Review: 'Let the Right One In', 'Let Me In'
How does a book written by John Ajvide Lindqvist (who wrote the screenplay for the Swedish version) get two adaptations from two different countries and have BOTH adaptations be really good? Well, you hire Swedish director Tomas Alfredson and American director Matt Reeves (Cloverfield, who wrote the screenplay for the American version) to direct them and you get two very well made films.
Now, are there any differences other than the obvious spoken language difference? There are a few differences I noticed between the two.
I watched the American Let Me In first and compared to the Swedish Let the Right One In, it's atmosphere is creepier, given the lighting is darker and more mellow in the American version. The Swedish version is more bright in lighting tone.
In a scene when the two child leads first meet, Eli (Swedish version, played by Lina Leandersson) has shoes on when she sits around in the playground where as the American version, Abby (played by Chloe Grace-Moretz) does not wear shoes. Which then leads to the next change, the characters names are different. Eli and Oskar (played by Kare Hedebrant) in the Swedish verison, Abby and Owen (played by Kodi Smit-McPhee) in the American version.
Also, the American version adds a detective character (played by Elias Koteas) that wasn't in the Swedish version. The Swedish version focuses a little more on neighboring characters in the apartment the children live in.
One other difference is the first kill we see of the vampire girl. In the Swedish version, she kills a local resident who just came from a bar while in the American version, it's a random jogger.
Also, a couple scenes that are in both versions are shot in the reverse direction and the American version goes into more detail of the "father" character (played by Richard Jenkins in the American version, Per Ragner in the Swedish version) during his attempts at killing. (An amazing car crash scene is the perfect example for this) As well as how the "father" character uses acid to deform his face is different in both versions.
Anyway, (I'm sure you are getting bored of all the small differences) the story is about a young bullied boy named Oskar (or Owen) who finds out a girl and a man are moving next door to him. They form an, at first, uneasy friendship that turns into a sweet romance of sorts. Oskar shows Eli (Abby) his Rubiks Cube he was playing on as Eli is curious as to what it is and lets her borrow it, only to return it solved the next day. Oskar, amazed, becomes instant friends.
But what makes this film interesting is that the man Eli lives with is her "father" and he goes out to acquire blood for the young girl because... well... she's a vampire.
And there lies the fun. The romance isn't over the top or unbelievable, it's nice, low-key and very sweet. The chemistry between the two leads in either version is superb.
The bullies hit and make fun of Oskar (Owen) almost every time they see the boy and you just think, "My gosh! These kids are SO mean!"
Now, if I had to choose which version I'd prefer... I'd have to say with an eager hand up in the air, Let Me In.
The reason?? I believed in Owen being more of a bullied child than Oskar because Owen is more puny looking (no offense Kodi Smit-McPhee) and the atmosphere of the American version was more creepier. (at least in my opinion) Some may not like the creepiness of these films but I cherish it.
I absolutely love both films and I highly recommend seeing both versions! I don't want to spoil how the film ends or talk about key scenes in the film... you just have to go see the movies for yourself.