Author Topic: Let the Right One In Remake  (Read 1878 times)

Let the Right One In Remake
« on: July 02, 2010, 02:18:00 AM »
Now called 'Let Me In' and seemingly a shot for shot remake (although they've said it's based more on the novel). It doesn't look bad, just seems a bit pointless, but then with so many people unwilling to watch subtitled films, not surprising.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjavOLdPk1c

Neomod

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Re: Let the Right One In Remake
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2010, 09:33:11 AM »
The original was beautiful and moving.  I don't think this will capture the same atmosphere and note perfect performances of Kåre Hedebrant and Oskar Lina Leandersson.

It won't be as bad as Van Sant's Psycho but I agree, what is the point?

Re: Let the Right One In Remake
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2010, 10:26:21 AM »
Looks like the trailer's trying to sell it as a conventional horror film, which the original clearly wasn't, by any description. The kid from "The Road" is quite a good casting choice, though.

AsparagusTrevor

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Re: Let the Right One In Remake
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2010, 11:08:30 AM »
Are people really that unwilling to watch subtitled films, or are they just not aware of these films because they're rarely marketed significantly outside their home countries?

Re: Let the Right One In Remake
« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2010, 11:50:04 AM »
I don't know about the US, but it certainly hasn't been low profile in the UK. To be honest following the Van Sant-style US remake of Death At a Funeral, there's really no point trying to find the logic behind Hollywood remakes.

Re: Let the Right One In Remake
« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2010, 01:31:54 PM »
Are people really that unwilling to watch subtitled films, or are they just not aware of these films because they're rarely marketed significantly outside their home countries?
This one was announced just before the original version was released in the UK – I joked that I was now going to wait for the remake so I didn’t have to read boring old subtitles.

In the case of Let Me In, I believe the production company licensed the English-language version of the book adaptation, rather than a remake of the film… but that’s how it’s been touted.

In answer to your question, I think it’s a combination of both factors. Check out user reviews on IMDB complaining that Pan’s Labyrinth is subtitled – the people there had checked out the film after great reviews, but didn’t realise it wasn’t an American film.

Although The Girl With A Dragon Tattoo (another subtitled film that is being remade) was shown in normal cinemas, if something is subtitled then the chances are that it’s only going to be shown an art-house cinema, meaning the potential audience is quite small. With something like The Girl With A Dragon Tattoo and Let The Right One In, there is going to be the potential of cleaning up because a lot of people won’t watch an subtitled film.

Years ago, a friend went with me to see Alex Cox’s Highway Patrolman – we had to make a trip to London, which was fairly close to us. Afterwards, he said that I hadn’t said it was subtitled – I hadn’t thought that would be an issue, which I said as I instinctively apologised, but my friend then said there was no need, he had loved it but if he had known, he wouldn’t have gone… and I think this experience lead him to study film at university.


Re: Let the Right One In Remake
« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2010, 01:35:12 PM »
I don't know about the US, but it certainly hasn't been low profile in the UK. To be honest following the Van Sant-style US remake of Death At a Funeral, there's really no point trying to find the logic behind Hollywood remakes.
There’s a French director (handily, I can’t remember his name) who was interviewed on Front Row about the large number of American remakes, there are of his films.

One thing he says he always hears every time from the American studios is “We love your film… we just want to make it even better.” His view is that their idea of how to do this is to remove what made it special in the first place.

Santa's Boyfriend

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Re: Let the Right One In Remake
« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2010, 06:08:29 PM »

In answer to your question, I think it’s a combination of both factors. Check out user reviews on IMDB complaining that Pan’s Labyrinth is subtitled – the people there had checked out the film after great reviews, but didn’t realise it wasn’t an American film.

I've met a few people who think I'm weird because I watch a lot of subtitled films.  I've been accused of not liking film in English, in fact, because the films I talk about being really great are often foreign.  I point out that if they weren't great they probably wouldn't get released here in the first place, but to no avail.

