Here's another essay-ish review, this time for the Matt Reeves-helmed remake Let Me In. As Den of Geek had already sent their American reviewer Ron Hogan - who wasn't familiar with Let The Right One In - to see the film, I saw this as my chance to relax and take a close look at its approach to adaptation. Unsurprisingly, therefore, this isn't the best review for those who haven't seen the Swedish progenitor.
Before we start, let's get acquainted. Let Me In is the British-American remake of 2008's Swedish horror-drama film Let The Right One In. I reviewed it on this site, and it topped my Best of 2009 list. Ron Hogan, Den Of Geek's US correspondent, checked the film out on its Stateside release, coming to it completely cold, without seeing the original. (There are links to all of these at the bottom of this article.)
So here's an alternative take. Let's take a look at Let Me In in context, and relate it to the film it is remaking for a new audience.
In the last decade, Hollywood backed remakes have been consistently eyed with much suspicion. They're often used as a yardstick for the declining imagination of mainstream American product, and of the callousness of producers sucking up the best ideas from abroad. So, it was no surprise that Let The Right One In, the Swedish vampire horror-drama, was greenlit for the English language makeover.
Cue the consternation. Den Of Geek's resident World Cinema expert, Nick Horton, recently had the following to say about Let The Right One In: "...it is the isolation of the Swedish backwaters which sets the oppressive tone from which the film takes its cues. The audience feel as abandoned on the edge of the world as the characters, and it is exactly the sort of place where the fantastical and creepy could coexist with the ordinary. To set it elsewhere is to rob the film of its hidden power."
For me, though, the change in setting is the least of this remake's problems. Exoticist assumptions about the undertones of Swedish society aside, Let Me In's murky small town New Mexico, coated with snow and populated by dreary architecture, is just as effective a backwater as suburban Stockholm. It is suitably mundane, quiet and eerie, and a fine context for the set-up, as lonely kid Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee), who spends his time hanging out in his apartment building's empty playground, develops a friendship with a mysterious girl, Abby (Chloe Grace Moretz), who only comes out at night and seems undaunted by the cold weather.
Read the full article here.