May 26, 2011 / Filmwell
Kenji Koiso has his summer vacation all planned out: he and his friend Sakuma have …
October 23, 2010
Jim Emerson has some thoughts on Let Me In, and how it is different from Let the Right One In:
“There is sin and evil in the world, and we’re enjoined by Scripture and the Lord Jesus to oppose it with all our might. Our nation, too, has a legacy of evil with which it must deal.”
— Ronald Reagan, in the 1983 “Evil Empire” speech, quoted in Matt Reeves’ “Let Me In”
It was the pre-nuclear winter of our discontent. The Cold War was at its coldest since the Cuban Missile Crisis. Jonathan Schell’s 1981 New Yorker series about the catastrophic climatic effects of a full-scale nuclear war became a best-selling book, “The Fate of the Earth,” in 1982. By 1983, with the escalation in rhetoric between Ronald Reagan and Soviet leaders, movies like Lynne Littman’s “Testament” and Nicholas Meyer’s “The Day After” — one a bleak art-house drama; the other a network television nightmare — were dealing seriously with the prospect of American life in the wake of atomic armageddon, as if to prepare us for the inevitable.
It was one of the darkest periods in modern American history (being too young to remember the Cuban Missile Crisis, I recall only the aftermath of 9/11and the invasion of Iraq with comparable feelings of doom). And the snowy, barren landscapes of (where else?) Los Alamos, New Mexico, provide the Americanized setting for Matt Reeves’ “Let Me In,” a remake of Tomas Alfredson’s magnificent Swedish horror film, Let the Right One In” (2008).
I know, I thought the same thing: Why do we need a remake of “Let the Right One In,” when it was was done so right the first time? But then I started hearing incredibly good things. From Stephen King, who called it “the best American horror film in the last 20 years.” From John Ajvide Lindquist, author of the novel and screenplay for “Let the Right One In,” who wrote:
“Let The Right One In” is a great Swedish movie. “Let Me In” is a great American movie. There are notable similarities and the spirit of Tomas Alfredson is present. But “Let Me In” puts the emotional pressure in different places and stands firmly on its own legs. Like the Swedish movie it made me cry, but not at the same points. “Let Me In” is a dark and violent love story, a beautiful piece of cinema and a respectful rendering of my novel for which I am grateful. Again.
And from Kathleen Murphy at MSN Movies. From Roger Ebert. And then from Bilge Ebiri, who posted an interview with Matt Reeves his blog, mentioning that they’d talked about “why Ronald Reagan plays such an important role in his movie.” Well, that did it for me. Before I could read that, I had to go see the movie.
Jeffrey Overstreet watches far too many movies, writes film reviews and two weekly columns for ChristianityTodayMovies.com, maintains the Web site LookingCloser.org, contributes to Paste Magazine, and is at work on a series of novels. He works at Seattle Pacific University.