I sometimes wonder why Hollywood has to go one better than Europe when it comes to adapting novels for the screen.
Last week, my curiosity got the better of me and I decided to buy the Bluray disc of the Hammer film Let Me In. For the benefit of anyone who doesn’t know it, Let Me In is a vampire horror movie, a reworking of the 2008 Swedish film Lät Den Rätte Komma In (in English Let The Right One In).
My experience with Swedish films ‘moved’ to America warned me not to expect too much. Despite featuring a few excellent actors, and being showered with awards, the remake in English of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo was, I thought, the poor relation when it came to capturing the atmosphere and power of the original drama.
The makers of Let Me In shifted the setting from Sweden to New Mexico and gave the characters new names, which confused me a bit until I got used to it. Nevertheless – surprise, surprise – the film was rather good and ticked all the right boxes as a Hammer production: suspense, anticipation, grisly body parts and lots of blood.
Based on the novel Lät Den Rätte Komma In by John Ajvide Lindqvist, Let Me In tells the story of Owen (originally Oskar), a lonely 12-year-old boy who is victim of school bullying. One night, he meets Abby (Eli), seemingly a girl of his own age who has moved with her ‘father’ into the next apartment. But Abby has a frightening secret; she is a vampire who has been ‘twelve for a very long time‘. When her ‘father’ pours acid over himself then commits suicide by jumping through a hospital window, Abby is left to her own resources. She befriends Owen and advises him to hit back against the bullies.
Being a vampire, Abby must find blood of course and she does so in suitably gruesome ways. However, nothing is quite as gruesome as the way she exacts revenge on Owen’s tormentors.
Yes, this time the film industry has produced two very good films but, good as they are, I would recommend the novel. There is so much more to it, both story content and character development!