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Let It Be, the definitive Let Me In review

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Mark Kermode | 15:26 UK time, Friday, 12 November 2010

Lest there remain scinitillae of doubt in your minds, be assured that howsoever your natural human curiosity compels you there is not a single reason to be found for seeking out and watching Let Me In, the English-language remake of Tomas Alfredson's Kermode Award-winning Let the Right One In.

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  • Comment number 1.

    The important thing is that the remake is done well enough that people who do not like foreign language films will get to experience the story. To say that the original is a story about children that happened to feature vampires, and the remake is a vampire film that happens to have children, hey, it's a good line, but it isn't true. I went to see Let Me In just for the sneer, to see how badly they had bungled it (a la Ringu and The Ring) but was relieved and impressed at how well it had been remade. It's a genuine remake, the heart and soul of the original is present, so what are you complaining about? Even the CGI is restrained by Hollywood standards, although Abby did look like a bloodthirsty Gollum in the first sequence. I agree that things that are hinted at in the original are spelled out too obviously at times in the remake, but somehow, my enjoyment survived this. You sound more concerned about the audience this is aimed at (people who don't like foreign language films) than the integrity of the story in the remake, Mark. Silly man.

  • Comment number 2.

    I have seen the remake and the original. And to respond to those people who say: 'what if I haven't seen the original, will I get anything out of it?' The answer is no because actually it's a very disappointing film as a whole. Because Reeves wants to distance himself from the original in some areas he incorporates the idea of the detective, which becomes too heavily involved in the plot. In the original you had the town drunks who were beautifully woven into the main storyline and tension between Oskar and Eli. Here the detective's discovery takes away so much from that love story between, this time Owen and Abby, that the film becomes a muddled mess and is not sure which story to tell.

    As a result all the subtle, romantic moments from the original have to be spelled out to the audience which is toe curling and uncomfortable. If there is one point where it improves or matches the original it is in the performance of Richard Jenkins, who tries to add pathos to a bad script, he is the only subtle thing about this film which otherwise feels the need to point at every emotion with a large neon sign. He's a great actor, the film is not very good.

    If there is a reason for it to exist, it is to turn those who haven't seen the original to go and seek it out. Other than that it is entirely pointless.

  • Comment number 3.

    I haven't seen Let The Right One In, but I have just bought the DVD a little later.

    I saw Dr. K. at the Cheltenham Lit Festival and he mentioned that he wasn't interested in casual film criticism and used Let The Right One In/Let Me In as an example - that is, he's not really interested in anyone's opinion on Let Me In unless they've seen the original, and I agree with him completely. A remake, more often than not, nullifies the context of the original and to not see the original is effectively to miss half of the movie.

  • Comment number 4.

    Dr. K.,

    In the same way that you are concerned about Let Me In, I am concerned about the remake of Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. I think the Swedish original was intelligent and elegant. The only primary flaw seems to be that it was a great movie not filmed in English.

    Why is it that when a great film is not made in English, Hollywood feels a need to churn out a copy that is? Quite frankly, the idea of having Daniel Craig running around attempting a Swedish accent (which will inevitably make everything he says sound like "bork") does not impress me.

    The way I see it, Hollywood's remakes of non-English films is just a steam-rollering of local film industries and is a poor practice born out of a lack of originality in the mainstream industry.

    Dr. A.

  • Comment number 5.

    I haven't seen the remake so I direct this question to those who have:

    In the original, there is a very uncomfortable moment in which you see Eli's private parts as she gets dressed in Oskar's house: the camera lingers on it for at least 2 seconds, but it's quite clear. Indeed, there is a subtle and unspoken sexual tension between Eli and Oskar, but it's dealt with so well and so delicately. (The moment Eli and Oskar share a bed springs to mind though it could have other innocent undertones of belonging, loneliness).

    Considering that we are dealing with young children in this film, I was just wondering if there is anything so hard-edged as this moment in the remake. Would I be correct in deducing it was a sanitised Americanised retelling, with all the hard edges blunted? If so then it is indeed pointless.

  • Comment number 6.

    Hi Mark,
    I agree wholeheartedly with everything I’ve just listened to.
    I first heard about Let the Right One In about two/three years ago through a Swedish girl I was flat sharing with. Let Me In first came to my attention while I was browsing through this years London Film Festival catalogue. I got about three sentences into the review when the word re-make came up. My eyes rolled, I thought pointless, I’m not interested and there is no good reason for Let the Right One In to be remade and when onto read other reviews of original films. People justify re-makes of foreign language films into the English language by saying “oh, but more people will know about the original and therefore it gets more publicity.” Wrong! Many more people might hear about the original but the top and bottom of why this film (and many others before it) are remade in the first place is because people are (a) lazy and (b) will not give anything that’s a bit different from what they are used to a chance. Take for example Mostly Martha (the German language original) a perfectly fine film, absolutely nothing wrong with it. But it was remade (in English) starring Catherine Zeta Jones. I didn’t see the re-make (and if I’m honest can’t even remember the name they gave it) the carbon copy front cover picture on the DVD made it look like a ghastly parody and I had the same response to this as I had to Let Me In. My point is, the biggest reason I won’t be seeing Let Me In is for the same reason, I’m not interested because it’s just not interesting.

  • Comment number 7.

    I don't think Let the Right One In was actually a film about children, who happened to be vampires, I think it was a film about a child and a vampire. It was wonderful, but in a creepy and frightening way. For me there was a distinction between the two characters, and Eli was as much a seducer as Dracula, tempting Oskar over to her side. And in the end, when you realise Oskar is doomed to the same fate as Håkan, the film did feel like classic horror. I'm sure Eli was lonely, but that just makes her all the more scary, as she's prepared to steal away little boys to keep her company! Great film though, I'm glad Hammer is back but I doubt I'll bother watching this remake

  • Comment number 8.

    I've seen 'Let the Right One In' and I loved it. I have no intention of seeing the remake. Ever.

  • Comment number 9.

    Ha ha. I still liked it okay.

    Though honestly, given a choice, I wouldn't watch either.

  • Comment number 10.


    Though honestly, given a choice, I wouldn't watch either.


    Come on. If you are going to blithely assert that "Possession" is about divorce, you are going to have to do better than that about LTROI. Explain yourself! :-)

  • Comment number 11.

    I did a silly thing on first watching Let The Right one in. I'd had an awful week at work,I was tired,irritable, and watched it late on a Friday evening when my mind set was not where it should have been, hence I didn't quite get to grips with it first time around.However that was soon put to rights on a second viewing,and as a result I have absolutely no desire to see the English language re-make. Though I have to say I thought Kodi Smit-McPhee was dynamite in The Road.Few re-makes really work, however I did enjoy The Hills have Eyes ...:-)

  • Comment number 12.

    Quite right, The Good Doctor. Quite right. This whole project has been utterly disrespectful from the outset. You want to honour the original? Then throw your marketing and distribution budget *behind* the original.

  • Comment number 13.

    I went to see the ramke this week and thought it was a real shame. I am a huge fan of the original and i have infact just bought my second copy of the dvd because of some rather nice new packaging it has come in.

    I am also however a huge fan of the book and when Matt Reeves promised some elements from the book which are very interesting my interest was raised from -1 to 1.

    I went to see it only to find out that those new elements were only perhaps 30 seconds long and all the things that worked were the same as the original, pepperd with some awful, awful CGI moments and missing a very important shot from the original i do not even consider it second best. If you want second best watch the original with dubbing.

  • Comment number 14.

    I watched Let The Right One In on Blu Ray this week. It's the third time I've seen the film (once in the cinema and twice at home) and during this most recent viewing it actually brought me to tears. It was one of the (many) scenes where Oskar simply raises his hand and presses it against his/a window. A gesture signifying the separation between his own world and that of Eli's; the separation between him and her, and to highlight his isolation and loneliness. A running theme analysed here:
    I am yet to see Let Me In, but remain doubtful that it can equal such moments of understatement and beauty.
    I understand that some folk may not be totally taken with subtitled movies, but surely the location of the original movie plays a large part in it's otherworldlyness (for want of a better word).
    Can anyone confirm where Let Me In is based?

