The American movie “Let Me In,” about a bullied young boy named Owen who asks a young vampire named Abby to be his girlfriend, opened Oct. 1, 2010 in the U.S.
The Swedish movie “Let the Right One In,” about a bullied young boy named Oskar who asks a young vampire named Eli to be his girlfriend, opened Oct. 24, 2008, in Sweden.
They’re the same story. And they’re both excellent.
It’s interesting to watch the two versions of the John Ajvide Lindvist novel “Låt den rätte komma in” back to back. “Let the Right One In” (in Swedish and subtitled) has a certain sterility about it, which the director says is representative of the Soviet influences of the 1980s, when the move was set. “Let Me In” is more cluttered and gloomy, representative of the early Reagan years when the U.S. mood wasn’t great because of the economy.
Where the Swedish movie uses limited special effects for Eli, the American movie brings on “The Exorcist” inspired special effects for Abby.
The kids pair off nicely. In the Swedish movie Oskar is played by Kåre Hedebrant and Eli by Lina Leandersson. In the American movie, Owen is played by Australian Kodi Smit-McPhee and Abby is American Chloe Moretz. (Chloe has probably killed more people in movies than any other child star and most adult screen giants. She was Hit Girl in “Kick-Ass.”)
A secondary couple has a more pronounced role in the Swedish movie. But the sequence of events, most of the dialogue and the climactic ending at a swimming pool are the same.
I don’t want to give anything away, because the story is great. Both movies are beautiful to watch.
We’re going through a rash of vampire-inspired entertainment. The “Twilight” saga has been a blockbuster, and the HBO show “True Blood” is a big hit. “Let the Right One In” and “Let Me In” are much better movies and should be seen by more people.