In October of 2008, a Swedish horror movie called Let The Right One In was released. It was made with a relatively modest budget and seemed to strike a chord with people. I had heard many people clamoring over this film, calling it brilliant and beautiful and every other compliment a film from Sweden involving vampires can possibly receive.
It wasn’t until early or mid-last year (2009) that I was finally able to see it. I have to say, it is a hauntingly beautiful film and one that stays with you for a while after you’ve finished it. I think my viewing of it was tainted by how many wonderful things I had heard about it, so I’m not sure I enjoyed it as much as I could have. But it’s still a gorgeous movie, if not a bit “artsy”.
Here’s the trailer:
Flash forward to this year, 2010, and there’s already an American remake, called Let Me In, coming out.
Here’s the trailer for that:
I’m not one of the people who instantly bitch about a film being remade. Sometimes, in certain circumstances, the remake ends up being so much of an homage to the original, that it ends up being beneficial to fans of the original piece.
But two years? If Let The Right One In was released in October of 2008 and Let Me In is being released around the same time this year, that means they had less than a year to write an adaptation, find a director (Matt Reeves, director of Cloverfield), find a cast, and film the thing. The crafting of a film, specifically all of the pre-production stuff listed above, is a very delicate process and rushing that process never works out for anyone.
Near as I can tell, from the trailers and the blurbs surrounding the remake, they’ve taken great strides to ensure this film is as close to the 2008 version and, indeed, the book that serves as source material for both, as possible. Which to me, begs the question: Why remake it at all? I mean, maybe ten or fifteen years from now, if someone wants to pay homage to it, I can understand that situation. But this is blatantly trying to cash in on a film that, as far as I’m concerned, is still extremely fresh.
There’s one other thing that bothers me about this trend, and it is a trend. A little Spanish language movie named [REC] was very quickly remade for American audiences under the title Quarantine. The thing that bothers me is that seemingly, the majority of people in this country are either incapable of reading subtitles, or just don’t want to. Which makes very little sense to me. Many moons ago, I used to work in a movie theater. And once in a great while, we would get a foreign language film with subtitles (I can recall Jet Li’s HERO as one example), and as a theater employee, I have had to issue refunds to people who did not know the film was subtitled. People exited the theater playing the movie they had only just recently gotten dressed up for, paid a healthy sum of money for, bought popcorn and soda to consume during, and walked up to me and requested (in some cases, angrily demanded) a refund. Their reasoning was that they didn’t see the point in reading when you go to a movie.
It’s mind boggling. I’m not entirely sure why I decided to blog about this, but it’s something that has been on my mind a lot lately, and I suppose that’s what a blog is for, yes?
I am also in no way bashing Matt Reeves’ Let Me In, because, in all honesty, I have not yet seen it. For all I know, it will be every bit as moving and visually striking as the original Swedish film. But I know, I just know, that there will be certain aspects of that original film that will not and can not make it into this remake. There are things that many would see as clashing with our “sensitive American sensibilities”, keeping in mind we are the nation who produces films like SAW and Hostel and other so called “torture porn” that inevitably seem to make their way to the number one spot at the box office.
When all is said and done, if you are at all planning to see Let Me In, please do yourself the favor of tracking down Let The Right One In (I believe it’s available for instant watch on Netflix right now). I’m planning on seeing Let Me In, so I can judge for myself.