  • Comment number 15.

    Hollywood is the real vampire, leeching ideas from the past and other cultures instead of trying them out themselves. They don't understand that its foriegness is part of why it works, like when we got to see all those Japanese ghost stories through Western eyes a few years ago. The original was set in a place where it looked like this kind of thing could actually happen.

  • Comment number 16.

    You'd think people would have learnt their lesson with the Ring remake. It's my own fault, I went in with an open mind but just like The Ring, Let Me In just doesn't match up and manages to cock up the final set piece in the swimming pool. I'm not angry just disappointed.

  • Comment number 17.

    Maybe it's time us Brits got involved. How about an English version loosely based upon the US version, but now set in the East end of London? Sign Ritchie up for directorial duties and.. bosh! Let the 'Awight One In.

  • Comment number 18.

    @Joel: Sorry, I just meant that, while I didn't think either version was terrible and the overall premise was interesting, neither made me feel like I'd ever have need to see them again.

    I can understand the whole thing about LTROI fans falling to their knees and screaming GRAAAAAAAAAAHHHH UNNECESSARY!!! but honestly, I don't really care that the remake happened as I was never really attached to the original to begin with. I found the remake perfectly watchable, there were things about it that worked a lot better for me and things that worked worse. But in the end, while both were decent distractions, I basically forgot about them after. Crotch shot or no crotch shot. :P

    I agree with Mr_Jellyfish though, that Let the Right One in is a film about a child and a vampire, not about children. Never did I get the impression that Eli was just a child, so I think Kermode is wrong in that regard.

  • Comment number 19.

    Knowing how much Mark loved the original Swedish masterpiece, I was really looking forward to this review!
    In a way, it's all rather predictable, but sometimes predictability is good and makes you feel safe.
    Here is my review by the way:

  • Comment number 20.

    Dear Mark

    Stop comparing. It's like someone who gets a new girlfriend and can't help but constantly compare her to the old one. It doesn't matter whether he thinks she was better: WE NEED TO KNOW HOW GOOD THIS ONE IS IN RELATION TO ITSELF AND NOTHING ELSE.

    Your dislike for it seems to come from the fact that it's a remake. it's fine to say 'Let Me In is good, but Let the Right One In is so much better, and if you had to pick one to watch then i feel the original is definitely the one to go for' but to not even admit to the merits of the remake/re-imagining/retelling of the new version is to demean a fine film that, whilst being derivative (a negative, sure), is nowhere NEAR as bad as what you're making it out to be.

    You say that some scenes are shot for that is somehow enough to destroy the integrity of a film? Take the remake of psycho. A film that is considered a classic and was remade virtually shot for shot. Was it good? No. It was god awful. Showing that a remake, even if it is shot for shot, can be dire. So criticising Let Me In on an account of this does not stand in the slightest.

    You sound blighted by personal offence, and that as a result you want people to find it almost tasteless?

    When there is such dross out there a film crafted as beautifully as Let Me In is a good way to spend two hours of our precious time. I'm aware that i just made a comparison; but only to express a preference. Not to cement a dislike.

  • Comment number 21.

    I think you're underselling the film in some ways Dr. K. I won't deny that it's got its problems, but there are still good things in it, not the least of which are the terrific performances from the two leads.

  • Comment number 22.

    I think Peter Bradshaw's review put my view pretty succinctly - "A very good film, slightly overpraised, has been remade as a slightly good film, very overpraised".

    I disagree with Mark in saying Let Me In is a film "with children" as opposed to Let The Right One In. It's a good line for a newspaper review, but I really don't agree. The closest Let Me In came to being scary was during scenes of child bullying. I thought the film was fine. Interesting (if mostly, unoriginal) in its direction, it's nice to see Elias Koteas getting work, it was perfectly passable...all apart from the diabolically badly-staged vampire attacks, which belonged in a completely different film. The CGI was awful, the sensationalism completely out of place, and they had NOTHING to do with the central plotline. Although having said that, I'd be hard-pressed to explain how crucial they are to Let The Right One In...


    I did find the moral ambiguity (if that is the right word) more troubling in Let Me In than Let The Right One In. It made me think about the idea of the film as a fairytale, a cautionary story, and how unfortunate it is that, because of the 'realism' and depth of believability to cinema, audiences are less likely to realise the film is such a tale. Eli/Abby's advice to "hit back...hard" is NOT the answer to a bullied child's problems, but it's through doing this that the chain of events is put into play which allows the fantastical external influence (Eli/Abby) to defend Oskar/Owen to, in the end, teach him that violence is not the answer, it is something we must grow up past.

    But then....she (though 'she' is of course not a girl) uses those same means to defend the boy. This is true of both films, and something which I only got to really questioning after seeing Let Me In. It may be that I'm missing something, it may be that the film is in fact a meditation on another facet of childhood, but it really bothered me. I didn't quite understand what I'm meant to leave the film feeling. There's a tragedy about it, a sense of loss about Oskar/Owen's initiation into the vampire world, made so clear by the hollowness of her previous caretakers' face. Any suggestions are more than welcome, natch.


    However I must say I totally agree with the mention of those MORONS who feel the need to pointlessly ask "well what if you saw this first?" because as you say, it's just a COMPLETELY NULL POINT. It hasn't happened like that, so there. It annoys me the same way the book vs film debate does. They are different, get over it, take them on their own terms and leave me alone.

    P.S. I was at Mark's book talk at Warwick Arts Centre this evening and you were goodly enough t'sign my copy of the BFI Exorcist book right at the end of the night. Much obliged!


  • Comment number 23.

    Just had to append my previous comment, which has an aggravating non-sequiter concerning why I think Let Me In is about children just as much as Let The Right One In.

    I wrote that the scariest scenes were of child bullying as praise for the film. I think they're carried out well and the difference in Owen from Oskar in LTROI was interesting. He's less vicious or snipey, more apathetic and fearful this time around, and I think he was an involving character.

    My point with slagging off the vampire attacks was that they were SO at odds with the meditation on childhood brutality that it was horribly jarring. It was like flicking between two channels on TV, one with a sensitive family drama, the other showing 30 Days of Night.

  • Comment number 24.

    the lack of ambiguity in 'let me in' seemed clear from it's trailer... think there's a line cut into it where someone says something like, "...this isn't just a recent thing, it's been going on for a very long time..." and this was only ever implied as an ongoing / regenerative situation in 'let the right one in'. there's also a school assembly sequence in 'let me in' that lays the jeopardy to be found in the local community now there's a killer on the loose that i can't remember an equivalent for.

    therein, maybe, lies the main problem i'd personally have (and might predict others could have also had) that it takes a lot of memory to keep a grasp on the details of the one film - especially hard with subtitles, adaptive and difficult to keep up with at time, despite most of what i personally watch being subbed - and maybe it's also the case for many of the reviewers who've tried to compare the two, that it is hard to grasp the detail and subtleties in one film, let alone spot them in two, enough to compare them accurately. i only get a sense that the original is better, not because it's foreign, but just because it's smarter.

  • Comment number 25.

    I will NEVER EVER watch Let Me In, it would be like trading in your 10 year old car for a 10 and a bit year old car. And if you're the kind of person who would give up so much quality and enjoyment because you can't be bothered to read subs then you most likely won't be reading this, so there's no point thinking of an insult.

  • Comment number 26.

    I think this is pretty unfair.
    I agree that 'Let The Right One In' wasn't a film that needed to be remade, however, I feel that Reeves has done an excellent job with 'Let Me In'.

    Now before people start ripping my head off, let me explain:

    For starters, if 'Let Me In' wasn't pretty much a shot-by-shot remake, more people would have complained about it. I utterly adored 'Let The Right One In', and I know that if this movie went off on it's own silly American tangent, I would have been livid.

