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LET ME IN — A SHORT REVIEW February 25, 2011

Posted by lycan librarian in Movie Review.
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     I loved the vampire film, LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, and can’t understand why anyone thought a remake of such a fantastic and recent movie was necessary, but I suppose there are a great deal of people out there who won’t “suffer through” a foreign film’s subtitles. So LET ME IN was made, and at, first, they did a great job of keeping it dark, and, oh so creepy.  A lot was kept true to the Swedish film, and even the woods and backyards where the vampire and human children meet looked very similar. In LET ME IN, the feeding scene in the tunnel is a pure delight, but the Swedish version is still far superior. To my surprise, LET ME IN was a bit of a snoozer in spots. I recall being on the edge of my seat throughout  the entire Swedish version, and I was tempted to fast forward through a few scenes in the American one.

     Now let’s discuss this American proclivity for insisting on beginning a book and movie with a slap-in-the-face chunk of action. LET ME IN began with the police in the hospital attempting to interview a burn victim, who then jumps out the tenth floor window, so we are already told what will happen to Abby’s “father.” (I would have prefered not to know.) From there, the movie flashed back two weeks earlier to Owen play-acting stabbing a girl while wearing a very disturbing mask. Isn’t that sufficiently intriguing? Here’s a kid from a broken home playing with a knife and spying on his neighbors through a telescope. That’s enough to keep me watching, so why would we not just start with our protagonist? For whatever reason, it is no longer acceptable to begin a story slowly and to let the viewer/reader wade in by inches. Instead, they are thrown into the deep end and over their heads. This is supposed to be because it is what the public wants. Is it? Or is it what those making and selling books and films want to give them?

     I will admit, I did enjoy the acting of Kodi Smit-McPhee, who plays Owen in LET ME IN. On the other hand, Kare Hedebrant was wonderful as Oscar in the Swedish version. In both films, this disturbed and bullied boy was my favorite character. But as far as comparing the Swedish original and American remake of this unique vampire story, if you are willing to sit back and read subtitles, go for the Swedish film. It’s a much better movie experience. Better yet, skip them both and first read the novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist. I wish I had, but I will read the book even though I’ve already seen the films. It is supposed to be far more thrilling and psychologically draining than either movie.

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