As we grow closer to the end of Women In Horror month, I have been racking my brain trying to decide on a good piece to do. Sometimes we don’t see whats right in front of us, and as I had been contemplating the idea of doing a comparison piece on Let the Right One In and Let Me In it hit me that I should instead do a comparison of the female leads from the films. Lets start with Let The Right One In.
Let The Right One In is a Swedish gem from 2008 set in a small suburb of Stockholm that revolves around a young boy named Oskar who is the equivalent of the class punching bag at school. A strange girl named Eli, played by Lina Leandersson , moves in next door in his apartment building and she and Oskar quickly form an unusual friendship. It doesn’t take long before Oskar starts to realize Eli is a bit different as she is never out in the day, doesn’t wear shoes, sometimes smells a bit odd, oh and as he eventually finds out also has to drink human blood in order to survive.
Let Me In, released last year in the US, is a remake of this already considered classic Swedish film. The story is the same, although some of the plot and filler are different and the backdrop changes from snowy Stokholm to the bleak environs of Los Alamos, New Mexico. This time around the names are different as well and we follow the young boy Owen and the new neighbor Abby who is played by Chloe Moretz. You will probably remember Chloe from the movie “Kick-Ass” where she played what was in my opinion the breakout performance of the whole film, Hit-Girl.
Going into the original I had heard bits and pieces online about how great the film was and this is usually an instant bummer as it’s rarely the case that a film lives up to the hype. The hype soon proved itself as it became the most impressive 115 minutes of film i had seen in a really long time. Not only was it one of the most beautifully shot movies I have seen in recent years, I was immediately drawn in by the superb performance by the two child leads, mainly so by Lina Leandersson and the overall feel she brought to the character. Eli was, in the beginning, washed in a sense of despair and gloom that Leandersson fully imparts to the audience. Midway through the film you start to get a sense of hope and longing and (before the reveal) a sense of humanity in the character. I was so blown away that Leandersson, this unknown to me child actor was so moving. Nothing over the top, nothing cheesy. Just a brutally spot-on performance that left me wondering why I held such a liking for this character who I had just watched viciously kill several people on screen. The idea of having a movie revolve around a child vampire in this way was something I hadn’t seen before and the emotional performance was so well done it sticks with me still as one of my favorites.
When I first heard there was going to be an American remake of Let the Right One In I will admit I washed my hands of the idea with no problems. I held the original in such high regards and knowing the caliber of remakes we’ve seen thrown out by the Hollywood machine lately I was sure this would be an epic disappointment. It wasn’t until I heard Chloe Moretz was playing the lead that I began to at least have hope for the movie. Like I said before, if you saw Kick-Ass you surely agree that Moretz KILLED it (punny!) as Hit-Girl. Her portrayal of Abby in Let Me In proves that this girl has some serious skills and continues to make a good name for herself. I found myself as engaged in the story as if I had never seen the original and I give all the credit to Moretz for drawing me in. She gives the character a much different feel than Leandersson while still having a few of the aspects I liked so much in the original. Moretz from the start just has a way of giving Abby a bit more humanity than was seen from Eli in Let The Right One In. You really at no point emotionally see her as a monster from a viewers perspective. I found myself feeling a sense of pain and loss for the poor 12 year old vampire and a hope that things work out for her. It was refreshing to watch as someone actually managed to follow through on delivering what I was hoping for out of a character.
While the original still edges out the remake in a number of other aspects for me (most notably the male lead actor who I should say I was equally impressed with and the cinematography) I can undoubtedly say that I found both female leads to be equally fantastic. They both brought different things to the screen, different emotions, and I feel both were the defining factor of the films success. It isn’t often I get to actually watch a remake and walk away with the satisfaction of knowing it held up to, or in this case was equally as enjoyable as the original. If you haven’t seen Let Me In or even the original Let The Right One in I highly suggest you grab copies of both. Its a different fresh spin on the Vampire sub-genre and both are visually stunning films. Both are available on Blu-Ray and having seen the BR and the DVD of these it’s really no question that you should grab the blu-rays. The snowy atmosphere and overall dim blue colors are an impressive contrast to the more bloody moments of the films. Treat yourself to the original first then go into the original with an open mind and I’m sure you will walk away more than pleased.