    Secondly, whether everyone thinks this is good or not, 'Let Me In' is giving so much more publicity to it's older brother. I sure most people have seen the original but for those who haven't, I think seeing this movie will prompt them to see it and maybe even read the novel.

    Thirdly, the casting is brilliant. Moretz is easily one of 2010's best actresses and she gives an honest and faithful performance that echoes Lina Leandersson's Eli beautifully.

    And finally, it's actually a very decent remake. Hammer have given it more gloop and gore but it's still a haunting and lovely movie. Most Horror remakes (I know 'Let The Right One In' isn't really a ‘Horror’ movie before more people bark at this) are usually terrible, I mean look at Nic Cage's 'The Wicker Man' or Gas Van Sant's 'Psycho'; those remakes have damaged the originals, whilst I believe 'Let Me In' has done the opposite, I think it's a doorway for more narrow-minded people to watch a foreign film, which surely can only be a good thing right?

    I loved 'Let Me In' and I think it deserves it's praise.

  • Comment number 27.

    Let Me In does not match the original but it is far from the terrible Hollywood version that lovers of the original feared. As has been noted, the CGI is terrible, the climactic scene is botched and the detective story is a nonsense but the makers have clearly tried to keep the tone and pacing of the original and the performances of the young leads are excellent.

    In terms of the themes, it caused me to more deeply consider the fate of the young male who is apparently drawn in to a life of mutual dependency with an immortal vampire.

    More generally, I can't take any moral highground when it comes to remakes as I prefer The Departed to Infernal Affairs - an astonishing opinion to many.

  • Comment number 28.

    I liked the new version. I think it has been done with a rare of respect and care, and I also think it is beautifully photographed. I also liked the old one as well and I believe it can be picked up in various supermarkets for about £5. Maybe it's more obvious where the original was more subtle, and yes, the CG is a bit dodgy in places. But it's not a desecration. The two can exist side by side and I couldn't let my admiration for the first lead me to neglect the perfectly good second. LTROI isn't a Sacred Text that Shall Not Be Faffed Around With, any more than the original novel was.

    My review, if anyone cares, is here:

  • Comment number 29.

    @Stephen Glass

    I liked all the points you made. Very articulate and insightful. However at the end you said 'take them on their own terms and leave me alone' and i think this gets to the root of the problem with criticising Let Me In against the backdrop Let The Right One In. If someone came along and said 'both are rubbish, the book was better' all of us, including Dr K, would be outraged too!

  • Comment number 30.

    I felt the difference between the two films is that the remake is the more exciting viscerally while the original is the more interesting intellectually. Which you prefer will depend on what you want from the film at the time you see it.

    The "father" ambiguity, the gender "twist", the scenes with the neighbours and the more distant style probably make the original the better film. Unfortunately, I felt totally detached from the characters throughout the film and came out feeling cold and mildly disappointed. Until seeing the remake I had forgotten most of the story so little was my involvement with it.

    In contrast, after a dodgy first half hour of the remake where it took some time to establish itself as its own film, I was much more entertained by it - Chloe Moretz was easier to like as the girl vampire (partly due to the excising of the various ambiguities) and the amping up of all the action aspects made for a more exciting (albeit more vacuous) film. I came out feeling much more satisfied despite being very apprehensive about seeing it as most remakes are far worse than the original.

    It may well be to do with a difference of expectations - seeing a highly praised film which doesn't live up to your preconceptions despite being good is worse than seeing a film which you go into dreading and end up being entertained.

  • Comment number 31.

    It's true, Let Me In could well be fantastic. I wouldn't know as I've not seen it. The issue is why it has been made and on that front I wholeheartedly agree with the good doctor. I feel equally strongly about the upcoming remake of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, one of my favourite films from the last few years. But here's the thing; is this just a case or 'too soon'? Remakes of years old films are inevitably handed a change of context which makes them different enough to at least tolerate their presence, even if they don't live up to the heights of the original. Let Me In does come across as a highly cynical creation because of its proximity to Let The Right One In, not to mention the producers expectation that people will no longer be scared off by actors speaking in funny languages, but if the film had been made ten years from now would we be so hard on it?

  • Comment number 32.


    You say 'amping up of all the action aspects made for a more exciting (albeit more vacuous) film'.

    Everyone seems to be obsessed with this word: subtlety. As somehow something being subtle is ALWAYS going to be far better. I don't see anything wrong with something being amped up if it produces an effect that is appropriate for the subject matter? You even said it was more exciting...and then in a moment of almost catholic style guilt immediately chastise yourself for it by labelling that excitement as vacuous! I think people need to let go of that word...subtle. And not lean on it too much as a means of showing that something unsubtle is rubbish, or at least deficient in some way. I thought Let Me In was just as fragile and still as Let The Right One In and even the more 'action' moments were MINUTELY more grandiose than it's predecessor.

    SPOILER: e.g. the in-the-car car crash wasn't exactly a squealing wrenching slow motion affair with a Michael Bay tilting swirling camera doing 360's around it whilst rock music plays.

  • Comment number 33.


    I've been a bit unclear here - I didn't mean that the more exciting action directly made the film worse, but rather that what I got from the film overall was more excitement but less to think about once it was over.

    To take the most obvious example, the clearing up of the "father" ambiguity left less to ponder about in this regards afterwards if you wanted to. There are other things to think about in the remake, for example the newly introduced moral dilemma in Abby's preying on neighbours who we don't know. However, these are issues raised in other films too, for example the Korean movie Thirst also, amongst other things, explored the the issue of preying on random strangers in order to live, while I don't think those in LTROI are so common.

    On both an action and thought-provoking this certainly sits far closer to LTROI than any Michael Bay film, but while these two properties should not be inverses they sadly too often are. I personally tend to prefer films on this end of the subtlety scale to the action heavy end, so perhaps my unconscious "catholic guilt" is my surprise at slightly preferring the more action heavy remake to the original!

  • Comment number 34.

    @ brightonrock.

    I'm actually going to completely turn on my point of "take them on their own terms and leave me alone", which is me being far too glib about this point. I'm not someone who can often do this, as it's near-impossible to not see a film out of any context (the star's/director's past, the film's ancestors) but what annoys me is the state fans of an original (film, book, whatever) get themselves into without SEEING the new piece of work. It's ridiculously closed minded and intolerant. Kermode is fine to compare the film to the original, because he's had the courtesy to see both. I think the issue is aggravated if it's a book-to-film translation, because they are different artforms. But when people become so hardline that one is better than the other they often forget the difference in storytelling. Understand that you're taking a text in in a massively different way. And THEN leave me alone.

    It's for this reason I'm not at all worried about Fincher's Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Yes, I'm a big fan of the original. But David Fincher is someone I regard very highly, I can see aspects of the book which could say interesting things about American culture as opposed to Swedish - the central idea of capitalist power-structures and its infectious misogyny and neanderthal-ism is universal, but could make for a scathing satire on American imperialism. Just watch The Social Network again. Of the many themes it touches on, chauvinist power structures is most definitely one of them.

    I also think - having watched Fincher's The Game for the first time two nights ago - that it has the potential to be unbearably gripping, this even despite the fact that I'm likely to know what happens.

    One could find a discrepancy in Kermode's views about this (although with this final point I want to point out I'm kinda playing Devil's advocate). He was presumably NEVER looking forward to Let Me In. I'm sure he walked into it with as open a mind as he can. But the mind which named Let The Right One In best film of 2009 is going to be hard to clear in relation to the new film. But Kermode's expressed his excitement at Tinto Brass's 3D remake of Caligula (now called Who Killed Caligula?) and he's an avowed fan of the original.

    Is this because (and I'm sure this is the answer) the original is not a perfect, complete film and the new one could be the Caligula it was always meant to be? probably is actually. Remake the imperfect films, leave the good ones.

    Although I do disagree with that in some instances...but that's for another time.

  • Comment number 35.

