'Let the Right One In' remake: Right? Or wrong?

let-the-right-one-in-remake_lThe American remake of Let the Right One In started production this week, which I knew because I felt a great disturbance in the force. I’m still not convinced the movie needs an American remake — especially one renamed Let Me In, which is not the same — but Richard Jenkins’ presence (as the Håkan character) gives me a sliver of hope. A tiny, tiny sliver.

I was wild about the original film, but I’m skeptical that an American version will tolerate the same level of silence, particularly at the hands of Cloverfield director Matt Reeves. Part of what made the original so evocative was how little the characters said to each other, how much of the development was internal and implied. Are there contemporary American movies that do that? I certainly can’t think of one.

But maybe, maaaaaaybe this will be okay. Again, Jenkins is a major plus, and if they had to re-situate the film on U.S. soil, New Mexico actually seems like an acceptable fit: A lot of the original film’s mood came from the desolate, uniform, minimal surroundings. The crunch of snow underfoot, the wisps of vapor characters’ breath left in the air, the starkness of an iced-over landscape — Oskar and Eli’s environment was not particularly hospitable, which emphasized how isolated and vulnerable the two were. An off-the-beaten-path neighborhood in the Southwest can (I hope!) capture that same feeling of lostness and insignificance that made the original’s setting seem so haunting.

PopWatchers, put me in the skeptical column. Where do you fall on the “hell to the no” to “a thousand times yes” spectrum?

Image credit: McPhee: Karwai Tang/Alpha /Landov; Moretz: Chris Hatcher/PR Photos

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  • Eric

    Why do this? American “remakes” of foreign films (even TV shows) for the most part, suck!!! Is it just because some people don’t like subtitles they feel they need to make it? lol

  • Heather

    This film doesn’t need an American remake. It is great on its own and I’m afraid the remake will just mess up the entire tone of the original. I will probably end up seeing it just to see what they come up with. You are right though, American movies are not able to hold long silences so it’ll be interesting to see if they even attempt it

    • strickens_girl

      Agreed.

      • Brian

        Re-makes can’t affect originals. The idea that they can is preposterous.

      • Don’tLetTheGlossyOneIn

        @Brian
        “Re-makes can’t affect originals.”

        Of course they can!! they affect the memory of the original. They affect the experience we have as a viewer.

        Let’s say China does a remake of It’s a wonderful life, but with dwarfs with Down syndrome (which triumph in the end) and only mr Potter is played by a white guy, how would the GenPop feel about that?

        Now, THAT’s preposterous.

  • Brian

    The picture you printed says it all: the Disney channel presents “Let the Right One In.” Blerg :(

  • Troy

    There isn’t enough “Hell to the no” in the charted universe for this.

    • AC

      Exactly.

    • Carlitos

      Third you, man.

    • harrison

      agreed

  • If they stay true to the tone…

    ..it might end up decent enough. I’ll go see it.

  • jct

    Urgh!!! I hope they don’t ruin this film. I totally agree that I just don’t think an american director can tolerate the silence. That is what made the original such a gem.

  • Dez

    Yeah. No.
    It’s bad enough they screwed up the subtitles on the DvD, now they have to pretty it up and dumb it down?
    Another one I’ve heard they’re redoing is “Death at a Funeral,” which is one of the funniest movies I’ve seen in years. Have no idea why they have to mess with that one- a British film no more than a couple of years old?
    Have we no decent screenwriters with an original idea in their heads that everything has to be a sequel or a remake?

  • maskedavenger

    Americans always RUIN brilliant ideas by thinking they can di it themselves. America please come up with your own ideas instead of stealing “foreign” ideas.

    • Brian

      Yes, like when they ruined the Office.

      • Mary Mary

        State of Play, anyone?

    • Jpfromlbc

      Yeah, us Americans are such douchebags, wait, who’s music do you listen to, clothes do you wear, chicks you wanna bang? Let it go dude, we all as a global society use each others ideas, however, I really don’t think that the remake will be up to par with the original. Also, the American “The Office,” is ten times better than the british, don’t even try it.

      • harrison

        its gonna suck and im american…its gonna suck

      • amrampey

        amen, i tried watching the british office and it sucked.

  • Marcos

    While watching the original, I knew that a Hollywood remake would not be far behind, and it upset me because it was so close to perfect the first time around, and more Americans should be able to appreciate this kind of film.

    On the flip side, at least they’re remaking a really good movie as opposed to dreck. I’m not expecting ‘Let Me In’ to be as good as the original, but it will probably be better than ‘New Moon’ or most of the other junk that is churned out.

  • jeb

    This is a tiresome argument. Yes, the remake will suck. But who cares? You can still watch the original AND the original filmakers make a nice US-based payout. You think Michael Haneke cared that Funny Games tanked here?

    • a person

      he did. he directed it.

