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“.