Oscar is a little boy with very few friends. Often times he finds himself alone or bullied, with no one to confide in or play with. Until one day, when he meets a new girl named Eli who has moved into the apartment next to his and she doesn’t seem to mind that he is quiet and sad. The only problem is…Eli is a vampire. And she is quite hungry.
This Swedish classic was released in 2008 and received accolades from horror fans and film buffs all over the world. The story is captivating and the performances, by mostly unknown foreign actors, was a must see of that year. Of course, Hollywood had to create it’s own version of this classic and it is, in turn, not as good as the original but not terrible by most Hollywood standards.
Despite some obvious differences (the first is set in Stockholm, the second New Mexico), a majority of the script is quite similar. The characters inexplicably have different names (why the Americanized version didn’t just keep the names Oscar & Eli, instead changing them to Owen & Abby, is beyond me) and there are some subtle differences in directing style, but overall the redux is the same as the original. There is only one exception to this and it’s a big moment in the original. I know why it is left out in the second film, but it’s unfortunate that it is because it tells a vital part of who Eli is. It doesn’t ruin the movie (especially if you don’t know it was supposed to be there), but it certainly does seem like you are missing something if you’ve seen the original.
The only other case that I can make against the American version is the actors. There is something to be said for seeing the original film simply because the actors ARE unknown to us here in the states. Having 2 children actors that I have seen in other films that I LOVE (Chloe Moretz in “Kick Ass” and Kodi Smith-McPhee in “The Road”) makes it hard for me to accept the Americanized version a little bit. Obviously SOMEONE has to play in these roles, but I liked not having to see the “Hollywood” version of this screenplay. The original is so gritty and true to it’s roots with no effects (there is some CGI and lots more blood in the second) and very little soundtrack that it just seems more real to me. However I did appreciate the ending a little more in the second than I did in the first…
Either way…BOTH of these films are worth seeing. However for MY money, if you’ve seen the original you’ll find that the second is a little disappointing. But if you haven’t seen the original, I think you will be very pleased with what a great story this is.
Overall Rating: “Let The Right One In” – A
“Let Me In” – B+