By Edwin Pagán, for LATIN HORROR
Last September Hammer and Overture Films announced they had tapped CLOVERFIELD director Matt Reeves to helm a remake of the critically-acclaimed Swedish vampire film, LET THE RIGHT ONE IN. The news sent chills up the spine of fans of the film (and genre) and even elicited a few choice words from the director of the original, Thomas Alfredson:
"Why can’t they just read the subtitles?" [MovieZine.se]
Any takers to that solid question?
John Ajvide Lindqvist, who wrote the novel on which the film is based, and wrote the script for the Swedish production, also opined:
"Tomas’ film is the definitive film, it is, I can’t imagine how anything would be better." [AICN]
I'm personally in complete agreement with Alfredson and Lindqvist on the matter of remakes of foreign films, especially when the original is of such high grade that it almost negates a re-imaging by its very nature. BUT, in all fairness, and to begin another point of discussion that is seldom pointed out, like the 800-pound gorilla in the room: Why complain after you have sold off the rights and deposited the check(s)? There obviously was another choice in direct line with their convictions:
"Thanks for the generous offer, sirs, but NO thank you."
If the undercurrent for this article is not entirely apparent, it is this - The trend of remaking hit foreign horror films began with the success of the Japanese brand [JU-ON begat THE GRUDGE, RNGU begat THE RING, JIAN GUI begat THE EYE, etc.]. The plague has now moved east and touched this Swedish gem. Soon, I dread, it may carry over to Latin/Spanish horror as the genre continues to gain traction and directors with a steady hand turn out true works of suspenseful horrific wonder. And I think to myself: What would a remake of Guillermo Del Toro PAN'S LABYRINTH be like? Or Juan Antonio Bayona's THE ORPHANAGE? I come short of hurling at the mere prospect. In 2007, New Line toyed with the idea of redoing Bayona's tone-perfect Spanish ghost story, but that seems to have evaporated into the ether (yes, there is a Goddess). Or maybe the mini-major is simply taking a prudent 'let's-wait-and-see' stance.
LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, some say, may go into production as soon as May from a script by Reeves himself. But Overture more recently contradicted those claims as ungrounded and pointed to the fact that a May start date would not be logistically savvy since the bulk of the story takes place in winter. J.J. Abrams scored a huge victory with his savvy word-of-mouth viral campaign for CLOVERFIELD, and is known to keep details about pending projects close to the chest. So it stands to reason that they would attempt to cast as much confusion onto the fan stage as possible since its worked in their favor in the past. SO to him, I only have two phrases: Sound stage / CGI (to whom he is no stranger and which will play a big role if he navigates the production -- did I mention the queazy feeling of needing to blow chunks?).
So the next time they come knocking, the answer can be as simple as ONLY letting the right one in. OR, not opening the door at all. After all, the door DOES swing both ways.
The remake -- LET ME IN (the name of Lindqvist's original novel) -- is scheduled for a January 15th release.