Posted by: markfender | September 11, 2012

Let Me In

It’s time to review some remakes of Swedish films.

Let Me In is the English remake of Let the Right One In, a very atypical vampire film. Let the Right One In was a Swedish film, so us Americans had to watch it with nasty subtitles. Thank God Hollywood was there to rescue the property by making an English-language version. So, how do they compare?

The principal actors are very good in both productions. I think Chloe Moretz does a better job of conveying the fragility of her character than Lina Leandersson did. Not to say that Lina Leandersson was bad, by any means, but Chloe Moretz made me feel a lot more for the character. Both Oskars are fine, though.

The American version does a bit of reframing. It begins in media res and then backtracks to fill in the story. The story itself is almost exact from the other movie, but the scenes are reordered to perhaps provide a greater sense of horror. The American version pushes the horror to the forefront by framing the film in the middle, which worked fairly well. It also provided the helpful early hint that this story takes place in the 1980s by having Ronald Reagan appear on a television in the background. I actually wasn’t even aware that the Swedish version took place in the 80s. Perhaps this is just my America-centric viewpoint, but I thought Swedes were just bad dressers the entire time.

The American version also excises the genital torture that the vampire had experienced, which was okay with me. That detail always felt weird to me and, frankly, the less I have to look at a 14-year old’s mutilated genitals, the better.

Perhaps the biggest area the American version falls down in is the special effects. They’re not frequent, but there are obvious CGI scenes of vampire violence. The original didn’t go in for that and it honestly felt more grounded. Whether it was just practical effects or just a subtler directorial voice, the Swedish version worked the supernatural violence in better.

Other than that, these are pitch perfect versions of the same film. The sets are similar, the dialogue is similar, and the overall plot beats are similar. I would hesitantly recommend the American version over the Swedish version because of the performance of Chloe Moretz and for the slightly creepier vibe the whole film gives off.

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