    I've seen the original. No need for a remake. Read the book. One of the most challenging and harrowing books you'll ever read. Once you've done this you'll understand. All I can say is the hollywood casting are too healthy and clean looking.

  • Comment number 36.

    I concur with Dr K, here is my review

  • Comment number 37.

    @Stephen Glass

    Turn on your point of view?! NO!!! haha. No it's fine. I think you raise a point with saying that if you're going to criticise on the basis of comparison then you at least have to see both; you can't just say 'the original is better therefore the remake WILL be rubbish'. I does raise the issue of whether Dr K is being prejudiced and encouraging ignorance of a subject by telling everyone not to go and see it. If it was a film on par with something like Disaster Movie i would understand. But it's really not. It has artistic and entertainment merit in spades. And whilst it didn't fully exploit the fact that scenery change could allow different aspects of the same themes to be introduced it was, if we're being general, a good film.

    Agreed on the Fincher issue. But i feel Matt Reeves is a terrific talent and being that he handled Let Me In so well (which frankly, considering the hardcore fanbase of the original, was going to be a thankless task; the proof of which is happening right now) is testament to his ability to say something new. The criticism is then suppose is that it didn't say half as much as what we might have wanted it to. But that does not mean it's a terrible film. Which is what people seem to be rallying without giving it much thought.

    I essentially think we're in agreement.

    Considering you playing devils advocate: there is always the issue that someone will always bring their personal prejudices to the table. Dr K for example is fond of a lot of shmaltzy stuff that would normal people reach for the 'refund button'. I can't recall how many reviews i've listened to that have gone...

    ''It wasn't shot very well, it wasn't acted very well, the script is a bit twee, and some of the themes were a bit cliched....but...i felt myself welling up...and...well....i liked it!''

    Basically expressing that he KNOWS it's rubbish, but couldn't help but like it. We know this is prejudiced but we let it go because it contains nothing damaging as such. However you don't ever hear him say...

    'It was rubbish. I know it was shot well, acted well, scripted well, themed well...but...i didn't like it. Ergo. Rubbish'

    But with Let Me In...this appears to be happening, and it's a little disconcerting that someone of such high regard is trying to stop anyone from seeing something that is truly a good piece of work. It's an incoherently negative reaction in every sense and is a shame.

    It's fine to say a film is bad because it IS generally bad. But to say a film is bad when it is good? It's a step too far. Even for the self confessed 'i'm right' machine that is Dr K.

    This is a shambling unstructured rant. Apologies.

  • Comment number 38.


    The Departed IS better than Infernal Affairs :)

  • Comment number 39.

    I can't believe I am kinda quoting Barry Norman but, cough, er hum, Why do they insist on remaking films that were successful or simply great? What they should be doing is remaking films which were unsuccessful or simply rubbish and try to get it right the next time.

    If a film was good but can be improved upon and is improved upon, fair enough. However, why waste the time when there are so many great ideas in crappy films which are gagging to be done properly.

  • Comment number 40.

    Nobody has asked the obvious question "Why didn't they just dub the original" I know it's not an ideal solution but it is far more respectful.

  • Comment number 41.

    I am glad however to see Hammer back in the game :D

  • Comment number 42.

    Thanks for saving me the price of admission and the hell that is my local yoof orientated multiplex, Mark.

  • Comment number 43.


    in regards to:

    "It's fine to say a film is bad because it IS generally bad. But to say a film is bad when it is good? It's a step too far. Even for the self confessed 'i'm right' machine that is Dr K."

    I totally agree - In as much as I wouldn't agree with the definitive "it is good" sentiment, but I agree that Kermode hasn't discussed whether or not he thinks it's good or bad, just how pointless he deems it.

    THIS is where his criticism is inconsistent. Bear in mind 2009's Last House on the Left remake, which he reviewed much more evenly in relation to its qualities as a new film (he rightly criticised the stunningly stupid ending) and realised it had a different moral agenda....IN ADDITION TO pointing out the pointlessness of remaking it.

    Although considering that he pointed out the differences between the films morally, it's arguable how pointless the new film was.

  • Comment number 44.

    I just quickly want to say that you were fantastic at Warwick Arts Centre last night, and even though I had already read your book I still thought your tales were hilarious! So thank you for a wonderful evening.
    In regards to English language remakes - I have no intention of seeing Let Me In. I went to see Let The Right One In at the cinema when it was first released, and with the start of the dialogue two girls on the other side of the room shouted with horror: "No way! Is it subtitled!?"
    It upsets me that Hollywood will continue to remake films that show how talented the rest of the world is. For example, they threatened to remake Oldboy (a film I absolutely adore) and the thought of it is completely ridiculous. Most of the time, these films are fantastic as they are, and the only reason they will be remade is because Hollywood producers don't have to do anything. They just have to use someone else's ideas and release them to the mainstream.
    I love foreign cinema because each nation has its own individual style. If David Fincher decided to remake This Is England, it wouldn't be This Is England. It can't be.
    Basically I think the orginal films should be left alone and be watched because they equal incredible cinema. Obviously I am not looking forward to The Millenium Triology remakes. A foreign book translated into English, made into Swedish films, made into English language films with better looking people.

  • Comment number 45.


    Surely the idea of each nation having its own individual style gives remakes more reason to exist? Fincher directing an American adaptation of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo has the opportunity to look at it from an American mindset? It's not as if his production will destroy all memory of the original and stop it being a piece of Swedish national cinema. In fact - as many people have stated above - the existence of such a remake is likely to remind people of the original, not blind them to it.

    By this rationale we could be glib and say a film remade in its own country so soon is a pointless task. Maybe the film was just ahead of its time.

    I wouldn't agree with this is all cases though, because numerous films have been remade in their countries of origin years after the fact and made for great pieces of work.

    Carpenter remade The Thing From Another World! and both are good films, films of different times which have different relevance.

    Cronenberg remade The Fly (which yes, is Canadian, not American) but it's staggeringly good, a film of a new time.

    I can't remember my point...hopefully it's self-evident above.

  • Comment number 46.

    Haven't seen Let Me In yet although the clips which match the original scene for scene don't bode well. As Dr K put it a little heavy handedly on the radio, even if you can reproduce a perfect copy of the Mona Lisa, it doesn't make you as good an artist as Da Vinci. Saying that having looked forward to seeing the original for nearly a year beforehand I was slightly disappointed with it. In fact I also thought The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was rather overpraised, a decent thriller but no more than that, with Lisbeth an alienating rather than electrifying presence on the screen.

    And Dr K, yes we know the only reason Let Me In was made was to make money from the sad fact the majority of anglophone filmgoers refuse to watch subtitled films, but it was ever thus, and I can't help wondering if your clear irritation regarding Let Me In's very existence has clouded your judgement somewhat.

    However if there is one remake that makes my blood boil it is The Departed, the most overrated piece of plagiarism in film history, with a screenplay not so much adapted as directly translated. Indeed, it copies Infernal Affairs scene-for-scene, with the exception of predictably merging the love interests, adding a couple of superfluous characters (Winstone and Wahlberg)and a cop-out ending, while stripping out almost all of the moral complexity of the original. The fact that so many defend it I can only put down to snobbishness regarding Hong Kong Cinema and a reluctance to admit that a great director like Scorsese had stooped so low as to make a film with the same artistic merit as Gus Van Sant's version of Psycho.

  • Comment number 47.

    I agree with you on pretty much everything you've said so far

  • Comment number 48.

    I have to agree with Mark, there was no need to remake Let The Right One in but for a very different reason. The film was mediocre enough to begin with and should have been buried. Drab, dull and with poorly crafted characters I can only conclude that this fell into the category of films which are proscribed undeserved depth and class merely because they feature subtitles.

  • Comment number 49.

    I think Let The Right One In is the best film of the last 10 years. With that in mind, I went with a lot of reservations to see Let Me In, and thought it was simply okay. Mark is spot on when he says the best things about Let Me In, are those elements taken from Let The Right One In. I will say though, the two central leads,Kodi Smit-McPhee and Chloe Moretz, are very good indeed. But I have to agree with Mark, it is a remake that wasn't needed.