Remember Mark Lamar put subtitled films into Room 101, on the basis that "I like reading, I like watching movies, but not at the same time".  And then talked about how people who watch them being elitist snobs.  (What a common little oik.)

Re: Let the Right One In Remake
« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2010, 06:14:10 PM »
That surprises me, because I've always thought Lamarr took great pleasure in building himself up as a music snob

Re: Let the Right One In Remake
« Reply #9 on: July 02, 2010, 07:06:59 PM »
I'm quite interested to see how this pans out tbh, being more a fan of the novel than the film. In the end both movies will end up being adaptations of a superior book- neither will be definitive. And I'd quite like to see a more traditional "horror" approach to the source material, given the novel's quite staggering violence, which was cut (very stylishly, I admit) from the Swedish film.

Santa's Boyfriend

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Re: Let the Right One In Remake
« Reply #10 on: July 02, 2010, 07:10:01 PM »
That surprises me, because I've always thought Lamarr took great pleasure in building himself up as a music snob

Starts about 8 mins in, runs for about 2 mins and then goes into the next part

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HmMYGNMLGLg&feature=related


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wviSr6px42o&feature=related

Glebe

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Re: Let the Right One In Remake
« Reply #11 on: July 02, 2010, 11:57:27 PM »
Looks very well made, but seems too much like the original.

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Re: Let the Right One In Remake
« Reply #12 on: July 03, 2010, 12:08:51 AM »
Review of an 'almost finished' version of the remake:

http://www.cinemablend.com/new/Early-Review-Of-Let-Me-In-18873.html

Doesn't sound quite as banal as I expected, the treatment of Oskar/Owen's mother is a nice touch.

Santa's Boyfriend

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Re: Let the Right One In Remake
« Reply #13 on: July 03, 2010, 09:52:35 AM »
There's a couple of shots in the trailer that look identical.  I just can't see the point of it, but then I don't mind watching subtitled films.  I just wish the rest of the English speaking world would get over their fear of them!

It probably will be gorier, I seriously doubt the crotch shot will be in there though.

Ja'moke

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Re: Let the Right One In Remake
« Reply #14 on: July 25, 2010, 08:35:12 PM »
I've been going through a "world cinema" phase recently, and I watched Let The Right One In last week, a brilliant little movie. The remake does seem pointless based on that trailer, but I guess this way it will reach a wider audience, although the original does have a strong cult following amongst 'vampire fans' - it was praised by Alan Ball during the True Blood panel at Comic Con over the weekend, and the audience in attendance gave it raputorous applause.

I also watched The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo last night, which likewise is a very good film. I haven't read the books, my Mum has and she's been raving about them for a while now, I may have to borrow them.

Err, is there a foreign film thread?

Santa's Boyfriend

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Re: Let the Right One In Remake
« Reply #15 on: July 25, 2010, 11:01:41 PM »
Dragon Tattoo is a good film - I didn't think it quite succeeded though.  I need to see it again really because I have read the book and enjoyed it very much, so seeing a film version is always a strange experience, and it's difficult to gauge how good a film it is when you're constantly looking at where it differs.

Ja'moke

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Re: Let the Right One In Remake
« Reply #16 on: July 26, 2010, 12:40:35 PM »
Yeah, I imagine if I'd have read the book first that my experience of the film would differ greatly, but coming in to the film with no source material to compare it to, I enjoyed it for what it was. Brilliant perfromance by Noomi Rapace too.

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Re: Let the Right One In Remake
« Reply #17 on: July 27, 2010, 06:43:04 PM »
It won't be as bad as Van Sant's Psycho but I agree, what is the point?

If you're going to be all ignorant regarding point behind Gus Van Sant's Psycho then please refrain from mentioning it.

As for "Let Me In"...  The original Swedish film was a reasonably good adaptation of the original novel (screenplay by the book's author, no less!) but obviously beautifully shot.  But so many huge chunks of storyline were unused, I was hoping this Hammer version would pick up on some of that stuff and do something good with it.  But no, it looks like it's mostly based on the Swedish film.  Shame.

