Thursday, October 14, 2010

Let Me In [2010]
Starring: Chloe Moretz, Kodi Smit-McPhee
Directed by: Matt reeves

A bullied young boy befriends a young female vampire who lives in secrecy with her guardian.

I've seen the original Swedish version of this film that came out a couple years ago, and even though i didn't think it was the untouchable masterpiece everyone else thought it was, i still enjoyed it. It's a film i learned to appreciate more on repeat viewings and i can see why it has had such a strong following, but it didn't blow my mind.
When i heard it was being re-made, i was actually curious to see what else they could do with the story, maybe this time they'd make a version that captivated me a little more than the original.
Is the American version better than the Swedish one? an overall product, i'd say yes, but both films are pretty much similar for the most part, with the American version upping the anti a little in certain parts.

Both films share a similar cold atmospheric feel to them. I was glad they kept that moody tone for the remake. It's the main part of the original that i remember the most. The American version takes place in snow covered New Mexico, and it works surprisingly well. The feelings of isolation and dread in the locations the characters occupy reflect the two main leads and their personalities perfectly.

The casting is pretty much spot on, with the most obvious change being the vampire girl in the story [named Abby in the U.S version]. In the Swedish version, the character had a more interesting quality to her because she looked more androgynous, which added something different to her presence on screen. In the U.S. remake however, she very much looks like just a girl. That's not a bad thing though, because Chloe Moretz still brings her own unique quality to the character without looking like she's simply copying the actress from the original film. Chloe was actually really great in this. She played depressed well, she said a lot with her face without having to go over board with obvious emotion, similar to what the original actress did.
What i liked more this time around was how Abby was depicted in vampire form. In the original, her vampire appearance was a lot more subtle, in the remake, it's much more obvious. She has creepy wide icey blue eyes with veiny skin. Her vampire attacks are a lot more vicious than the original character as well. The feeling of danger was a lot more obvious in the remake, Abby was scary when she lost control.
The bullies in the U.S. version who victimize the young boy in the story came across a lot more dangerous as well. The violence and gore was increased, but not in an over the top sort of way. It was just enough to give the very sombre and quiet tone of the movie the punch it needed. That was lacking a little with the original in my opinion.

Hints at Abby's gender are only slightly referred to in the script, it definitely wasn't as much of an obvious hint as it was in the original [no scarred vagina scene this time around], but Abby's strange relationship between her male carer seemed to point to a more obvious hidden meaning than it did in the original, from what i can remember of it anyway.
Some scenes were executed better than others when you compare both films, for instance, the scene where Abby walks into her young friends house without an invitation was executed a bit more interestingly in the original, but, the scene where Abby's female victim is strapped to a hospital bed feeling the vampire change within her take over had A LOT more impact in the remake. In fact, it was probably my favourite scene.

What you'll get with 'Let Me In' is a VERY faithful remake of an already interesting and original foreign film. One isn't too much better than the other, but personally i preferred the more dangerous feeling remake to the more low key Swedish version. Don't get too excited, the remake isn't some pumped up super vampire movie, not at all, but it does feel like they pushed the vampire aspect of the story a little further by making Abby seem much more out of control and demonic on screen.
If i knew someone who had only seen ONE version of the film, that wouldn't bother me, because they're both good in their own ways. If i HAD to recommend one over the other though, i'd actually go for the U.S. version.
I know die hard fans of the original want this remake to be shit, but i'm sorry to say, it really isn't. Not only is it on par with the Swedish version, but in some ways, it's better.


Miller said...

I have not seen the U.S. version. I noticed that you mentioned the scene in the Swedish movie when the young vampire's genitals are briefly exposed. I was unaware the scar was alluding to her gender. Several times throughout the film she declares that she is not a girl. I took that as meaning she was a vampire and my first and only assumption about the scar was that it had resulted from some sort of sexual trauma. So was she a castrated male vampire all along????

Anomaly said...

She was yes. I haven't read the book, but that's where that is revealed in the back story.

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