Let Me In/Let The Right One In Double Review (3 of 5/3.5 of 5)

Let Me In is not so much based on the book Let The Right One In as it is a remake of the Swedish film. There are parts of this that are superior to the original film, but you’d expect that since this had a substantially larger budget. They got rid of a few scenes from the other film (including the awful ‘cat attack’). That was definitely a plus. I’d have to say overall I liked the first film best.

The problems I had with that one was that I was filling in the gaps too often. They stuck to the book very closely but left out many important explanations that I was filling in only because I HAD read the source material. It was hard for me to properly gauge the movie, because I don’t don’t know if there was enough presented to follow what’s going on in a ‘proper’ way. I don’t know if there was enough to ‘get’ what the movie (and the book) was trying to say with big chunks of the story left out. The big twist of the film, probably went right over the heads of anyone who hadn’t read the book. It feels like it’s in the movie as an afterthought (it’s ignored completely in Let Me In)… But, I never liked the twist anyway. I did like the villain, but they had ended his role in both films before he ever becomes a threat to the 2 central characters. I was disappointed by that.

Whereas, the original film left you with an open ending where you weren’t sure if this is happy or not, Let Me In added some small changes that had a HUGE change in the meaning of the story. By showing an old picture in this one to give an explanation to relationship between the Vampire and the Vampire’s helper, it skews this definitely in a tragic ending. You get more of a look at the future fate of the little boy in the story and it’s not a positive one. In fact, that brief shot of the photograph in question makes this film a tragedy  about evil seducing innocence. You didn’t really get that idea in the original even though the 2 films are almost shot for shot at the end. On top of that, the relationship of Haaken, the Vampire’s helper (called the Father in Let Me In), and the Vampire, is completely different in the book. You have to review the film, though, and not compare it to the book. I know how people get upset, though, when film adaptation’s take drastic liberties with the source material. It’s irritating.

The thing that irritated me the most was again the truncated plotline that involved Haaken. It was the creepiest, most disturbing stuff in the book and there was one scene in particular (his death scene) that I would have really liked to have seen. Who knows? Maybe they were saving that for the sequel.

Both films have great cinematography. The edge probably goes to the slicker Hollywood version. The American version also felt the need to load up on songs of the era of the film’s setting. There was something beautiful about the original’s shots of near soundless falling snow at night. The Hollywood version also one-ups the original’s portrayal of the Vampire helper’s slip up. The slo-mo POV shot from inside a car that the helper is trying to flee in was chaotically spectacular.

I preferred the cast in the original (with Kare Hedebrant and Lina Leandersson in the 2 lead roles). The entire cast looked a lot less like actors than their American counterparts, also. Anyway,  I thought it was exceedingly simplistic in the American film to change the hair color of the 2 child actors to separate the two versions. I think Chloe Moretz and Kodi Smit-McPhee were okay, but I preferred the kids in the original. They were speaking in subtitles, but they seemed to have stronger personalities than the 2 in Let Me In. Smit-McPhee and Moretz both seemed like they were feeling sorry for themselves the entire film with not much variation. They said a lot of things in pout-mode. That’s the directors fault, though, not the actors.

Surprisingly, I think the FX involving the vampire were maybe much better in the original. Let Me In sometimes resorted to the cheap CGI FX style where the animators completely disregard the laws of speed, weight and mass and it yanks you right out of the film every time. The original’s FX were much more… subtle?… discreet?…

The fall of Haaken from the hospital window was a bit more hard core in the original. The part where he bounces… I enjoyed that. I have a sick side….

Needed more Haaken/horror...

I don’t think either one of these qualifies as ‘Best Vampire Movie Ever’ as a lot of the poster blurbs have proclaimed. They’re both competent, but I’ve seen this material before and even done better. If you’re a horror fan, they’re both worth a look, but you might be disappointed by the lack of emphasis on horror.

Neither one’s a movie for kids, though.

Let The Right One In: 3.5 of 5

Let Me In: 3 of 5

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One Response to “Let Me In/Let The Right One In Double Review (3 of 5/3.5 of 5)”

  1. CyanSkunks Says:

    A truly wonderful movie.
    Even as a man ,this movie me cry.

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