      • another person

        Funny Games wasn’t bad at all. The only thing is that people thought that it was basically torture porn to the highest extent. People viewed it as cruel and wrong. But thats what Michael Haneke was going for…to “try” to make people understand that the real villians in the movies that kill, torture, and mangle innocent people is the viewer him/herself. The fact that you kept watching and kept viewing it as entertainment makes the viewer the villian. That’s why it went to such lengths to keep elevating the horror aspect.

  • Shannon S.

    The problem with crappy remakes is that, no matter how hard you try to forget them, they always pop into your head whenever you’re fondly remembering the original. And I really don’t want my memory of “Let the Right One In” to be tarnished. Same goes for Nightmare on Elm Street. I love Jackie Earle Haley, and the preview looks decent enough…but if these movies suck, it’s gonna be hard to forget.

  • Rich

    If they try to duplicate the original, there’s now way this could be any good. That said, there’s a lot of stuff in the book that the original hinted at, but didn’t use. If the American version is its own thing, it could be okay (though still not as good).

  • Nick T

    No. No. No. No. No. Just no. Why? Why? No. No. God, no. Please, God, no. Please? No. No.

    • Ed

      Best. Comment. Ever

  • Brian

    There’s nothing wrong with trying. If it’s good, we’ll have two good adaptations of a great novel. What’s so wrong with that? If it sucks, it’ll suck, and that won’t affect the Swedish one. And anyway, even a bad re-make will give the Swedish one attention it might not otherwise have gotten. Everyone needs to calm down.

    • Mary Mary

      I care because the budget could go to an original idea and give us a new, exciting movie to think about rather than take a perfectly good, highly original concept (silent Swedish child vampire) and move it to America just because American’s can’t be bothered to read sub-titles. What is inspiring about that? Our artists and writers are already forced to dumb down everything they do, and they are forced to re-interpret rather than create. Is this what we’ve become?

      • Christian

        Idiocracy has become real life my friend. I think the guy who plays the lead is named Upgrayedd. Oy.

  • Leland

    Alright, we all dread remakes of foreign films, but we must consider that horror remakes are not necessarily horrible. Horror is a shifting genre, and often is a direct commentary on society, given that Sweden and America have two different takes on society, the depiction will be different. Better? No. Let the Right One In (US) is basically a film made for those who will never see the original. We can demean those anti-subtitlers, or we can sit back and say, with pride that we will not watch the film, because we’ve seen it before, only assuridly better. I realize that cinema is much different than theater, but we could very well look at it as basically another production with another take on the novel. And it was a novel first, which actually invalidates our angst over a remake, as the first film was merely a distilled version of the book, the us version may be just the same. Any fans of [REC] know the angst over Quarantine, and in the end they both stand on their own, and are both scary and well made. [REC] gets points for being first, while Quarantine gets points for making money for their distributors. End.

    • davey

      Great points Lelenad!
      Thanks for making me feel better about the remake (abeit an unnecessary one).

    • Nick

      You’re wrong about using [REC] as an example. The reason why [REC] was so terrifying was because it was filmed in such a manner that the actors (save for one or two) in the film didn’t know what was going to happen next. There was a lot of improv. That way, when they jumped, *we* jumped, for their jumps were real. Quarantine, by contrast, was a slavish remake, and you CANNOT duplicate spontanaiety effectively.

      As for Let the Right One In, you can always hope for the best, but for every Dawn Of the Dead remake, there’s about thirty Day Of the Dead remakes.

    • Don’tLetTheGlossyOneIn

      leland, you’re wrong on two counts.
      This is diffrent than making a filmadaption for a classic novel every then years, like Scrooge, anything Jane Austen and stuff like that.
      Those are more like updates.
      this is outright rape and theft (not moneywise, but still. so yeah, it’s prostitution on the Swedes part, but kind of forced prostitution).
      The fact that they choose Smith and Moretz as leads is a sure sign they’re gonna glossy this one over!
      They’re gonna Disneyfy it, as much as a solemn horror can be spruced up.
      Sure, we can all choose not to watch it. I admit I”m not strong enough to resist. Of course I WILL strong enough to shell out cash for it, and I will do my utmost to disable their cash basis.
      But you can expect this to be Twilight for preteens. Oh wait, Twilight was ALREADY Interview with a Vampire/True Blood/The Crow for preteens, so this is for pre-preteens?
      Sure, the actress is 12, so one might say that it can’t be TOO daring. But she already looks like a mini-CameronDiaz/MichellePfeifer/Hemingway/AnyBlondBabe without the curves, and where does it say that twelve year olds MUST make movies for 12 year olds?

      This whole discussion reminds me of the essence of Americans’ take on films, which is demonstrated in this anecdote:
      An American producer/distributor had watched Death in Venice. At the end he asked: “That depressing music, can we get rid of that?”
      Sad but true.

      and I bet more than few won’t even grasp what I meant by this little story.
      Sadder but even true-er.

    • harrison

      this isnt a scary movie!!! ITS THE GREATEST LOVE STORY IVE EVER HEARD, READ, AND SEEN!!

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