Which do you prefer, Let the right one in or Let me in?
Most people prefer the original but I love them both equally. =]
And now for something completely different: two reviews at once! A few nights ago, I finally got to see Let The Right One In. It was great. I liked it so much that I got my hands on a copy of the American remake, Let Me In, the very next day. Reviewing them seperately would get a bit redundant, I think, so I’m gonna ramble about both films in the same post instead. ‘kay?
The basic idea of each film is, naturally, the same. A gawky twelve-year-old boy, bullied at school and ignored at home, befriends a strange little girl who just moved into the apartment next door. The catch, of course, is that she’s actually a vampire. Both films center around their relationship with one another and the strength it brings each of them. It’s as deeply human a tale as any vampire story could be.
What makes both of these films so special — and, yes, they’re special — is their atmosphere. The original film is amongst the most unnerving and hauntingly beautiful cinematic affairs that I’ve witnessed. I was so worried that the remake wouldn’t capture the same magic… but it does. It totally does. I’m not sure either film is better than the other in this regard. The remake is certainly louder, but there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s not insultingly flashy. In fact, it’s just as quiet, just as low-key, and just as eerie as its predecessor. Its high notes just ring a little higher — for better and for worse, depending on the moment. Both films marry horror and romance in a way that’s perfectly seamless, even if they sometimes use different methods to do so. It’s amazing.
The performances are also uniform in their quality. Each film is left to be carried almost entirely on the backs of the two kids who play the leads, and all four of them are stellar. In the original film, Lina Leandersson plays the vampire. Eli, she’s called. Her performance is just… unnatural? She seems old. Ancient. There’s something otherworldly about her. It’s chilling. You can see it in every frame. In the remake, Chloe Grace Moretz has the part. Abby’s her name this time around. It’s a different sort of performance — a bit more real, I think. Abby isn’t quite as… startling… as Eli can be, but in some ways that makes the story more convincing. Both girls manage to make the part their own. If I had to pick a favorite, I’d pick Eli — but it took me a few minutes to make the choice! The boys are great too, but their performances are essentially identical. Both are believably tragic. They anchor everything perfectly.
Above all else — beyond the atmosphere or the direction or the acting — it’s the way that both films make you feel that make them so important. They remind you of life and love and despair and everyone that you’ve ever lost or found. Everyone that has ever given you strength or left you entirely. They make you think about what you would be willing to endure for that one person who somehow manages to make you feel like you’re not alone in life. You’re left feeling some weird combination of happiness and sorrow. You’re left feeling human. They’re really not horror films at all.
I’m not picking a favorite, for the record. Both films are fantastic. Watch ‘em.