Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Let Me In

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Let The Right One In is not only one of my favorite horror films of all time but also one of my favorite films of the aughts.  I've seen it about 5 times now, and never once has it lost its luster or power over me.  I believe that the developing friendship between Oskar and Eli is handled magnificently and in such a way that never feels manipulative.  I never feel as though the director is trying to make me fall in love with these characters and what they find in each other.  That all seems to happen quite naturally.

Let The Right One In's Oskar and Eli

Imagine my shock and dismay along with the rest of LTROI's fans when it was announced that Americans were going to remake the film.  Gasps, screams, and lots of kicking and expletives ventured forth from my bedroom when I first read that it was underway.  Then they got Matt Reeves as writer director.  I like Cloverfield, but was still pissed.  Then Kodi Smit-McPhee was cast as Oskar doppelganger Owen.  I did love the kid in The Road despite being a tad whiny, but who knows?  But the casting of adorable Chloe Moretz as Eli surrogate Abby really pissed me off.  What I loved about Lina Leandersson's Eli is how androgynous and naturally creepy she looks.  Her performance just adds to an already fantastic canvas!  But Chloe Moretz?!  HIT GIRL?!  Gross.

Let Me In's Owen and Abby

Yesterday I did the unthinkable and watched Matt Reeves' Let Me In.  I was hoping that I'd hate every minute of it and find it completely pointless and crappy.  Well.  I won't say that's exactly how it went down.  I still think the film is unnecessary since the original is still better than the remake, and only 3 years old.  The remake puts up a damn good fight, though.  Greig Fraser's (Bright Star) cinematography is incredible, the acting is impeccable (even stupid Moretz over there), and the things that were cut or altered actually serve the film really well.  The crazy cat attack sequence of the first film is gone, and thank goodness for that.  Of course I'm disappointed that Eli/Abby's gender issue is completely glossed over in the remake, but it isn't necessary to the film or the story as presented in the remake.  I do think it adds a layer of weird to the original, but the original is so stuck to its weirdo convictions, and the American version tries to keep it cleaner.

Let the Right One In
I will say what I don't like at all about the remake is how much the emotion is dialed up.  Even the title--Let Me In--is a strong command as opposed to the original's--Let the Right One In--creepy suggestion.  And that is a parallel comparison to how the two films unfold.  The American one wears its heart and emotions loudly on its sleeve while the original is much colder towards the emotions.  The viewer can see the feelings about to boil over inside the characters but it isn't explicit.  In the remake there is nothing left under the surface for our two characters.  I find that this detracts from the horror tone of the film (which is why the horror sequences are also dialed up and Michael Giacchino's obnoxious score is just there to play menacing strings at any suspenseful moment) and it detracts from the love story as well.  It was much more affecting to see these two people who are so emotionally distant from the world around them find a subtle and non-effusive connection with each other.  It makes sense since both characters are so cold to their surrounding worlds.  Yet in the remake the actors play as though the world doesn't understand them and they don't belong in it, but they're so effusively in love with each other and enjoy each other's company.  It doesn't do justice to the character's emotions and....well...character!

Let Me In
I did find the film worthwhile though.  I give it a B+.  I truly believe that if the original wasn't such A material and didn't exist that this film could easily have been a horror classic.  It will always be in the shadow of the original.  Good work to all involved though.  (ESPECIALLY Greig Fraser.)

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