REVIEW: “Let the Right One In” vs. “Let Me In”

July 11, 2011

When I first heard all the hub bub about Let The Right One In I was excited. I love a good vampire movie and this one sounded super creepy and the trailer made it look very appealing. When I finally got to see the movie, I was less than impressed. I enjoyed the story, but I thought the execution was crap. I was bored through most of the film, it was too silent for me and there was almost no action. It was very “artsy” and I’m not known for liking art films… at all.

When I heard there would be a “Hollywood” version I got excited because it was a chance to make the movie what I expected it to be. I got enough flack for saying I didn’t like “Let The Right One In” and when I said I was really excited for the U.S. version of the film I caught a whole new pile of flack. I’m not sure what causes this loyalty and reverence to foreign films, but I’m just not a big fan of them to begin with. I mean the last thing I want to do is work to keep up with reading a movie while the entire time I’m trying to watch what’s going on. Not to mention most of them are very dull. Sorry, but that’s just my experience and point of view on it.

I’m not saying ALL foreign films are that way though. God knows I loved “Day Watch” and I wish I had a copy. I wish they’d made a third one, but I get that the story only took two films, and in this case the second one was better than the first, but they both were amazing films.

So I got to see Let Me In finally which prompted this post. The movie is practically identical to it’s predecessor. The story is the same. The characters are pretty much the same. The visuals are pretty much the same. The differences are that we lose a bit of the character development of any supporting cast. We lost the father completely, but I’m not really sure how important that was to begin with. The action is boosted a bit while not adding anything to the movie that shouldn’t be there, like extra scenes throwing the movie off. The gore is a bit more impressive but again, not so much added that it over does it. In fact all the changes were an exercise in subtlety and finesse.

We still have a kid who is lonely, though that doesn’t come through as well in “Let Me In” as it did in “Let The Right One In”. A few visuals of a mother passed out with a partially empty glass of booze and a bottle nearby was about the extent of that. The kid was alone throughout the whole movie though but the film is about him so it didn’t really add to the “I’m all alone” feeling. The father blew the kid off over the phone, so that didn’t really add to the lonely thing either. It had more of an impact to see the kid in the presence of people but being ignored of not treated as a child is to be treated in “Let The Right One In” than how they did it all in “Let Me In”.

The kid “romance” edge of the movie was there too, but it wasn’t as edgy as it was in “Let The Right One In”. It was more innocent I think in “Let Me In” which is ok, but I did enjoy the way the relationship went down in both films, it was just done differently and only slightly.

The boy is still bullied (since that’s one of the major plot points) and I think the way it’s done in “Let Me In” had more impact. I believe this is because of the amount of extreme bullying cases we’ve had here in the U.S. in recent years, but don’t quote me on that because I don’t know how bullying is in other parts of the world. It could also have just been the actors in those roles because I enjoyed the people playing in this cast much better. The cast of “Let the Right One In” was very good, I just couldn’t identify with them as much. Then again, “Let Me In” dropped almost all the stuff with the neighbors and showing us a bit about the victims, and in “Let The Right One In” that kind of made you interested in the neighbors more and what happened to them.

The one thing I really hate about remakes is the distraction factor where you’re busy comparing what you saw in one movie with the other while watching it; trying to figure out which characters are which, why certain characters are doing different things or acting differently. I do enjoy different interpretations or alternate realizations of the same story (if they are any good), but I can’t seem to shut off the live compare and contrast thing and I think it takes away from the movie I’m watching. This is kind of why I waited so long between watching each film, so keep that in mind if you decide to check them both out.

I think reasons are overrated too. While my tendency is to enjoy finding out the “why” of things, it’s scarier and more provocative not to know that. Like the fist Halloween movies. There was no reason to Michael Myers’ killings, he just did it, like it was his purpose, his function. Slowly over the past decade or two American movies have moved more to telling audiences the “why” of things. So when it comes to foreign films being re-made here, usually they add the “why” parts of the movie that were missing from the original. Like I said, I like the back info on the story, but it’s a bit overrated and like Pandora’s Box… once you know, you can’t unknow.

Here though, in “Let Me In” they didn’t bother with that. Things were just because they were. I don’t even know that you could add a “why” factor to this story. I mean she’s a vampire who’s been a child for decades. Some of that lends to the things she does and how the two interact with each other, but then it’s hard to ignore she’s probably like 60 years old (sorry, I never bothered to figure out what her real age would be).

The music and dialog were another addition that I enjoyed. There were a couple scenes where I think the silence of “Let The Right One In” was better, but having the music there was a big improvement from the other film. The added talking between the characters was a good move too. I’m not watching a movie to interpret the looks and motions characters make or their facial expressions alone, I’m there to watch a movie for entertainment, not for art appreciation on the subtlety of human body language and things like that.

The special FX between the two were a difference for sure. The work in “Let Me In” wasn’t the best, but again, it added something to the film that the original lacked and it wasn’t exactly over the top.

Another thing that stood out in “Let Me In” is the way that the vampire had turned her “father” into a reluctant serial killer. They didn’t touch on it much, but what we saw was enough to send that point home very clearly. I also liked how the vampire starts off very shy and careful. But slowly, through visuals, the girl gets more and more comfortable and relaxed with the boy. Nice touch there. I mean to start her off all covered up and then she lets her hair down and then talks a bit more to the boy and then the reveals that she makes and her willingness to trust the kid… in “Let The Right One In” I didn’t get that. She was pretty much the same throughout the whole movie.

I also really liked the dynamic between the boy and girl more in the Matt Reeves version because I think they showed more interaction and did more than just sit them in that apartment playground. Featuring more of the girl and the boy together and not just one or the other and in different settings worked better hands down. Also, the idea that this older girl is having a fling with this younger boy is a bit creepy, but also cute because they both look to be about the same age. That’s kind of fun and it’s done better with “Let Me In” than in “Let The Right One In” because of what I just laid down for you.

The kills were more intense/suspenseful and thrilling. I really felt more sympathy for the girl and her “father” in the American version than in the other version.She can’t help herself because of her condition and he is just trying to help her the way a parent would try to help their child with any disease, even though in this case it’s a moral call about murdering people. All those years of him and her living this way had to be really messed up and difficult, but it shows the level of dedication between these two as a family.

My final words are that “Let Me In” did exactly what I’d hoped it would. It took an artsy flick (that I did enjoy, but not that much) and turned it into a real horror movie that happens to have a good story supporting it (which I really really enjoyed). It was incredibly enjoyable to see the changes and came off to me as if it was two people given the same screenplay and told to go off and make a movie, but one was an “A” student and the other was more like a “B” student. While I did miss some of the scenes from the original film I think Reeves did a lot to make up for anything that got removed and he did it very very well.

I’d propose that if you get the chance that you check out both movies. It will give you two perspectives on the same story and you can decide for yourself which one you like more or if you like them the same. Personally, I’m sure you can tell that I liked “Let Me In” much more than I liked “Let The Right One In”. The thing is we probably wouldn’t have the second movie if the first was never made and had not been so popular to begin with. Also, I guess there’s a book out there that this was all started with so go read that if you like books.

Let The Right One In:


Let Me In:



– Mr. Frights





One comment

  1. I have seen both movies and the one thing I liked about “Let the right One In” was the scene at the pool near the end. I thought it was done much better and was a little disappointed that the American version did not go a little further with the gore and violence that was happening. Other then that, I thought both movies were done well and are worth watching.

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