Move over Dracula and Edward Cullen, there is a new vampire in town–all the way from Sweden. Her name is Eli, or Abby in the American version. She and Oskar, Owen in the American version, are the central characters in the Swedish masterpiece of a film Let The Right One In, and its American revision, Let Me In.
The original film focuses the characters Oskar, who is played by Kåre Hedebrant, and Eli, who is played by Lina Leandersson. Oskar is a twelve-year-old boy who is constantly bullied at school, whereas Eli is a twelve-year-old vampire who survives off blood. The film primarily revolves around the children’s growing friendship, and along the way, various deaths, revolving around Eli, occur, testing their friendship and mixing in a little romance.
The revision of the film follows the plot of the original pretty well, except for a few things. One difference was the location of the film; in the original, it takes place in Sweden, but in the remake, it takes place in New Mexico. Another difference was the main characters’ names, which were changed to Abby and Owen, who were played by Chole Moretz and Kodi Smit-McPhee respectively. Also, the adults in the original are spread around town, whereas the main adults, in the revision, are all under the same apartment complex.
One thing I am glad the revision did was have the film focus more on the relationship between Abby and Owen, since the film was about them, after all. The original film does focus on them quite a bit, but it also has a lot of scenes dealing with the adults of the town, where the story occurs. Chole Moretz was another improvement in the revision. I felt she was the perfect choice for Abby. In the original, Eli is portrayed as a generally creepy vampire girl, but in the revision, she seems to be portrayed as not only creepy–but cute. This seemed to add to the character during the murder scenes where she transforms from this cute girl to a blood covered vampire with death and thirst in her eyes.
One addition I did not like about the revision is how they brought religion and an authority figure into the film. They make Owen’s mom very religious, praying before meals, hanging up picture of Jesus in their apartment and saying what is happening in the town is a work of evil. In the original there was no authority figure, meaning a cop; there were just concerned civilians who cared about what was occurring in their town and wanted to stop it.
As I had said that Chole Moretz was a perfect choice for Abby, Kodi Smit-McPhee did not do justice to the role of Owen the way Kåre Hedebrant portrayed Oskar. In the original, Oskar is portrayed as this boy who seems to have no emotion, even when he is getting beat up by the local bullies. They whip him and nearly drown him, yet he shows no emotion. Owen, on the other hand, just whines and cries about it. He is tan opposite version of Oskar, clearly showing signs of pain and fear when confronted by the bullies.
Another trait of the original version: death scenes happen instantly; they are not overdone like the revision. In the American version, when Abby attacks her victims, it looks like she is pulling off moves you would see in a cheesy Kung-Fu film before drinking their blood. In the original, Eli just pounces on her victims and that is it; they are dead instantly.
So, with both advantages and disadvantages in the American remake of the original, the film is still a worthy revision of a masterpiece. However, the Swedish gave me a new view of the vampire world, a view that cannot be compared to.