The good news is that Let Me In is currently available on iPlayer. The bad news is that it’s crap.
This remake of Let The Right One In stars Kodi Smit-McPhee as a lonely, bullied boy and Chloë Grace Moretz as the blood-sucking girl who moves in next door and befriends him. Complaining about remakes is getting incredibly dull, but this is one of the worst culprits. It butchers everything that was good about the 2008 original, from the title to the content. It’s like watching a fat American taking a shit all over your favourite food.
Let The Right One In opens with a beautifully haunting shot of falling snow; Let Me In opens with the blaring sirens of police cars. And so it goes. Tomas Alfredson directed the Swedish original with the same quiet intensity that he brought to Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy; Matt Reeves directs the 2010 remake with all the subtlety of a bulldozer. Never has the name Hammer Films been more appropriate. Tinker Tailor Soldier Vampire is such a sad and lyrical film; Let Me In is yet another insulting and cynical remake.
This being Hollywood, they move the drama from Sweden to New Mexico, like Breaking Bad but it’s all snowy. They add CGI, guns and a car crash, draining the story’s frosty atmosphere like blood into a funnel. It’s meant to be about people who are different and weird, helping each other through the frightening process of growing up. But Hollywood can’t even make their protagonists properly odd; he’s just a bit quiet and she’s Chloë Moretz. Quite why she chooses to squander her talent on awful horror remakes is, well, financial probably.
Everything that was quietly suggested in the original is forced down our eyeballs. The bullying scenes are turned up to 11, with the kid being beaten up when in the original he was just verbally tormented. Presumably we as an audience won’t understand his pain unless we see it on him in the form of bruises. The static shots and long takes that Alfredson used to capture moments of brutality are replaced by fast-cutting, effects-laden sequences. Let The Right One In was reminiscent of George A. Romero’s Martin, but this is more George Lucas than George Romero.
The original wasn’t perfect, but Let Me In manages to retain all of its problems while demolishing everything about it that worked. Alfredson’s movie was in Scandinavian or Welsh or something, but this one is in American; another lazy cash-in designed for people who can’t be arsed to read subtitles. My co-goblin Alex and I were once in a Philosophy of Film lecture, when we overheard someone say they didn’t like films in black and white or with subtitles. In a Philosophy of Film lecture. If that dumb broad happens to be reading this, they’ll be pleased to know that Let Me In is available on iPlayer until the 20th of January.