Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Remake of Swedish Vampire Classic: Will Reeves Let the Wrong One In?

A recent vampire classic from Europe based on a popular novel is being subjected to a Hollywood makeover. So will it, uh, suck?

Let Me In, Cloverfield director Matt Reeves' adaptation of Let the Right One In, the Swedish shocker released in the U.S. in late 2008, is slated for release this fall.

The original movie, detailing the relationship between a bloodthirsty vampire taking the form of a 12-year-old girl, and a bullied boy of the same age, counts as the best horror film of the decade, and one of the creepiest and most chilling movies I've ever seen; its penultimate sequence struck me as deeply disturbing.

Director Tomas Alfredson, working from a script which John Ajvide Lindqvist adapted from his novel, makes great use of the snowy environs, in and around the generic apartments and stores of suburban Stockholm. For those brave enough to venture even farther into the world created by Alfredson and Lindqvist, I'd recommend the book -- it's twice as explicit, graphic, kinky, and frightening.

It seems impossible that Let Me In won't be disappointing, given the brilliance of the original.

But there are several good signs, including the casting of Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Road) as the young boy, whose name is now Owen, rather than Oskar. The cast also includes Chloe Moretz, of (500) Days of Summer, as young vampire Abby (formerly Eli), the great Richard Jenkins as Abby's aged caretaker, and Elias Koteas.

Why did Reeves go for the remake, particularly so soon after the release of an original that was so well received?

Because of how it resonated with his own feelings about the yearnings and fears associated with adolescence, as he told the Los Angeles Times back in June.

"I was so taken with the story and I had a very personal reaction," he said. "It reminded me a lot of my childhood, with the metaphor that the hard times of your pre-adolescent, early adolescent moment, that painful experience is a horror.

"There's definitely people who have a real bull's-eye on the film," Reeves said, "and I can understand because of people's' love of the [original] film that there's this cynicism that I'll come in and trash it, when in fact I have nothing but respect for the film. I'm so drawn to it for personal and not mercenary reasons, my feeling about it is if I didn't feel a personal connection and feel it could be its own film, I wouldn't be doing it. I hope people give us a chance."

Let Me In is set in Colorado during the '80s, according to the L.A. Times. And it was shot in New Mexico, reports web site Cinematical.

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