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A Comparative Analysis of Let the Right One In and Let Me In

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Joanna Smith

on 13 June 2013

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Transcript of A Comparative Analysis of Let the Right One In and Let Me In

A Comparative Analysis of
Let the Right One In and
Let Me In

Focus: Examining the translation of a Swedish novel, Låt den rätte komma in/Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist into two films which are quite different:

The Swedish film Let the Right One In directed by Tomas Alfredson

The American movie Let Me In directed by Matt Reeves
Let the Right One In is more of a quiet mood piece, inferring horror and finding its true power in the tentative relationship between its two leads.
Let Me In, in contrast, falls into the category of classic American horror
The soundtracks, editing styles, and structures, vary accordingly
The American Nightmare
By Robin Wood
He makes observations about basic and surplus repression

Wood considers four specific forms of repression in our culture: sexual energy, bisexuality, female sexuality/creativity, and finally sexuality of children
Wood describes that the repressed is translated into the figure of “the Other” and then again into the figure of the Monster in Horror films

“It is the horror film that responds in the most clear-cut and direct way, because central to it is the actual dramatization of the dual concept of the repressed/ the other, in the figure of the monster”
Låt den rätte komma in/Let the Right One In
2004 Vampire fiction novel by Swedish writer John Ajvide Lindqvist

Plot Summary
Oskar is a 12 yr. old who is consistently bullied a school but one day...
Oskar befriends who he thinks is a new girl who moved in next door - Eli
Eli lives with an older man Håkan (who was once a teacher but fired when it was discovered that he was a pedophile)

Låt den rätte komma in/Let the Right One

Made in 2008 directed by Tomas Alfredson and screenplay written by John Ajvide Lindqvist
The film closely tells the same story as the novel

The focus again is in the relationship between Eli (Lina Leandersson) and Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant)
Faithful to the novel however...
Some scenes where deleted in order for the film to be 114 mins.
A Note on Swedish film industry...

According to Mariah Larsson:
“Using best selling literature as a basis for film adaptations, producers have also tapped into an old film making tradition, which, used in a market-oriented economy, helps advertise films by using so-called pre-sold property”

Additionally Larsson explains that the Swedish film industry uses “bestselling literature which has also been successfully exported to other countries”
Let Me In
American adaptation made in 2010 and directed by Matt Reeves
Again focuses on the relationship between two adolescences, Abby (Chloë Grace Moretz) and Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee)
However the progression of the narrative is changed by including a police detective (Elias Koteas) who tries to uncover the mystery of Abby

Adaptation versus Translation

Often referred to being the same film (Let Me In is a straight re-make for English speaking audiences)
Many sequences are similar and the basic plot, narrative and dialogue appear to be mostly the same

HOWEVER, there some key differences:

Ambiguity around the sexuality of Eli...

The opening sequence

The murder of Jocke/ the runner

The concluding swimming pool sequence
Murder in the Tunnel

Fear vs. Sympathy
After watching both sequences it will become very apparent which film shows fear vs. sympathy
The Opening Sequence
Let the Right One in
Quiet and slow... which reflects the overall film

Let Me In
The viewer is prepared to be frightened by the unknown; we have seen what the unknown is capable of
In order to better understand these differences, we will look at three very important sequences:
The Pool
Let the Right One In bullying is in psychological vs. Let Me In the bullying is physical
The concept of the child monster is not only Eli and Abby but also the child bullies
Let the Right One In
Let Me In

Let The Right One offers a screen adaptation of a Swedish novel
Let Me In is a translation of those ideas into an American movie
In the process, the emphasis shifts from empathy with the central characters to a more stylised projection of good versus evil
Let Me In seeks to demonize Abby as a child monster... and to be feared
Surplus repression is directly assessable in Let Me In but is less present in Let the Right One In
Beyond Let the Right One In.....

What will happen to Lisbeth Salander?
A note on Hollywood Cinema and one reason why this translation works so seamlessly:

“Hollywood’s recent horror output insistently prowls the social, psychological, and emotional corridors of contemporary American youth”

“Small, apparently innocent creatures who are in fact not at all what they seem: such is the substance of a fitfully vital subset of the horror genre”
Swedish traditions vs. American traditions

Violence: absent vs. glorification

Ethnicity: otherness vs. acceptance

Gender: concealed vs. apparent
Eventually we discover that Eli is in fact a 200 yr. old vampire who was once a boy but was castrated
Throughout the book their relationship gradually becomes closer and they eventually run away with each other
Full transcript