Let the Right One In vs. Let Me In
First off, I’d like to clarify that the recent vampire movie hit Let Me In is not a remake of Tomas Alfredson’s terrific Swedish thriller Let the Right One In. They are both adaptations of the novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist.
Welcome to my latest review. Today I’m going to be comparing the two vampire movies in this post’s title. They are both excellent films, but for me it was easy to pick a winner.
A few months ago I caught Let the Right One In on DVD and watched it, eager to see what all the fuss was about. The film was brilliant in its portrayal of childhood strain and imaginative adventure brutally colliding with real life. The American version, Let Me In, is the same thing, but when comparing it with LTROI, it looks so glaringly… American. I’m a huge fan of Swedish cinema, and I love the way Swedish directors like Alfredson view things and shoot things. It’s so different from America; it’s more fresh, and original. Whereas the American version has all the American stereotypes: the typical bullied kid and the vampire. Sure, they’re original enough and LTROI handles their characters well enough, but LMI has characters that seem slightly less easy to accept. Chloë Grace Moretz, as the vampire “Abby” (to LTROI’s Eli) gives a showstealing performance and manages to capture the strange and uneasy feel her character presents, and manages to be perhaps an even more detached and lonesome soul than Eli in LTROI. For that, points are awarded. Kodi Smit-McPhee is decent in his role as the awkward Owen (to LTROI’s Oskar), but I felt less sympathy for him and more pity, whereas with Oskar in LTROI, he seemed more… real, and original. Although points must too be awarded to Smit-McPhee as his character certainly seems more lonely and helpless than Oskar, but this is a poor substitute for Oskar’s originality.
But the real reason I prefer Let the Right One In is the way it handles one of the most important scenes in both films. This is the pool scene, which, in LTROI, is one of my top five favourite scenes from any film ever. The way Alfredson films it is just magical. He makes it deeply disturbing, and gives the viewer a similar viewpoint to the underwater Oskar, allowing the viewer only to hear the madness and leave it to their imagination to figure out what’s happening and how above the water. Let Me In keeps the camera underwater, too, but other than that the scene is shot quite differently. The pool room is dark, which makes any visible underwater action much more difficult, and the awesome shot at the very end of the scene which surveys the entire mess of the whole room is noticeably missing.
I might sound grumpy and nitpicky to some, but I’d like to reassure everyone that I’m not putting Matt Reeve’s film down at all. I liked his movie, but it was too different and not as fresh as Alfredson’s, and had an ‘American’ feel which I felt quite unneccessary. We are constantly reminded this is in 80s America, such in scenes of television monitors of presidential speeches, a classroom chanting an American anthem, and other American things.
In Sweden it felt more appropriate and realistic, and the essence of true childhood was captured beautifully. Let Me In did a great job, I’m not denying it that, but the plain and simple truth is that Let the Right One In did better.
Let the Right One In: 8/10
Let Me In: 7/10
Now it’s time for…
Leave a comment with what you thought of both movies, and let me know whether you agree or disagree with what I’ve written. All opinions (within reason) are welcome.
Thanks for reading.