Re: Let the Right One In Remake
« Reply #18 on: July 27, 2010, 07:37:50 PM »
If you're going to be all ignorant regarding point behind Gus Van Sant's Psycho then please refrain from mentioning it.

Would you be a fan of this review by any chance? I don't agree with it, but it's certainly interesting.

Neomod

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Re: Let the Right One In Remake
« Reply #19 on: July 27, 2010, 10:00:30 PM »
If you're going to be all ignorant regarding point behind Gus Van Sant's Psycho then please refrain from mentioning it.

As for "Let Me In"...  The original Swedish film was a reasonably good adaptation of the original novel (screenplay by the book's author, no less!) but obviously beautifully shot.  But so many huge chunks of storyline were unused, I was hoping this Hammer version would pick up on some of that stuff and do something good with it.  But no, it looks like it's mostly based on the Swedish film.  Shame.

No, I'm a fan of the original. What was the point by the way?

Dark Sky

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Re: Let the Right One In Remake
« Reply #20 on: July 28, 2010, 11:56:03 PM »
Before I go on, I would like to point out that Psycho (1960) is one of my favourite films of all time.  I know it inside out and back to front.  I love it.  It's amazing.  Which isn't to say that I don't think it has flaws.  But that in itself part of the reason why Gus Van Sant's remake is interesting.

So, let's begin.

THE PLAYER

Van Sant is obviously not a mainstream director, and has had few hits.  He mixes more crowd pleasing fair like Good Will Hunting and Milk with respected classics such as My Own Private Idaho, and highly pretentious avant garde art films such as Gerry, or the delicious Elephant.

Psycho 98 appears to stick out like a sore thumb in the midst of his resume as an exploitative, commercial, mainstream horror remake.  We're used nowadays to endless remakes of noted horror classics, each one slightly more blasphemous than the last.  But this wasn't so true back in 1998. 

THE TIME

The idea of anyone other than Hitchcock remaking a Hitchcock classic was unthinkable (though of course 1998 was also the year of the forgettable Christopher Reeve version of Rear Window!).  But at the time Van Sant's thinking was that the films which usually got remade were ones which were forgotten in the public memory; ones which had maybe a good idea, but which were flawed. 

THE IDEA

Gus Van Sant wanted to try something different.  He wanted to see what would happen if he remade what is arguably the most famous film in cinema history.

So that was the first idea behind the experiment, which doesn't even seem particularly shocking now, I know.

The second part of it was the potentially more interesting one:  he wanted to make the film in the same way.  The same shots, the same sets.  He even wanted to recreate the same feel in the effects shots, so when you get the weird floaty feel as Arboghast tumbles backwards down the steps, caused by the rear projection, he wanted to create the same effect (though this time via greenscreen).

The question with this was:  why?  Why do it the same? 

WHY???

The answer I think he gave was that he wanted to see what would happen if you made a very famous film again today, in exactly the same way as before - so basically trying to recapture all the artistic temperament of the original artist - and yet in a modern production set in the present day with contemporary actors...  Would it stand up for a new audience?  Would a new audience be more willing to see that rather than the orignal?  Would it cause the same response as the original?  Whose film would it then be...a Hitchcock, or a Van Sant?  Maybe the whole idea of authorship in film would also be questioned.

Now, I'm not saying that that was a good reason to make the film, at all.  But those were his reasons.

The trouble with Psycho 98 is that as an experiment it is very, very fascinating.  And I think it is very, very fascinating for two reasons.

REASON ONE WHY PSYCHO 98 IS FASCINATING:

Psycho 98 is fascinating as a companion piece to the original film in that it shows what might have been.  What do I mean by, "what might I been?"  Well, this is due in part to the second reason why Psycho 98 is fascinating.

REASON TWO WHY PSYCHO 98 IS FASCINATING:

Gus Van Sant wanted to make a shot for shot remake.  But he got it wrong.  Wrong.  WRONG!  He got it wrong!  Over and over and over again, he did things wrong!  NOW...these things are WRONG in FOUR (4) distinct ways.