    But this does remind me of the whole [Rec]/Quarantine thing from last year. Quarantine was an almost shot-for-shot remake of [Rec] and yet somehow, it lost something in translation. [Rec] was terrifying. Quarantine only worked by copying it.

    This does not bode well for The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.

  • Comment number 50.

    I don't necessarily agree that this is somehow a harbinger of doom for the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo remake. After all it is directed by David Fincher, whose very adept at giving us fascinating crime dramas and is written by Steven Zaillian, a very good screenwriter (Schindler's List anyone?). Despite it being in my top 10 for 2010, GWTDT isn't perfect and because it is a more obviously generic piece with an more complex narrative there is always a very different way to attack that kind of twisty mystery-thriller material.

    I cite again Scorsese's remake of the Departed which took a complex narrative story and made its own by presenting it in an entirely new and fresh way albeit shifting the locale. So therefore a better comparison would be Wallander, which did a very good job of re-adapting that material but keeping it in the same locale just with English speaking actors.

    Just because Let Me In is bad doesn't mean the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo remake will be. In fact if anything GTWDT remake should only be compared with the LTROI remake on the fact that they are both Swedish novels. They are very different books/films and one of them is an easier nut to crack.

  • Comment number 51.

    @ Will Chadwick

    If Steve Zaillian wrote the catastrophically soulless and patronising ending to Schindler's List I won't be ranking him amongst my favourite screenwriters.

    I just wanted a dig at Schindler's List, there are never too many chances.

  • Comment number 52.

    @Stephen Glass
    Each to their own and I don't rank him among my favourite writers either, but he is good screenwriter.

  • Comment number 53.

    I think another thing that people aren't taking into consideration with the arguement towards the pointlessness of remaking a Swedish film in English is that this probably wasn't a movie made with film buffs in mind, it's more for the casual theater-goer. It's easy to scoff when you're discussing the matter on a website where everybody is pretty well-versed in world cinema, but in reality most of the people I know personally are far more concerned with making sure they still have a job and a house in two months than if they know who Tomas Alfredson is and whether the vampire movie at the local cineplex is in the proper language or not. Nor do I think that making sure they see that Swedish vampire movie right away should be a priority with them unless that concern is actually within their realm of interest. It would be like a car fanatic expecting me to be capable of identifying parts of an engine (I can't). Sad as it is to say, the entire world doesn't revolve around the comings and goings of film.

    Yes, Hollywood just remade the movie because they thought they could profit off of it, everybody knows they are a business with no artistic integrity, it's a pointless movie to watch if you love the original, yadda yadda. But most people haven't and frankly I would much see general audiences offered a decent translation of a good foreign film than get fed another lukewarm Saw sequel or that Eat Pray Love garbage.

  • Comment number 54.

    I read the book, saw the Swedish movie and the remake. It was extremely difficult to watch the original and determine whether liked it or not because they left out so much of the 'explanations'. I was constantly filling in the gaps from the book that weren't onscreen. The big twist from the book is in the original film, but it's done in a way that anyone who hadn't read the book will even be aware of what they see onscreen (I never liked the twist anyway, though). The thing I was most disappointed about was that they completely cut out the 2nd half of the subplot involving Haaken, the helper (in both films). Instead his story ends when he falls from the hospital window and for me that removed most of the suspense in the book along with most of the horror aspect. I still liked the original, just not as much as the book.
    As far as the remake is concerned; although I didn't enjoy it as much as the subtitled version, it still had its moments and in a few instances even exceeded the original such as in the scene involving the spectacular first person car crash. They also left out the awful 'cat attack' scene which as the good Dr. mentioned, was one of the original film's biggest missteps. I didn't like the biggest change of the remake, which was the relationship between the vampire and the helper. The new version not only diverges from the original, but the book also. By inserting the filmmakers' idea about how they are connected, they drastically change the point of the film. The remake seems to be a story of innocence corrupted by evil, which I didn't get that idea from the original film or the book. I still liked it to some degree, though. There were some other new ideas that I think were well done such as never showing the boy's parents (or at least not in focus) to highlight their level of involvement in guiding him into adulthood.
    But for me, although I liked both films, neither deserved the kind of cult buzz that they've gotten ESPECIALLY from YOU. And to say that Let The Right One In was the best film of 2009 ... REALLY? It came out in 2008 anyway. That means you think it was a better film than The Dark Knight? The Band's Visit? Man On Wire? Slumdog Millionaire? In Bruges? Wall E? Or even in 2009... Crazy Heart? Up? The Road? District 9? The Fantastic Mr. Fox? The Hurt Locker? Moon? Avatar? Zombieland for God's sake? We all have our opinions, though... That's my 2 cents.

  • Comment number 55.

    I swear i recall you saying that you didn't like sorcerer, or had problems with it? Let me in is fine, see them both i say :D

  • Comment number 56.

    Crash Landen @ #58:

    LET THE RIGHT ONE IN was released in UK cinemas April 10, 2009. Regardless of the festival screenings it had in 2008 (which is indeed when I saw it), the UK release wasn't until several months later and so IS a 2009 release.

    And it IS a better film than The Dark Knight, The Road, District 9 and The Fantastic Mr Fox. Certainly it's miles better than In Bruges!

  • Comment number 57.

    That should have course have been Crash Landen @ #54, not #58. Slap.

  • Comment number 58.

    In the radio programme you compared seeing Let Me In instead of Let the Right One In (since the latter is unavailable in cinemas) to seeing a well made copy of the Mona Lisa (if the real one was unavailable). Well, I think we *should* see the well made copy of the Mona Lisa. In present days we all seem to have a fetish with authenticity, perfection, and originality, to the point that we don't care to see anymore whether something is actually good, but whether it's best or first.

    You have said yourself that when watching an adaptation (of a book) you interpret the film as a film, not as an adaptation. Is it so hard to do the same thing with remakes? Watch a remake as a film, not as a remake. And work on hypothetical thinking!

    On another note, I emphatically recommend you see "El hombre de al lado" (The Man Next Door). It's an amazingly good Argentinian film.

  • Comment number 59.

    Arg!!! What is wrong with all the other commenters! Saying things like:

    "The important thing is that the remake is done well enough that people who do not like foreign language films will get to experience the story." (Hoozle)


    "I think we *should* see the well made copy of the Mona Lisa." (Patricio)

    What b******s! Everyone is missing the point. There is a huge difference between Hollywood remaking a hugely successful foreign film like “Let The Right One In” a decade, or even just a few years later, or perhaps re-making a lesser well known foreign film that had an amazing story but was generally missed by the wider public, then there would be some merit in a remake, and remakes can be different, and interesting, better etc or even show a story from a different cultural perspective. But to remake a successful 'foreign' film the year after and, as Mr Kermode pointed out, keeping extremely close the tone of the original because the film makers are aware of why the original worked, it becomes;

    A) Lazy: pilfering ideas from other countries and cultures rather than coming up with their own new ideas (a huge problem with Hollywood studio films at the moment)

    B) Pointless (because it bring very little new to the new version) and therefore:

    C) Offensive to the people who worked hard to make the original a success by pandering to the people who want to "experience the story" but can't be bothered to rent/buy the DVD and/or read the subtitles.

    Let’s not forget that “Let the Right One In” got a reasonably wide theatrical release in this country. Films like “LTROI” and the “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” trilogy get international releases because the companies that make them (and the American studios that often distribute them internationally) realise that we are not living in the dark ages any more. A large number of people will pay to watch these films in the cinema, foreign films are more available then ever before, and it is therefore less necessary than ever before to remake successful foreign films in order to simply 'bring the story to the masses' in a highly patronising way rather than to try something new or different with the material.

    Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with going to the Tate to look at a cubist version of the Mona Lisa. (Sorry if that is a fairly ridiculous extension of the metaphor) I really love, for example, Gore Verbinski's version of the “The Ring.”

