The Vampire movie is not dead. Though vampires, have, admittedly, taken a few knocks recently (Twilight portrays them as sparkling, perfect, super-powered humanoids), there is one film, at least, that treats the vampire mythos with the complexity and, dare I say it, respect it deserves. that film is the Swedish horror/drama Let the Right One In. The dark sexuality and thirst for blood as been restored to the vampire in the form of a brilliant story involving bullying, murder, divorce, child crime, pedophilia, and other such pleasant things. But hey, vampire stories are supposed to be dark.
Though Let the Right One In came out in 2008 (in other words, just 3 years ago), it’s already been remade. If there’s one thing Hollywood’s good at, it’s stealing people’s ideas and ‘updating’ them with better special effects and a bunch of famous celebrities. And so we have Let Me In, a movie in many ways identical to the original, except with the kid from the Road (Kodi Smit McPhee) and Hit-Girl from Kick-Ass (Chloe Grace-Moretz) playing the leading roles. Apparently, the producers decided the movie needed to remade exactly in English because who reads anymore, am I right?
So, which is better? The Swedish original or the bigger-budget Hollywood remake? The answer might surprise you. They’re about the same. Same story, similar execution (both with the same low-key music and minimalist cinematography) and I swear the dialogue in Let Me In was lifted in large part word-for-word from its Swedish predecessor. Which begs the question why a remake was even needed at all.
Of course, there are a few subtle differences. I thought the bullies were far better acted in the Swedish original. The climactic scene involving a swimming pool and an impossible dare was also much more suspenseful in the original. But the new one made up for this by adding a heart-wrenching phone conversation between the protagonist (Oscar in the Swedish, Owen in the American) and his estranged dad in which he begs his dad for moral advice but finds his dad isn’t really listening. Also, another great character-building scene where he spies on his neighbors.
So really, take your pick. Or watch them both. When it comes to these movies, there is no ‘wrong one’ to let in.