Friday, July 16, 2010

The Problem with Remakes.


It has come to my attention that there will be an American remake of the Swedish film "Let the Right One In." Based on the novel by John Advidje Lindqvist, the Swedish film was released in 2008 to great critical acclaim and starred two young Swedish first-time actors.

The American remake, titled "Let Me In," is slated for release in October, and will star Chloe Moretz, probably best known as Hit Girl in this year's "Kick-Ass." The remake transplants the two young characters from a slummy Swedish suburb to a small New Mexico town.

Because, you know, they're so similar.

In an interview with, "Let Me In" produce Simon Oakes says that the remake will be "very accessible to a wider audience," and the scares will be 'ramped up.'

Rather unsurprisingly, the director of the Swedish film is critical of the remake, stating that a remake should only be considered if the original film is bad (and "Let The Right One In" deserved its critical acclaim) and pointing out that remaking a film just to make it more palatable for (pander to?) a particular audience is a bad decision.

I find it insulting. I saw a trailor for the ill-advised 2010 remake of the 2007 release of "Death at a Funeral," which made me start wondering, since when is a British movie too foreign for American audiences?

I think filmakers don't trust audiences to be capable of engaging with movies that don't feature characters that are exactly like them, American audiences in particular. Packing up the leads from "Let the Right One In" and shunting them to New Mexico substantively changes the theme of the story - Let The Right One In was more about the fraying of Sweden's social fabric in the 1980s and the rise of a parasitic class (taken to a grotesque and literal extreme with Eli, who eventually turns out to be rather more stomachable than the non-bloodsucking characters) than literally about vampires.

Will I watch it? Probably - at least it's not Twilight.

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