View Full Version : Let me in (2010)

Mark Tolch
02-11-2011, 10:14 AM
So, it was with much dread that I fired up the "new" Hammer Studios film, LET ME IN, which is a "reworking" of the source material that spawned the awesome film LET THE RIGHT ONE IN. I just wanted to comment on it, since there are no comments on this board so far that i can tell, and since this was such a controversial release given the short duration since the release of LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, and peoples' fondness for that title.

Anyhoo, right off the bat, LET ME IN is not a BAD film. It's actually an okay film. However, it stops there. Okay is about where i'd rank it, and even though it's hard to distance myself from LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, I can pretty safely say that I would've found it to be a moderate film without seeing the original. Also let me say that this is definitely not a shot-for-shot remake like Gus Van Zant's PSYCHO, although a number of key scenes are essentially recreations of the key scenes found in LET THE RIGHT ONE IN.

The two lead actors, in this case named Owen and Abby, are quite good. I would go as far as to say that I liked Owen better than Oskar. Abby, however, has nothing on Eli. Abby is far more feminine than Eli, who played the whole androgynous aspect of the character a lot more effectively. It would be easy to say that the filmmakers did this to appeal more to American audiences, or "dumb it down", but I think it was more of a case of missing the point. Despite Abby saying, "I'm not a girl....I'm nothing", not having seen the original and hearing Owen's follow-up of "If you don't want to be my girlfriend, you don't have to make things up" renders it null and void. The potential pedophile angle, which apparently exists in the book but is only subtly hinted at in LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, is completely ignored. Richard Jenkins is even credited as "The Father".

The major downside to this film is that even though the lead actors are very good, the chemistry between them doesn't come close to the chemistry between Oskar and Eli, and that hurts the film, given that most of the story relies on that chemistry to carry the film....it's definitely not an action or aggressive horror film. What made the original so enjoyable was its ability to convey so much emotion even in the quietest scenes where Oskar and Eli were doing something as simple as sharing a moment together.

It was mentioned on AVM that the bullies in this new film are much more terrifying, and that's certainly true. In the Swedish film, they're just that, schoolyard bullies. No real threat is introduced until the older brother shows up in the pool scene. In this film, one gets the impression that the bullies are very dangerous, and understands Owen's reluctance to retaliate.

Elias Koteas and Richard Jenkins give excellent performances as the detective investigating the murders and Abby's "Father" respectively, but have relatively little screen time. I did like the decision to not show Owen's father, thereby increasing the feeling of alienation that surrounds him.

Onto the creative decisions of the filmmakers.....I liked the cold, dark scenes outside in the original film much better than the warm-tinged outdoor shots of LET ME IN. Maybe it was the decision to try to avoid being compared to the original that did it, but it eliminated a lot of the cool atmosphere that one got from watching the original. The decision to make Abby more of a CGI vampire when she is attacking somebody was pretty poor in my opinion. I can't describe it, but the original was much more effective in these scenes, maybe because presenting her as more human than supernatural entity made her more sympathetic. And speaking of CGI, the pool scene at the end is all but ruined by the ridiculous flurry of activity that occurs. Major points to the original for emphasizing chaos through simplicity. This seemed to be an attempt to up the horror/gore credibility of the film.

Michael Giacchino may be an accomplished composer, but I wanted to have him shot after this. A good score should not, in my opinion, ever intrude on the film. The best scores are often the ones that you don't really notice other than the fact that your reaction to what's on the screen is changing as a result of the music. The score for LET ME IN was as in your face and blunt as the religious and political aspects, which seemed to be added in as an afterthought. As a result, every picture of Jesus, every mention of the bible or Reagan's voice, and every music cue stuck out like a sore thumb. The only justification for this ridiculous soundtrack had to be because the film is pretty much devoid of emotion and atmosphere, and the music was stepped up to try and create some. Fail.

All in all, not a bad film. Completely unnecessary, however. Consider that THE LAST MAN ON EARTH, THE OMEGA MAN, and I AM LEGEND were all based off of the same short story, yet all stand as original (though not necessarily good) works that have major differences in how they tackled the source material. LET ME IN treads too much of the same ground with far too many similarities to be acknowledged as anything but a remake with some other scenes added. LET THE RIGHT ONE IN is still the superior film.


Ian Jane
02-11-2011, 10:23 AM
I haven't seen it yet. I've toyed with picking up the Blu-ray, and probably will once I find it cheap, because honestly, as much as remakes tend to get ragged on by a lot of people, I tend to have a curiosity towards them and have softened on them to an extent. I just can't see how they'd improve on the original at all, and it doesn't sound like they did much outside of a few points you make above.

Mark Tolch
02-11-2011, 10:30 AM
I shoulda bought the blu, because I didn't realize that i'd pretty much typed out a review length review. :D

Ian Jane
02-11-2011, 10:40 AM
Yeah, you kinda did. haha.

John Gargo
02-14-2011, 10:41 PM
John Gargo mentioned on AVM that the bullies in this new film are much more terrifying, and he's right.
A correction is in order here Mark... I haven't seen LET ME IN, although I like to be told I'm right about things. ;)

Mark Tolch
02-15-2011, 09:03 AM
Really? I thought that was you that said that. Sorry, John. I'll edit it.

John Gargo
02-15-2011, 02:53 PM
Sheesh, you could have left in some reference to my generally correct opinions on things or something... :(

Mark Tolch
02-15-2011, 03:17 PM
Yeah, that's not gonna happen. :pyoo:

Horace Cordier
02-15-2011, 07:47 PM
Yeah, that's not gonna happen. :pyoo:

Fucking Canadians.

Mike T
02-15-2011, 11:35 PM
I shall be buying this one when it comes out in the UK on BD shortly. Just to annoy my wife! She hates when I buy remakes of films we've already seen :p

Mark Tolch
02-16-2011, 08:38 AM
Fucking Canadians.

Can it, stalker.