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Swedish film Directed by Tomas Alfredson & Written by John Ajvide Lindqvist

American film Directed and Written by Matt Reeves

  Before I get too into anything it should be stated that the 2010 version does state that it was based off of the original 2008 Swedish version. But they are in fact truly the same. Of course you’d have to change the names but it’s the same characters, events and dialogue in certain scenes. Which did upset me and the thing of it is that they are both well made movies but why are we being shown the same movie in a two year time frame? You really couldn’t wait another couple of years or at least change it up all the way? The story itself tells a tale of a bullied boy who finds love in the most unfamiliar manner. He encounters a little girl one night that he is able to reach a familiarity never before obtained with others. Not even his mother. The catch being she was actually a vampire and is forced to keep to herself. Deciding to make friendly and giving a piece of her cold heart she had long forgotten existed.

I will say this, if you want to see a fucking great performance from a great actress, than Chloe Grace Moretz delivered from start to end in this film. Not that I was surprised. I am definitely a fan of this star on the rise and have no doubt that she will turn out endless amounts of hits to come. She’s able to bring forth any emotion and portray it in that matter, executing it every time. Guess that makes it pretty clear as far as who I preferred as Eli/Abby, the “little” vampire he falls for. However that is not by any means meant to take away from Lina Leanderssons performance from the Swedish film. Quite honestly the only reason I was able to side more with the actors chosen in Let Me In was because I had an appreciation for 3 of the 4 main characters. Elias Koteas had caught my heart playing Casey Jones in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Ever since, anytime I’ve been able to see him on screen I always enjoy his performance. Richard Jenkins was another great actor playing the “father” to Abby ensuring she was cared for and fed. Jenkins, who is usual great for a comedic delight was just as fabulous as the loner fending for him and his possessor.  It was Jenkins idea to wear the bag over his head while “hunting” for Abby’s food which was a change from the Swedish version in which he had nothing covering. It didn’t hurt that with the hat on Jenkins actually looked like Per Ragnar, his Swedish counterpart. Something I will add is that I may have been the only to notice but in the American film Owen’s father, while never seen was clearly acted by Elias Koteas, who also played the detective following Abby.

The scene in which the detective discovers the young vampire in the bath tub was more brutal in the American one however in large part to the CGI fix in which Abby moved at “startling” speeds. Another thing I haven’t been so fond of that seems to be trending. I first saw this occur in True Blood in which they fast-forward the vampire’s movements but always at such silly times. I believe it was a scene that involved someone coming down the stairs and they jerked in a fast-forward motion as if they were able to make those 3 steps just a bit cooler with that action. I don’t get it nor have any intention as to why this may be considered sexy or “cool” but apparently it gets others going. I digress. Both films show an instance in which the little vampire must feed after finding a victim who is then rushed to the hospital to seek medical attention. In the American film I liked that they put the victim immediately into the hospital and once coming to, (she was turned into a vampire) begins to slowly emerge and slowly feeds off of her IV. In the Swedish film the actress that is attacked (Ika Nord) gave a far superior performance. Because they featured the character more in the Swedish film it was a better way to carry out the entire scenes following her, displaying her transformation and how affected her. The last major instance in which blood was shed was of course the end sequence. For those who have yet to see either film I will leave it as a surprise but will have to once again side with the Swedish film which left more to the imagination for not only the audience but for Owen/Oskar whose eyes remain closed.

What I love about foreign/independent films is that they tend to be more creative as far as getting the sound effects or how they shoot the film in general. To then see it come together and done in a way that is truly haunting gives an appreciation that a lot of Horror films don’t take into account. Yes we want to be scared but more importantly we want to see stories unfold that expect more than C average acting and story plots that don’t congeal with each other. I do at least.

The bottom line is that the Swedish film was more poetic in an overall sense. It didn’t need to be flashy or have a consistent soundtrack to make the scenes feel eerie; however it was overly apparent throughout the film. (The eeriness that is) The actors were able to transfix your eyes and not let go until the credits rolled. Which is always harder to achieve in the Horror genre because your supposed to want your audience to look away from the screen usually. But in a nice twist you get this bitter sweet fairytale that is able to convey heartache, pain, and devotion while still fulfilling your scare meter.