Instead of a lengthy comparison between Let The Right One In and Matt Reeves remake, we'll just stick with the basics. Yes, this is an inferior remake of a foreign film. Yes, Reeves takes out the subtlety and ambiguity that made the original such a powerful and beautiful work of art, and instead replaces these elements with bouts of action and decent make-up effects. We would like to say that there is no merit to Let Me In, but that may be too harsh so lets look at the facts. The in-medias-res beginning we thought would take this film into the realm of the book, but instead it is needlessly placed to spruce up the twenty minute test (for non-screenwriters out there this is the captivating twenty pages/minutes that will ultimately capture your viewer and if this fails then the rest will as well). Our new Hakan is now played by the brilliant Richard Jenkins and is miscredited on IMDB as "The Father," this may shed some light on how exactly Reeves ruins entire storylines in this adaptation. We begin with "The father," being rushed off to the hospital suffering severe burns to his face and cannot be identified. Upon questioning by the police in connection to a series of murders, he has no answer. Instead he writes: "I'm sorry Abbey," and in the next scene plunges to his death from his hospital window. We were excited, because in Lindquist's version Hakan then is taken into the morgue where he wakes up and becomes a terrible threat to Oskar and Eli. Instead the film then begins as the original did.
In no way does Reeves even attempt to add any of the layers that are offered in the book. Instead it seems as though he keeps only to the original film for his source material. This is unfortunate because if he wanted to create an amped up version of Let The Right One In all he would have had to do is read the book. Alas, what he does change are the relationships and this is where a deep-seated anger develops withing lovers of the original work. Hakan has been stripped of his child molester status and transformed into only a caretaker, Eli is now Abbey a female vampire not a castrated male vampire, Oskar now Owen is not struggling with his developing homosexuality as learned from his alcoholic father, and if there was any question as to whether or not Oskar would become like Hakan or become a vampire himself it is answered clearly in a set of pictures taken in a photo booth. We cannot understand how Let Me In has made its way into the top ten horror films of 2010. We guess there are entertaining elements to this version. Richard Jenkins is great, which is no surprise there, and when he wears his kill suit it's genuinely scary. We asked ourselves why he only gave himself one eyehole for his trashbag face, but figured it was just to be more menacing. Another great element is Chloe Moretz from Kick-Ass, she's an amazing young actress. If given better writing she could have been a perfect androgenous Eli.
All in all without its background/mythology and had Reeves been the first one to tell this story, and if he had made it for intelligent audiences, or never concerned himself with action scenes, or hadn't directed Cloverfield before embarking on a subtle story, we may have granted it a place among the landmarks of horror. As it is, it infects the strong feelings you have for the original. We just hope that with the revival of Hammer Films that it doesn't mean a long string of haphazard remakes and sequels.
Here's the superior version: