Well, it's October, that magical time of the year when ghosts and vampires come out to play and everyone is digging out their collection of scary movies to watch all month.
Last night I watched Let Me In, the American remake of 2008's Swedish film Let The Right One In, for the first time.
If you've payed attention to my Goodreads lists, you'd see the book Let The Right One In is one of my all time favourites. Best vampire book ever and the 2008 movie is one of the best vampire movies ever. So when I heard they were remaking a movie that was, in my eyes, practically flawless, I was dubious.
And then I heard it was going to be more true to the book. Well, ok then, at least it won't be a shot-for-shot remake because the original movie did leave things out of the book.
So after seeing it what did I really think?
THERE ARE SPOILERS FOR THE BOOK, MOVIE, AND REMAKE BEYOND THIS POINT. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
LtROI is a perfect example of less is more while Let Me In is a perfect example of how CGI does not make a good film. Eli always fed in shadow while Abby was a CG Spidergirl. I guess they tried to make her look nimble and tricky but she just ended up looking silly. There was a weight to Eli's clamp-and-kill method and the weird acrobatics of Abby were stupid.
The sexual ambiguity was all wrong too. When I first watched LtROI, when Eli says "I am not a girl." I read that to mean "I am not a child, I am a woman." until, of course, the big reveal. In Let Me In, when Abby says those same words I felt only that she meant "I am not a child, I am a woman." And that was that.
I will say I liked the car crash scene and the results of Abby's caretaker post-acid-bath. I felt more of connection between Abby and him than Eli and Harkan. The pool scene was done well.
Owen was good enough, Abby was good enough.
The scene were Owen doesn't let Abby in is, again, less good in the remake. The overly-dramatic score mixed with Chloe Mortez's shaking just made it look over-done. And THEN Owen actually asked "is this what happens when I don't let you in?" You don't have to explain it! Eli walked in, braced himself, then it happened, quietly and horrifically.
The entire "Be more for a little while" scene was missing, which is to be expected since they cast aside the entire gender issue.
The cop was needless. I say this because there was a cop in the book and if you're going to have a cop then have THE cop, with the cop's backstory!
Now, beyond all this, is my biggest criticism.
Believe it or not Virginia and Lacke's love story was one of my favourite parts of the book. It was tragic and beautiful. Her slow transformation from normal woman to vampire was very intense.
In Let Me In, we only get glimpses of what was supposed to be the Virginia character, she gets bit, she goes to the hospital, the nurse opens the curtains then POOF! Dead.
We didn't see her slow descent, her struggle, or her active choice to have the blinds open and choose to end her suffering. It all just sort of happened. It wasn't character development, it was nothing more than a cool scene.
I'm trying to decide if I hadn't seen the original nor read the book if I would have liked Let Me In. Maybe, because it would have been a break from Twilight-mania and a breath of fresh air, but comparing it to the original just prooves that a bigger budget does not make something better.
Truly, less is more.