    But if you are still in doubt and really want to watch a good copy of the Mona Lisa go watch Gus Van Sant’s 1998 remake of “Psycho” to see fully what a misguided approach this is.

  • Comment number 60.

    @demolition99, concerning:

    "the people who want to "experience the story" but can't be bothered to rent/buy the DVD and/or read the subtitles."

    I agree, but you can't deny that these people exist in their thousands and will keep paying for these films.

    D'you think that if we didn't have films like Let Me In this side of the audience would in time come around to seeing the Let The Right One Ins of cinema?

    (I ask that genuinely, it's not rhetorical).

  • Comment number 61.

    What a suprise...its's Gus Van Sant's Psycho all over again except most of the press clearly haven't seen the original.

    Thought the Let The Right one was overhyped like A Prophet anyway.

  • Comment number 62.

    @demolition99: I agree with the overall sentiment that the studios should do more original material and that it would be nice if more people watched subtitled films, but there is really only a small fraction of the population that is actually interested in watching films that either haven't been widely advertised or don't feature familiar stars. The friend I went to see Let Me In with didn't even know any of the films that were playing the evening we went, we just chose one off of the marquee when we got there. The only reason she picked Let Me In was because it has Hit Girl in it. It's not because she's stupid, in fact she's an obscenely intelligent person, but film is a much more casual thing to her. Most people when they go to the pictures just want to go with something safe and familiar that they can have a good time with.

    Obviously, it would be lovely if the studios would push foreign films more. The big success Pan's Labyrinth had makes me believe that people will go out to see foreign films if given the incentive to do so. Currently they aren't and we have Let Me In which, while being sort of an average film is still a perfectly respectable translation that doesn't butcher its source. Is this really worth getting an ulcer over? The original still exists, people can still watch it. Mainstream audiences get a decent film and most of the world forgets this ever happened in three months anyway.

  • Comment number 63.

    I agree with Mark's chief complaints about the English-language remake of Alfredson's outstanding "Let the Right One In" and will only add one additional, and I think obvious objection to it: if you have seen the original, it is clear that no *other* actress could possibly match the tentative, delicate, and vulnerable urgency of Lina Leandersson in the role, without which the movie doesn't work. It is what helps to create the unspoiled ambivalence and anticipation of late childhood and is the reason Mark is also right to say that this is a movie about children, one of whom happens to be a vampire. You cannot bear close witness Lina's performance and come away thinking she is anything other than what she says she is: the heart and mind of a 12-year-old trapped in the body of an aged vampire. I haven't the slightest interest in seeing the remake, and take the main motive for making it (besides money) as one more reason to think people who can't bring themselves to read subtitles are thereby disqualified from commenting on world cinema. Their opinions count exactly as much as the musical tastes of the deaf.

  • Comment number 64.

    Let The Right One In is far superior to Let Me In, however Let Me In, is far superior to 95% of the big budget horror movies we've been subjected to recently.

    Whilst it would be brilliant if everyone went to see Let The Right One In, in reality many won't, yet in seeing Let Me In they are seeing a far better movie to what they would otherwise be watching.

    Also the fact that Let Me In has caused you to leave this video, and that countless reviews for it are giving a large amount of praise to Let The Right One In, will surely mean that more people will see it, which can only be a good thing.

  • Comment number 65.

    It's come to my attention that the link to my review doesn't work for some peeps so I'm posting the whole thing here:
    Meh! I’m a bit miffed with Mark Kermode as he’s pipped me to the post! Listening to his review of Let Me In on Film Review today was like listening to my own thoughts on the movie being read out loud! I should have typed up this review and published it earlier, it’s my own fault! Anyway, here are my thoughts, for they are my own regardless of how it may appear!
    I’d like to get one thing out there before we start, I loved Let the Right One In. It is a completely original, creepy, and wonderful allegorical piece, with some fine acting from it’s young stars. So why has Hollywood deemed it necessary to remake such a good movie and on its coat tails to boot? It appears that our American cousins are reluctant to read subtitles, and Hollywood feels it has to pander to this stubborness so its citizens can partake of a good story (and a as a rather handy bi-product, they can rake in some cash as well). Arguments for and against quick remakes aside, Let Me In is not a bad movie, but it’s not that good either.
    In an ideal world for director Matt Reeves, Let the Right One In would not exist. This way his movie would be allowed to make some kind of impact. Unfortunately for him this is not the case and watching Let me In is rather like watching a very poor imitation of something rather wonderful. Scenes that had a shocking impact in Let the Right One In are rendered impotent by their familiarity in Let Me In, leaving the viewer with a sense of deflation.
    One of the creepiest and most disturbing scenes in the orginal, that of Eli licking blood from the floor and fleetingly appearing old and decrepit, is horrendously botched by Reeves, with a Hollywoodized, contact-lensed Chloe Moretz hissing and fleeing the scene. The parts that do work better are facimiles of the original movie, and yet they are still somehow not quite as good. Chloe Moretz and Kodi Smit Macphee are both wonderful young actors and ones to watch, they do their very best, but even this is not enough.
    One very obvious difference with Let Me In is the paring down of scenes of adult interaction. This is a big mistake, as the scenes focusing on just the two young leads talking to each other are so slow and quiet that they can become tedious if not broken up by the more fast paced scenes of the adults looking for their missing friend. Scene after scene of Abby and Owen talking quietly accompanied by a slow piano score eventually become a bit repetitive and one longs for something more exciting to happen.
    **possible spolier alert**
    It appears in the rewrite it was deemed that the audience need to be spoonfed certain plot elements too. The scene where Owen finds a strip of photographs of Abby with a young boy (who is clearly meant to be her guardian as a child) is a classic example of this. I may be remembering this wrong (and please correct me if I am) but I remember no such scene in the original.
    **end of spoliers**
    For all it’s faults (and all the questions as to whether it should have been made in the first place) it is still a more thoughtful horror than most and a fairly enjoyable piece of work. If the original did not exist I may be inclined to think a lot more of it. On the whole though I would much rather you take my advice and Let the Right One In.

  • Comment number 66.

    Let Me In isn't out in Germany yet, so I can't really judge its worth. But it will be interesting to see how it fares over here: both Let Me In and Let The Right One In will be films dubbed into German so, essentially, German audiences will be asked to shell out twice for the same film, rendering the remaking of a fairly successful film when it first came out, rather ridiculous.

    I don't think Germany is the only country that dubs foreign language films (i.e. any film that isn't German from their perspective). It therefore begs the question, whether there is actually any economic rationale behind remaking non-English-language films, given that the World Market is responsible for an ever increasing share of a film's revenues and if a vast amount of countries dub English-language films anyway.

    American studios should really focus on filming original material or, as has already been mentioned above, remaking bungled films that could have been so much better.

  • Comment number 67.

    ...someone needs to invent some sort of subtitling or translation tool for cinemas so that it's less effort for idiots to watch foreign films. dubbed films irritate the hell out of me and remakes are basically mental redubs - Let the Right Dummy In. It really irritates me that this film was even made, such was my enjoyment of the first film. When I was younger, I never watched any foreign films, but once you've made the effort to get through the first few it get's progressively easier to read and watch simultaneously - it takes practise just like anything else. I now mainly watch foreign films, simply because Euro directors tend to have the best ideas about creating cliche free dialogue and realistic elements which enhance the appreciation of the fictional elements i.e. I can lose myself more easily in the viewing experience. The most immersed I've been in any film recently was last year, watching Haneke's The White Ribbon, and I don't speak a word of German. genius film.

  • Comment number 68.

    ...funny how studios will invest all that money trying to get people used to 3D, while directors and audiences are lukewarm towards it, yet they make no effort to try and get people used to the idea of non-english dialogue, thereby encouraging people to deprive themselves of some of the greatest films ever made. It almost as if they are intimidated by the idea that Hollywood is dying...

