I’m about to make a very bold statement right now. Back in 2008, I was probably one of the last people to see Let the Right One In, the Swedish vampire film directed by Tomas Alfredson based on the novel of the same name by John Ajvide Lindqvist. After hearing a tremendous amount of ragingly positive feedback about it on the Internet and from friends and family, I finally went to see the film. Needless to say, I ended up really liking it. While I didn’t think it was the greatest thing since sliced bread like some people were regarding it, I thought it was fantastic.

When director Matt Reeves (Cloverfied) announced he was going to remake it (mind you, at the time I don’t even think Let the Right One In was barely out of theaters), I thought it was a little bizarre to remake a film before it even had time to cool off from blowing everyone’s socks off. I mean we’re not talking about a film that everybody sort of liked that came out 20 years ago. This is a film that literally just came out that everyone loved. And when I say loved, I mean people LOVED that film.

Well, I just got back from seeing Let Me In, Reeves’ English language remake of Let the Right One In, and I’m about to hit you with my audaciously bold statement. Ready? Let Me In is probably one of the best remakes in motion picture history. Bang! You know it’s serious when someone uses the phrase ‘motion picture history.’ But I’m not fucking around. Reeves killed it. Murdered it. Killed it, resurrected it, then killed it again. And I will safely say that the remake is superior to the original.

What struck me right away was how much respect the remake had for its predecessor. The remake captures all the greatness of the original but also improves on it. The film is a straight-up, literal, beat-for-beat remaking of the Swedish film. There are a few scenes and elements that have been slightly modified, but the tone, the style, the tension and the sense of dread and foreboding have all been preserved and improved upon. The direction is great, the cinematography is great and the performances are great. This is a true example of a great remake.

On paper, remakes are essentially a cop out on originality, but this is totally different. Whatever it was that inspired Reeves and drove him to remake Let the Right One In is exactly the same thing that anyone else who is contemplating remaking a film that was already great to begin with should be driven by.

But what I love most about the remake is that it preserves the elements of the original that in a lot of ways have ultimately come to polarize and distinguish European films from American films. American films generally have no balls. American films are deliberately crafted to be easy and light. American films are so worried about alienating audiences that they more often than not wind up being generic, safe and uninspiring. European films on the other hand are not afraid to make you feel uncomfortable. European films dare to traverse dark territory and deal with aspects of the human psyche that can disturb and frighten people to the core.

Let the Right One In dealt with such things, and going into Let Me In I was very curious to see whether the film would make any compromises and soften its edge for American audiences. I’m happy to say that it doesn’t. It hits you across the jaw probably twice as hard as the original, and I applaud Matt Reeves and everyone else behind this film for that. Here’s hoping it’s a big success and helps bring back some of the edge that American films desperately need.

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