12 October, 2010

Let The Right One In / Let Me In

On Sunday night I saw Let The Right One In. On Monday night I saw Let Me In. This will be a review and comparison of both films, and will contain spoilers, so beware.

The basic plot of both films is the same. A boy, Oscar (or Owen in the American version) is being bullied at school and dreams about fighting back with a knife. Then a strange, new girl, Eli (Abby in the American version) moves in next to him.
The two become friends, and eventually "go steady" (which seems to be the same relationship as before, plus a couple of kisses). She tells him to fight back giants the bullies. He shows her some games and his secret hideout in the basement.

In the meantime, police are looking for a serial killer who drains is victims. One of the victims was in the same school as Oscar/Owen.

So Oscar/Owen fights back against the bullies by hitting one in the head with a stick. Eli/Abby is a vampire, but Oscar/Owen still likes her, once overcoming his initial fear. It was her "father" doing the killings, to get her blood. But he gets caught, burns his face with acid, then Eli/Abby pushes him out of a window. The bully's big brother attacks Oscar/Owen, but Eli/Abby saves him. The two travel off together on a train, running away from everything.

The plot is fairly slow moving, but interesting enough that I was kept intrigued. Even with my short attention span. It wasn't the typical vampire story in that the vampire aspect was almost a side track. It was really about Oscar/Owen living with a family that's falling apart and learning to stand up for himself.

Differernces and Similarities
As far as similarities go: the entire plot. They were more or less the same, sometimes shot for shot.

Differences were more intriguing. I'm going to do this bit from the point of view of the American one being different, because it was second.
  • The American movie starts from a different place: the "father" being taken to hospital, then falling to his death. Then it goes back to the beginning and starts it all over again,
  • Eli/Abby is shown as obviously different right from the start in the American version, with long closeups of her shoeless feet. These continued right through the film, just in case you missed it the first three times.
  • Eli/Abby and Oscar/Owen's first meeting I'd different. In the original, she leads the conversation, telling him she lives next door. In the American version, the roles are reversed.
  • The American version has Random Acts of Patriotism, so you know it's American. Oscar/Oween's class say The Pledge of Alliegance, and there are random close-ups of money.
  • Oscar/Owen's father is absent in the American version, only talking on the phone, where it is implied he has a new girlfriend, Cindy. In the original, Oscar/Owen visits his father, and it is implied that he is gay.
  • Instead of the bullies saying "Squeal like a pig" they say "You're a little girl". This leads to something I'll talk about in a second.
  • The bully is more sympathetic in the American version. He is beaten and bullied by his older brother. In the other version, his brother play fights him but they get along.
  • In the original, Eli/Abby barks like a dog, but otherwise remains unchanged in vampire state. In the American version, her eyes change and her voice gets deeper.
  • There is a link made with "pure evil" and satanism made in the American version. I found this odd, as if it was tacked on as an afterthought.
Scream Like A Girl: Possible Trigger Warning!!This change actually mad me really uncomfortable. Right at the beginning of the film, we're treated to Oscar/Owen wearing a plastic mask and holding a knife, talking into a mirror.He says: "Are you a little girl? You're a little girl aren't you? Scream for me little girl!". He then makes stabbing motions with the knife. I found this scene horrible. It lacks context, and feels like a gratuitous piece of misogyny. I can cringe but get the bits where the bullies call Oscar/Owen a little girl, because it's something bullies would do, but at the beginning of the film, and without context, it's creepy. Women are taught to fear men in masks holding knives. We're constantly told not to go put alone at night in case one of these men comes for us. This scene cut a little too close to home I felt. Final ThoughtsThe films are pretty good, having a different take on the classic vampire genre. I like the way the monster vampire is in the body of such an innocent looking little girl.
You never see Oscar/Owen's mother's face. I thought this was an interesting effect, and it showed just how separated the two had become.
It was a bit bloody at times, and I had to cover my eyes a lot (I don't do well with blood). It wasn't scary, but it was incredibly creepy.
Doesn't pass Bechdel.

Worth watching, but if you've seen one there's no need to see the other.

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