JUNE 20, 2008
After the superb film Let The Right One In (aka Låt den rätte komma in) ended, I joked to my two friends that it “...was great. Let’s remake it!”, since it was in Swedish, didn’t have any big stars, and focused more on atmosphere and mood than violence and gore, and thus would not appeal to the average alleged horror fan in the States. So imagine my non-surprise when I went home and discovered that a remake was already in the works. *sigh*
Since it’s not made yet, I can’t really trash it, but while I am OK with remakes of older films that could use a fresh coat of paint (even if not entirely successful, I am perfectly fine with the idea of remaking something like Exorcist, in which the entirely different public attitude toward Catholicism today could be used for an interesting angle), I have zero interest in remaking a film simply because it’s “foreign”. It just suggests that Americans are idiots, especially when there is nothing in the film that we couldn’t identify with due to the fact that its characters are in a different country. Something like Shutter is a decent example – it plays on the rather commonplace idea of spirit photography in the East, but here we don’t really believe in that stuff on the average. So remaking it in English and having the characters learn about the idea – fine. Shitty movie, sure, but fine enough idea. But there’s nothing of the sort in Let The Right One In – its themes (adolescent love, bullies, protecting one’s children) are universal.
I love how quiet the movie is (something the remake will likely replace with Fall Out Boy); entire scenes go by without dialogue, or even music (that said, the sparse score is beautiful), relying on the two young actors to sell the ideas of the scene. Both actors are terrific, which helps. This also intensifies the “horror” scenes, as they are relatively shocking in many cases. I mean, the movie’s ostensibly about a little girl who happens to be a vampire aiding her friend, who is being bullied by classmates. What do you think is going to happen?
Between this and Frostbitten, it’s safe to say that the Swedish are at the top of the modern vampire movie game. So many modern films attempt to differentiate themselves by simply rewriting the rules (“our vampires have reflections!”) rather than simply make a good movie, but that is not the case with either of these films (that said, this one doesn’t have any real dealings with garlic or crosses that I can recall). I can’t wait to see this one again, and also to see if the remake “gets” what makes this one so great in the first place.
What say you?