Confessions of a Film Junkie: A Review of “Let Me In”
By: Brian Cotnoir
I hate when American Film studios take a foreign movie and try to “Americanize” it, so when I saw the movie trailer for “Let Me In” for the first time I, of course, began cursing God and the heavens. For those of you who are unaware, “Let Me In” is a virtual shot-for-shot re-make of the Swedish horror movie called “Let the Right One In”. I quite enjoyed “Let the Right One In”; I like the characters, I liked the story, I liked the visuals—I liked just about everything about it. So how much did I hate it’s Bastardized American Half-Brother? Not as much I thought.
First of all, I must acknowledge that this film is a total rip off. I counted a total of 36 re-created scenes that were used in both films, and a good portion of the dialogue was taken from the “Let the Right One In” and translated from Swedish in to English. This has to be one of the laziest re-makes I have ever seen in a movie. There are almost no differences between the two films, and I can’t believe that any studio actually gave the films writer/director, Matt Reeves any financial backing. He didn’t have to do much of anything! The shots were already laid out for him, the script was already written; all he had to do was film it in English. Now what are the differences between these two films you may be wondering? Well there are very few distinct differences between the two films that I noticed.
In “Let the Right One in” the boy and girls names are Oskar and Elly, and in “Let Me In” their names are Owen and Abby. Owen is more creepy and more of a sissy than Oskar, and because of that I felt almost no sympathy for Owen. At least when Oskar faced the boys who were bullying him he tried to show some strength and bravery through silence, so you felt sympathetic towards him. Owen, however, would scream and cry almost every time the bullies got within three feet of him so I felt no sympathy for him when he got his ass kicked.
I also didn’t care much for the vampire girl in “Let me In”. I liked Elly from “Let the Right One In” more than Abby because Elly was more mysterious, whereas I found Abby to be more suspicious. Also when Abby fed she was more creature-like as opposed to Elly who still had some humanistic characteristics when she fed. Abby was not terrible; I just liked Elly better. Another significant difference between the films is the locations. “Let the Right One in” is set in Sweden, while “Let Me In” is set in Los Alamos, New Mexico of all places. Having “Let Me In” set in New Mexico really bothered me and the reason why is because when I think of New Mexico I think of a hot and dry desert, not a cold winter suburb. At least in “Let the Right One in” having the story take place in Sweden made sense, with all the snow. Every time I think of Los Alamos, New Mexico, I think of the Manhattan project and “The Hills Have Eyes”. I think this story should have been set somewhere more associated with the cold like Vermont, or Minnesota, or Alaska, or New Hampshire—anywhere but New Mexico.
One thing I noticed in “Let Me In” that I didn’t notice in “Let the Right One In” was the time period it was set in. Both stories are set in the early 1980’s. I didn’t see any signs that “Let the Right One In” was set in the 1980’s, but “Let Me In” shoves out so many 80’s pop culture references on to the screen, such as showing televised speeches of President Ronald Regan, playing 80’s songs in the background, showing the kids playing Pac-Man, and people dressed in attire that most people associate with the 1980’s. I found the 80’s references in “Let Me In” to be more of a distraction than anything.
The one thing that irks me the most about “Let Me In” is that it was made only TWO YEARS after the release of the film that it’s ripping off. For crying out loud most people haven’t even had time to watch and enjoy the original. Why have you already made and released a re-make/rip-off of it. If “Let Me In” would have been made 15-20 years after “Let the Right One In”, it probably wouldn’t have bothered me as much, but two years between the original and the re-make is just ridiculously unnecessary. And for those of you who are thinking, “oh-they just-wanted-to-make-the-movie-in-English-so-more-people-would-see-it”, I say bull shit! There are these things formatted onto every DVD called “subtitles” and most studios hire voice actors to do the whole script in English for those people who are too lazy to read the God damn subtitles!
My final opinion on “Let Me In” is the following; I didn’t hate, but I didn’t like it. This film was far too Americanized and is a total rip-off in the worst way possible. It should not have been released, let alone made. If you liked “Let the Right One In” and you watch “Let Me In”, you’re probably not going to hate it, but you’re going to like it less than “Let the Right One In”.