Let Me In
October 1, 2010
On the Big Board
||This remake is easier to follow than the original, but I still don't get the strong praise for it. It's good, but not the best horror out there.
It’s unfortunate that so many poorly received horror originals are remade on the fast track. They are churned out so quickly and effortlessly that we can count on a negatively reviewed release every week or two. What’s more saddening is when a critically acclaimed feature of the genre is remade before its time or without the blessing of original film makers. Because the source material is highly praised and comes with an above-average crew, Let Me In should still be destined for a better fate than the majority of sloppy horror offerings.
Let Me In is a remake of Tomas Alfredson's Swedish film Lat Den Ratte Komma In (aka Let the Right One In), based on a novel by Swedish author John Ajvide Lindqvist. Originally released in 2008, the film was discovered at the Tribeca Film Festival, where it won the Founders Award for narrative feature, and immediately was picked up for a remake for a seven figure sum. What makes this a title to look out for in the future is the involvement of writer/director Matt Reeves, best known for directing Cloverfield. He has the chops for creating meaningful horror that’s more than skin deep and will hopefully bring the same heart-stopping intensity to this next project of his.
What the film has going against it is the uphill battle convincing the original’s director, and public, this film deserves to be remade. Alfredson is quick to comment that a film should only be remade if there was a problem with the first and takes offense an English-language version is already on the way. While subtitles aren’t an obstacle for some, Overture Films felt it was. What made the vampire film critically acclaimed was the sweetness of its young-love tale, unlike what we’ve come to expect from typical modern horror. It’s hardly had time to be received by the mainstream public, let alone deemed necessary of revision. Alfredson has every right to protest, but hopefully Reeves' participation will keep the essence in tact.
The story, while easily grouped into horror, actually follows a young, bullied boy named Oscar who meets a strange girl who lives next door, but only sees her out at night. The 12-year-olds (hopefully played by child stars and not middle-aged actors) fall in love while mysterious events occur, but for obvious reasons, their human-vampire romance leads to tragedy. While Oscar’s interest, Eli, knows she must stay on the move, she also finds herself compelled to help her new friend.
If the director alone isn’t enough to peak the interest of viewers, its saga should. With the recent resurgence in vampire appeal, Let Me In could tap into the same audience that made Twilight so successful. The scarier elements will prevent the pre-teen youngsters from attending, but if the makers go for more subtle fright to allow for the easier-selling PG-13 rating, a monster success could be on their hands.
Let Me In is on the lookout to be one of 2010’s more promising horror films. With Cloverfield already under his belt, Reeves knows how to build awareness and open to big numbers. The subject material will only help, but it’s up to the rating to determine who and what level of success this film is targeting. It’s either going to end up the next project on Dakota Fanning’s work schedule after Twilight Saga’s Eclipse or something Alfredson will actually be proud of. If nothing else, there will be some awesome trailers along the way. (George Rose/BOP)