9. Thou Shalt Improve Upon The Failings Of The Original
Let The Right One In and Let Me In are the same movie, in theory. In practice, they are completely different films that manage to tell similar stories that hit upon similar messages. Both tell the story of outsiders who befriend each other and develop a strong bond during the 1980′s, and one of them just happens to be a vampire. Unlike most remakes of foreign films, this one manages to take the Swedish original and flesh it out a little more. The film begins with the caretaker’s hospital room suicide, and proceeds to highlight the implied plot point that the caretaker was a little boy when he too met his immortal companion. This, of course, was in addition to re-writing the film so it was easier for American audiences to culturally identify themselves with the setting of the story.
Let Me In doesn’t change anything major to the plotline to Let The Right One In, but instead respectfully reshuffles some details and culturally rewrites itself for its American audience so as to give them an easier window of perspective. This is a good example of a remake changing itself so as to be better understood by another audience, as well as be better understood in general.
While the original was beautifully haunting, it danced around a lot of details and didn’t firmly solidify the divorced nature of Oskar/Owen’s parents, or the relationship between Eli/Abby and her caretaker. While it’s one thing to let the performances of your actors organically drop exposition throughout a film, it’s another to leave such important themes vague in the telling and then expect the same payoff as you would in a better developed story. The makers of Let Me In didn’t pretend the other film didn’t exist, nor did they succumb to “stupid American syndrome” and overtly spell the whole film out for domestic audiences. They made a good film great, and that’s what all remakes should aspire to do.
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