  • Comment number 69.

    I think you're all missing the point.

    Imagined conversation between producers of Let Me In:

    Producer 1: I think we could make a decent amount of money remaking this product.
    Producer 2: But what would be the point? Where's the artistic integrity?
    Producer 1: I said - I think we could make a decent amount of money remaking this product.
    Producer 2: Oh, right you are.

    That's what it boils down to. As long as it returns a profit then the financiers couldn't give a rat's arse about any artistic point whatsoever.

    And you know what? I don't blame them. If they'd asked me to direct it I would have said "hell, yeah".

    I don't love LTROI as much as Mark. I'm probably more disturbed by Eli's frank exploitativeness than Mark appears to be. As Oskar becomes more involved with Eli we know that he is making a pact that is likely to end with his doom. For me the final scene is incredibly sad as Oskar throws his fate in with Eli. Will she care for him? Only so long as it serves her needs. I think Oskar has exchanged one kind of abuse for another. For me it's like watching the naive farm girl escape the strictures of her limited environment by marrying a wife beater. Yes, he might escape a stultifying and soul destroying environment but what price is Oskar ultimately going to pay?

    I find it sort of interesting that no-one has commented on the interpretation of Eli being the ultimate pansexual succubus who drains adult men of their life blood and who should be a threat for Oskar to overcome rather than being seen as some sort of rescuer of him.

  • Comment number 70.

    I’ll be honest, cinema (especially world cinema) are a huge part of my life has been from the first time I watched the Iranian film “The Runner” late one night on Channel Four when I was about 10 years old, I’m now 28. That said I’m no film snob and would never refer to a person who doesn’t watch foreign films idiotic or stupid. It goes back to my previous point about people been lazy and wanting what’s there only if it’s presented on a plate to them, it boils down to people not actively seeking anything out for them selves. This coupled with the production companies’ and distributors unwillingness to take a chance on what they think will be a monetary risk means that the good element of culture will always exist, but unfortunately a lot of what is good doesn’t have the budget or the backing to be widely promoted and remains under the radar. Let The Right One In being remade as Let Me In is the exact same as classic songs been rehashed on Saturday night talent shows, which is just the mass churning out of musical cheeseburgers. In other words, Let Me In is just the fast food equivalent to cinema going, a way of mass money making with inferior in quality products and to be consumed by thousands in a few easy to digest bites.

  • Comment number 71.

    Let the Right One In was superb. Watched it for free on, worth the money. It's a great film, had two fantastic young actors. I will aviod the remake.

  • Comment number 72.

    I am a little disappointed that people seem to be very one way or the other when it comes to remakes. Surely every film should be judged on it's own merit... I haven't seen Let Me In yet, however I did see LTROI and really enjoyed it - I'm excited to see if the remake stacks up.

    Not sure why so many people disliked the remake of Psycho, I quite enjoyed it. What about Cape Fear, I adore the remake - a classic in it's own right.

    As for foreign language films, they are simply a film in another language and should be judged for what they are... Films...

    The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was run of the mill in my opinion, much like Inspector Morse or Bergerac. I hope the remake will inject some intelligence and excitement. I watched it in original language, and also saw it dubbed for one of my friends who didn't want to see subtitles. It turns out that the magic of another language made it seem a lot more intelligent than it actually was.

    Make a remake and I'll watch it if I'm interested.

  • Comment number 73.

    The point about the money doesn't stack up - if it was purely a consideration of money, you could easily find an american writer who would produce a similar vampire kid tale, dumbed down and in english for what they perceive as their 'target market', and without the added cost of buying out the remake rights and naming rights. They wouldn't have any royalties to pay on DVD sales either.

    Similarly, Spanish is only slightly behind English in terms of how widespread the language is used - so why do they not make a hispanic Let The Right One In, if it is simply a matter of making money? It clearly has a cultural element to it - something is not significant unless it has been done in English - until then it is 'obscure', 'specialist', only for the World Cinema fans - this film propoganda basically cuts off enjoyable film experiences from a wide section of the public. And people who know that there are perfectly good foreign films out there, but continue with this fetishistic obsession with the English language are idiots - I don't see why that would be an extreme position to take - surely the idea that films are only good in English is more extreme?

    What really pisses me off about hollywood is that it's NOT just about money. It's about monopoly. They can't recognise that Swedes have produced probably the best vampire film of the last few years - they have to try and appropriate it and claim it as their own. They have to try and produce a film that they hope will go into the 'Best Film' category at the Golden Globes or Oscars, while 1000s of perfectly good films are squeezed into a 'foreign film' category, like some sort of wierd curiosity. English speaking people simply do not make the best films - films are the same across the world, of more or less equal value - there are duff ones and genius ones and everything in between, in every language, including English. So let's have a bit more cinema availability for all notable films please, regardless of language - as it becomes accepted as the norm (as it already is for people in some non-english speaking countries) it will become increasingly profitable. There's no absolute rules about what makes a bad remake, it's just the general pattern that this fits into that irritates me.

  • Comment number 74.

    was thinking about Alina's interpretation of the story:
    "I'm probably more disturbed by Eli's frank exploitativeness than Mark appears to be. As Oskar becomes more involved with Eli we know that he is making a pact that is likely to end with his doom. For me the final scene is incredibly sad as Oskar throws his fate in with Eli. Will she care for him? Only so long as it serves her needs. I think Oskar has exchanged one kind of abuse for has commented on the interpretation of Eli being the ultimate pansexual succubus who drains adult men of their life blood... "

    -surely that's exactly why it is a classic vampire tale in the historical tradition of European stories about the undead? The vampire isn't a nullified, sensitive, trendy, anti-hero icon. Instead, the vampire is truely attractive to the audience as a seemingly sympathetic, sweet, troubled child and also very morally dubious or even evil, ruthless animal. Surely that's what Vampires are meant to be rather than their allegorial use in Mills and Boon romances. Tales of the undead usually are moral warnings with Faustian pacts historically, and similarly, the pre-Bram Stoker written stories often did contain dubious young female characters that were revealed as succubae. The removal of evil and difficult moral dilemnas from modern vampire tales is exactly why most of them are not scarey and why most of them have no grounding in the historical meaning of vampire tales over the centuries.

  • Comment number 75.

    Both brilliant in their own ways. LTROI is a bit more mature, LMI is a bit more bells and whistles, but they're both awesome.

  • Comment number 76.

    I probably will see Let Me In at some point; like most here I really admired and liked the Swedish original but, as with Infernal Affairs/The Departed, The Ring, Grudge, Nikita/The Assassin I don't have any real hopes that the remake will in any way equal or surpass the original.

    Hollywood is always short of ideas which is why it plunders world cinema and its own back catalogue.

    Most remakes/reboots (and sequels) are pointless cash-ins, but not all of them.

    Hammer's reboot of Dracula and Frankenstein in the 50's for example. Herzog's Bad Lieutenant POC, 12 Monkeys, The Thing, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Magnificent Seven, True Lies, The Fly and Fistful of Dollars/Yjombo were others that bucked the trend.

    I'm hopeful that the upcoming True Grit with Jeff Bridges will turn out halfway decent (though the only trailer I've seen for it looks dreadful) and I've read that Robin Hardy - the original Wicker Man director - has finished filming a follow-up to it, The Wicker Tree also with Chris Lee in the cast.

    Whether The Wicker Tree is a remake, a re-imagining, a sequel or something else remains to be seen (and as the Star Wars prequels or the 4th Indiana Jones movie show, going back to past hits can be a really, really bad idea), but it's got me curious and a little excited.

  • Comment number 77.


    I never said it wasn't lazy, or offensive. I get that. I just said that being offensive doesn't mean it isn't any good. In any case, I'm not planning on watching this film.

  • Comment number 78.

  • Comment number 79.

