Hollywood has a nasty habit called the “remake,” and when they’re not stealing from themselves, they’re ripping off the foreign markets. Ever since the Lumiere brothers began making motion pictures in the late 19th century, American filmmakers have been copping ideas and remaking them for English speaking audiences, almost always ruining them in the process. For instance, I just watched The Vanishing – the original 1988 Dutch version – a masterpiece of a mystery thriller. Now for some reason, Hollywood decided to remake this movie, five years later, using the same director. I can only tell you the remake is a miserable hatchet job – with director George Sluizer neutering his own work – and the main culprit to blame can solely rest on the shoulders of the Hollywood system (and maybe a little bit on Kiefer Sutherland).
Fast forward fifteen years and head this time to Sweden, where Let the Right One In was released in 2008; a vampire movie so haunting in its stillness, that it made all the blood and gore scenes that much more visceral. A genre defining film, the story of a young vampire girl who befriends a lonely boy in a suburban arctic town, was a breath of ice cold air in the wake of the industrial vampire action movies that had flooded the market as of late (not to mention a certain teen vampire romance). Well, the Hollywood system wasted no time in remaking this for American audiences, as production began almost immediately after the film was first screened. Two years later, Let Me In, directed by Matt Reeves of Cloverfield fame, is ready for audiences, and the trailer mirrors the original surprisingly well:
The setting appears to be the same – small mountain town, where the white snow will only accent the red, red blood. The scenes depicted almost ape the original’s trailer, and it appears to be a true to form remake. The only notable difference – the industrial music that creeps throughout – leads to show the American audiences were pandered to in one instance. Where the original seemed to crawl at times, building suspense, the new one amps it up with a chugging score – the first, but only indication that Hollywood executives were scared that American ADD audiences would lose interest in such a slow paced film. A good initial sign, but skeptics will argue that one instance of pandering only begets several more once the full film is released.
One of the biggest things making this reviewer excited about the trailer, is the sight of Chloe Moretz as the young vampire. Moretz, as the adorably vicious Hit-Girl, was easily the best part about this year’s Kick-Ass (if you don’t count Nicolas Cage’s prosthetic moustache). A precocious little girl, Moretz is just as believable being nice as she is chopping off limbs, and her star turn gave her heat-seeking strength in Hollywood, and gave me chills watching her pump lead into henchmen. The hardest part about pulling off a role of a little girl who can at once be soft to the touch, and another minute savagely suck the blood of the unsuspecting, is finding the right person to play it, and I am more than convinced Moretz can do it. To her credit, Kirsten Dunst was a pretty believable bratty bloodsucker in Interview With the Vampire, but she doesn’t have the credentials of the c—t-spewing Hit-Girl, so Moretz, this one’s yours to lose.
So, will it suck?
No. It’s hard to say that any remake is not going to suck, but even if this movie hits half as good as the original, it’s going to be leaps and bounds above any of the vampire movies that have come out in the past 10 years. Plus, judging by the seeming shot-for-shot recreation by Reeves, it appears he’s remained true to the original. Now I know how awful a shot-for-shot recreation can be –no need to remind me – and as with the aforementioned Vanishing, even bringing the same director on board for the Hollywood remake can end in complete disaster. But what The Vanishing did wrong was to completely change the ending, and it’s clear that Hollywood is going to have their grubby hands on Let Me In, however I have hopes that Moretz and Reeves can carry through with only minor bumps and scrapes. Read my lips: the studio will speed the pacing up for American audiences, and there will definitely be a couple of the more conventional Hollywood scares conspicuously added in, but on a marquee of American vampire movies, Let Me In will stand out amongst the jumble of teenage schlock that they’ve been shamelessly handing us lately.