So I Finally Saw Let The Right One In

April 14, 2010

Folks who know me know that I’m a big fan of vampire horror/fiction. The themes and metaphors, the aesthetics, I’m all over it (‘cept that Twilight bullshit!! Edward Cullen can get back with his sparkly ass!!). So when everyone started talking about the Swedish film Let The Right One In, I was intrigued. Granted, it’s taken me this long to get around to watching the flick, so I guess that’s saying something. In any event, well aware of the impending American remake, Let Me In, I finally sat down to watch the original. Taking place in the early 80s, the film follows 12 year-old Oskar as he struggles with his broken home life, as well as the bullies that terrorize him at school. Everything changes when he meets Eli, a girl around his age, who’s moved in next door with the old man who’s responsible for her. Eli’s arrival coincides with a string of murders that have been occurring in the small Swedish town, the victims drained of blood.

For what it’s worth, Let The Right One In is a very good film. It’s more of a drama than a horror film, even at its goriest. There’s a lot going on beneath the surface, and a lot of different relationships are examined, seeing everything from the perspectives of both children and adults. There’s an interesting dynamic in how indifferent some of the adults are, compared to how cruel some of the children are. Even more disturbing is seeing how much Oskar longs to be as cruel as the kids who bully him. To say nothing of the “sexual overtones”. One scene finds a naked Eli surprising Oskar in his bed (after attacking an innocent women). Not to mention Oskar visiting his father, and later being joined by his father’s “friend” in one of the most awkward scenes in the film.

But for all the film has to offer, I didn’t really find it to be so great that the idea of a remake should be considered sacrilege. “One of the greatest vampire films of the last twenty years”? Me thinks the people who have made such hyperbolic claims have never seen the cinematic masterpiece that is Dracula 2000! C’mon, it’s hard to top a twist where Dracula turns out to be fuckin’ Judas!!!

While I do wonder if the filmmakers behind the remake (and more importantly, the studio) will have the minerals to touch on the more “risque” elements of the original, given the fact that the main characters are pre-pubescent, I don’t see it being an impossible task to make a film that does the original justice. For all we know, the remake could even be better. I know, how dare I?!! I dare because after a while, I get tired of all these foreign horror films that get shoved down my throat as if they’re the greatest things since slice bread, then I finally see them, and I’m like, “Eh, it’s okay.” This happened when I finally saw Ringu, after being scared shitless by The Ring. Not to take anything away from Ringu, but The Ring was one of those rare cases where it took the source film, and actually improved upon it, far as I’m concerned. Greater attention paid to atmosphere, and a determination to make changes to the story to give it a sense of individuality elevated the materiel. To say nothing of the change in how the victims were presented after their encounter with the demonic Samara. Rick Baker makeup and zero build-up to the scene in question? Now that’s how you do a jump scare!


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