    I once made a plasticine Han Solo when I was a kid. I thought it looked just like him. I attempted to recreate his stance when he charges at the stormtroopers who flee on the Deathstar who then, a few seconds later, bump into an entire division down the hallway. Han was running with his blaster raised slightly and I thought it was fantastic. I was going to show it to my friends the next day. Later that evening my brother accidentally sat on it. He apologised and tried to wipe away my tears but I was inconsolable. He attempted to remake it. Being eight years older and quite artistic he actually did a very good job. Even I thought it was more realistic and polished. I still thought my version had more heart as I knew Han Solo intimately having watched Star Wars 66 times before I was ten (a true but disturbing fact) but I appreciated his efforts.

    So, now to make a juxtaposition with remaking films. I can honestly say that I abhor 99% of all remakes. These days they tend to be made by lazy producers who know there is a market and a product that has been tried and tested and they feebly attempt to update it (which usually means making all the actors gorgeous and adding a grime/metal soundtrack). However, some, like my brother, are simply trying to make sure the audience that are not able (too lazy) to see the original get to see something like it because the original idea had merit and people cared about it.

  • Comment number 80.

    I really cannot be ar*ed to watch subtitled movies so I'm glad they do remakes in English. If the original of this film was that good and the makers wanted everyone to see and appreciate it they should have made it in English. Germans speak English, the Japanese speak English - even the French speak English (although they pretend not to.) If you want the World too see your film - do it in the worlds universal language - ENGLISH! If not, then fine. Just don't cry when you rake in 10p for your efforts because most people like me don't like subtitles! Lets hear it for ENGLISH!

    I'm Scottish by the way.

    Not really.

  • Comment number 81.

    @brightonrock @Stephen Glass
    I'm so glad to read all of your comments. You managed to put into words everything I was thinking about a) The Film, but perhaps more importantly for me b) DrK's review.
    In my opinion this review, and his review on R5, was something approaching disgraceful. His R5 review almost got to the point of blaming the audience for this film existing...really DrK is that where the problem lies?
    Let's be honest, not everyone likes subtitles. But just as important is that people can't always get to cinemas that show subtitled films. LTROI was something of an exception because it was popular and did get to cinemas that don't normally show foreign films. But on the whole a lot of people don't watch foreign language films because they simply don't have access to them, and just because one film happens to come out at the multiplex doesn't mean they are going to change their habits. And why should they only watch it on DVD. They want to see films at the cinema not on DVD so the first real opportunity that they get to see it at the cinema is the English language version. Let's just be glad that LMI is so good.
    For the record I have seen both at the cinema (I like those weird foreign films!) and I liked them both. I don't think either one was better. I liked the mood of the first, but there were bits I liked more in the second - I didn't pick up on the grooming of Oskar/Owen in the first but it was in the second - I believe because the child actors were better in the second film so they communicated it much better.

  • Comment number 82.

    For what it's worth, the writer of the book and the original screenplay had this to say (copied from Wikipedia):

    John Ajvide Lindqvist, author of Let The Right One In, who also wrote the screenplay for the original Swedish film, was pleased with Let Me In. He said

    I might just be the luckiest writer alive. To have not only one, but two excellent versions of my debut novel done for the screen feels unreal. Let The Right One In is a great Swedish movie. Let Me In is a great American movie. There are notable similarities and the spirit of Tomas Alfredson is present. But Let Me In puts the emotional pressure in different places and stands firmly on its own legs. Like the Swedish movie it made me cry, but not at the same points. Let Me In is a dark and violent love story, a beautiful piece of cinema and a respectful rendering of my novel for which I am grateful. Again.[45]

  • Comment number 83.

    I've got to ask Doc; if someone's seen Wages Of Fear, why should they go and watch Sorcerer? And in terms of remakes, is Sorcerer better on it's own than Let Me In? We know that remakes rarely measure up, but the question has always to be asked - Is it any good on it's own merit, and will I enjoy it on that?
    On a side note; is there any chance you can go through Friedkin's work and tell us why you like what you like out of it, and why you don't? Forget the two good ones, as we already know your love for them and it's justified. But Friedkin as made some real crap too and I'd love to hear your fanboy POV on them, if only for the smile I give when you praise Cruising.

  • Comment number 84.

    I think this discussion of remakes is a VERY interesting and topical one. I also think Dr. Mark Kermode disentangle's the debate very admirably as several things are going on here or could be. In fact I agree 100% with each comment made. Completely impressed.

    #15: Hollywood is the real vampire, leeching ideas from the past and other cultures instead of trying them out themselves.

    Or reminds me of copying another school mate's essay/answers into your own words! "Sorta". The scenes I have seen of the remake (several trailers): Just looks like a complete RIP-OFF of the original film, with puppets reenacting what was done in Swedish.

    But in this particular remake case, the reason to remake is to change the language to ENGLISH which makes more MONEY.

    English speakers unwilling to watch subtitles are missing out on great stories from around the world in film and will have to do with reconstituted versions.

  • Comment number 85.

    Mark, your views are sound. If someone came up to me and said what you said about "Let Me In", I would have total understanding.

    However, I thought it was good: 7/10

    Of course there are many many flaws - the relationships doesn't work, it is not as isolating and haunting as the original, it has some dodgy CGI moments, and there were parts where I couldn't help having a little chuckle. BUT, if this were released in a world where "Let The Right One In" never happened, I would give it a high mark.

    The fact I enjoyed it whilst in a cinema screen which had some of the worst teenagers in - texting, talking loudly, moving about, being a genuine annoyance - must be a testament to how this film did a good job.

    One more thing - they pretty much wrecked the end scene in this film and there was no need to have the man die at the beginning to then have a "3 weeks before" title come up.

  • Comment number 86.

    Do you think it should have been rated 18?

  • Comment number 87.

    "Do you think that there is such a thing as evil?" If the opening line to this clip is anything to go by, then this movie is best avoided. My toes curled at this line. Let the Right One In, is a subtle movie with a powerful beating heart. Is one of the reasons for remaking this movie really to appeal to a larger audience? or for people who don't like to read subtitles whilst viewing a film? I role my eyes in your direction if you are one of those such people. You deserve a film like Let Me In.

  • Comment number 88.

    The title of Let Me In just has me thinking of the Osmonds' song of that name!

  • Comment number 89.

    I have a dvd called 'the messenger' starring Anthony Quinn - bit of a historical curiosity because it's Americans and Brits portraying the history of Mecca and Islam before the whole clash of cultures thing became an issue. It is a double DVD - one in English and one in Arabic - two different sets of actors filmed on the same set with the same director/producers and cinematographers, with identical translated scripts. Both films are really good, if with a few dodgy costumes and sets in a couple of scenes. Comparing them shows you how films are understood differently in your native tongue compared to the language of the original characters. One film certainly helps you understand the other better in terms of the story and issues, but it is far easier to get lost in the Arabic version - to suspend disbelief and submerge your mind into the story - even though the English speaking actors are excellent too. That said, it's the best and cheapest method I've ever seen for a remake - a simultaneous remake- controlled by the same writer. The English version had an authenticity, integrity and dignity which I did not expect - it was not some foreigner's take on another person's culture.

    Nobody likes reading subtitles - it's annoying, especially at first - but it is definitely worth it in order to lose yourself in the film. If something engaging has been turned into surface entertainment, backround noise, a pantomine version of the original, then that is a total insult to the original work and culture which it came from. Scandinavian crime novels have a very particular feel and outlook, as do their horror films. Kenneth Brannagh judged his interpretation of the BBC's Wallander very well and retained it's Swedishness in English. To remove that context is not just to make a film easier to digest - it is to rip the soul out of the film. That doesn't mean that there has to be something terrible about the replacement scenario, but hollywood is denying people the benefits and beauty of the original work and culture which it came from. Of all the English speaking nations to set a Scandinavian horror like NZ, Australia, Canada, England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Alaska, Falklands, Hong Kong, South Africa etc.. they had to choose the USA and the same desert setting where they love to pitch their horrors. It's not a remake, it's cultural brainwashing. And I say that as a big fan of SOME american horror.


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