thomas

      God bless Ignorance. Land of the intellectually enslaved and home of the dangerously narrow minded.

      I respect that subtitles can be bit of a challenge. And chewing popcorn and diving for dropped candy does not make it any easier. But saying that the acting in the original (movie – interpretation of the BOOK) was off – that is just stupid.

      Are you suppose to “care” for the characters in this movie? Or are they vessels for a storyline about an inherited conflict in man? Is the setting random? Was the long opening (title) sequence just a service for all you people who had to take a piss or make some coffee? Or is this simply just another bad case of “the John Wayne” syndrome? I need a hero…

      If you are such a fan of the (lets pretend, but in fact – not so much) ambiguous character infested “am i good or am i evil” movies, with the merchandise potential to back up what is not there. Then go rent “Interview with the Vampire” (again) or watch Twilight (let me guess – for a fifth time).

      Why do people like you insist on making Americans seem so stupid and self sufficient. Im not writing this because im thinking that arrogant stupidity is inherited in a self sufficient part of the US, lacking any shadow of curiosity when it comes to matters transcending the realm beyond barbecue. I met a wonderful american artist once. His name was David Hockney (shit wait – he was british).

      Just joking. I like people. A lot. Stupid… not so much. And people are not born stupid. It takes America to make them stupid.

      By the way. Im a big fan of your: “guns for retards program”. It takes guts to go against everything Darwin has taught us and provide the bottom of the gene poole with the tools to protect inbreed and withstand progress. Shoot to regress.

      Im danish, so no point in commenting on my grammar, spelling and language skills.

      Nope. Im just a laid back happy person, thanking the god i do not believe in, that we do not have oil. So no invasion coming up.

      Therefore. As long as good taste in movies is not a resource, i trust that we are safe here in scandinavia.

      And to you – Vogon Poet. There is no place like home. So please stay there.

      Forza Obama. He is your once in a lifetime opportunity out of this mess. Let him guide. (and Jared and Jake and Janice Joy and Jared II… stop shootin them shotguns… aint no squirrels trying to steal ya moonshine).

  • Robin

    Vogon Poet, you are obviously a mind numbing North American idiot who can’t read and watch a movie at the same time.

    You also obviously have no sense of what a good movie is, because LMI was a terrible disaster of a remake, from the shoddy CGI of Chloe attacking the apartment resident to the flat and incredibly unconvincing bond between the two characters because of their abhorring acting.

    I’m not saying the critics are always right. But in this case they are. LTROI will always outshine LMI, it’s a better film in absolutely every aspect.

  • konstantinos

    Seriously! there is no contest. im sure i’ve seen the words more like “a bad school play” if so id say that they are acting like school kids. Remind me why this is a bad thing? May i remind you that they are all children…. so why is acting like children bad?

    I’ve watched Let me in i watched it after reading the book and wanted to see it before let me in was released as this film would spoil the older one. Someone said there is 2 years between the two films? in the next twenty years time everything you see that is “new” will be remade. Only the media will have changed from DVD’s to something more advanced. I digress the point it money $$$$

    money was made by both films and its nice to see a film with subtitles those who cant read will enjoy this new one more. However the two films are both based on the same book. This happens all the time.

    When this film is re-released in 20 years time and rakes in millions from viewers (who have never heard of these old boring films) sit in seats and spend $20 for 2 hours, watching a film which is to them a “new” film and to us a reminder of how old we are then you’ll see.

    This subject has been covered so many times that im glad they actually used new meterial.

    • Julia

      LOL, no one will be spending $20 for movies in the future. I predict movies will be GONE and replaced by Netflix and online streaming for home entertainment because all TVs will be huge. Maybe they’ll charge more for new movies or something, ha.

      This being said, I’ve seen both. I actually disliked that Abby is a girl (full-on female), part of what was so interesting about that character is Eli/Abby was not a girl nor did it really identify as one. Also, there is a problem with the overall relationship because Sweden was so xenophobic that Eli’s looks would be immediately outcasted – this sort of led to a more beautiful understanding between poor, bullied Oskar and strange looking Eli. I feel like the new one didn’t focus much on the relationship and didn’t really emphasize how they’re “soulmates”. It’s all about finding love as it comes to you, as the author says. And the new one kind of makes it out to be that Eli/Abby is only using Oskar/Owen.

      I didn’t hate the re-make but definitely watch it first. It’s more enjoyable if you don’t know how poignant the original is. The new one can stand on it’s own, however.