1)  Some of these things which are WRONG! in the "shot for shot" remake of Psycho are very much deliberate... 

For example, he chose to film in colour, when Hitchcock chose to film in black and white.  This is genuinely fascinating.  Really, really, really fascinating.  People tend to speak about how he chose to do it in colour so that he could spruce up the murder scenes with lots of bright, red blood.  But that's only a small part of the way colour is used in Psycho 98.  The reason I love the use of colour in Psycho 98 is actually because of a very, very obvious and simple decision they took very early on that the predominant colour of Psycho is...GREEN.  Yes.  Green.  The green eyed monster.  The world of Psycho is a world steeped in jealousy.  Marion Crane's jealousy of Sam's wife, leading her to feel the wrath of Mother's jealousy of the nice girls Norman is attracted to.  Green is imbued throughout Psycho 98, from its use during the title sequence, to the clothes Marion Crane wears, and many, many more examples you should watch out for next time you view the film.  (Basically I can't remember them all!)

Other changes were done to modernise the setting and make it seem more relevant to today...which does genuinely work.  When you watch the original Psycho you forget that it was a contemporary thriller because you're marvelling at the old fashioned clothes and the cars.  So seeing Psycho 98 update the fashions and the look is actually quite wonderfully thrilling.  There's a TV set in the motel room!  And she's stealing $400,000 instead of $40,000 which seems more right and relevant, obviously.  It brings the story into the present day, which has the effect of making it seem less like something which happens to someone in a shonky old B-movie, and more something which could happen to someone here and now.  Or rather, then.  This film is twelve years old now. It gives it a curious sense of the familiar juxtaposed with the fantasy which a modern viewer no longer gets from the original because it ALL seems slightly fantastical.  In the original you almost accept the creepy gothic mansion next to the creepy, old fashioned motel.  Whereas in 98 the creepy gothic mansion next to the modern looking motel really does seem startingly out of place.  I'm not saying that you can't put yourself in that mindset when you watch the 1960's film, but I think it is easier in the 98 version.  Slightly.


2) He chose to add in shots and dialogue which Hitchcock intended to have in the film, but which he either couldn't achieve or which were censored. 

As a hardcore Psycho 1960 nut this is really one of the most exciting things about this film.  A couple of examples... 

During the scene near the start with the wealthy guy dropping off money which Marion offers to take to the bank, Marion pretends she has a headache and the wealthy tycoon tells her she should head to Las Vegas.  She counters by saying she's going to spend the weekend "in bed".  The wealthy tycoon originally then said, "ah, bed!  Only place you can have more fun than Las Vegas!"  This line was cut by censors for the 1960 version of the film, and yet is presented in Psycho 98 in all its wonderful, risqué glory, ready to shock the ears of a 1998 audience. 

Another bit of censored footage from 1960 was a shot of Marion reaching to take her bra off as Norman watches her.  This is reinstated in Psycho 98, but unfortunately also has the sound of Norman masterbating over the top of it.  Unecessary.

A more interesting bit of censoring to Psycho 1960 was during the shower murder scene.  Originally Hitchcock had filmed an overhead shot of the deceased Marion slumped over the side of the bath, buttocks on display, the rest of her body flumped at an odd angle over the floor.  This shot perfectly captured the pathetic fragility of the human body, yet was deemed too...what?  I'm not sure.  Horrible?  Too much butt-crack in shot?  I really don't know, but it was cut from the 1960 film.  Van Sant's film has this shot in place, and it is a beautiful, beautiful shot.  I adore it so much, I wish it were still in the original.


Another change Van Sant included in Psycho 98 which Hitchcock couldn't achieve was the very very opening shot of the film.  Originally Hitchcock wanted to have a long, tracking shot of a city scape.  The camera is being choosy about where it's going, before eventually settling on a high rise building to approach.  As it nears the building, it dips and ducks before eventually settling on a window to choose to enter.  The camera enters the building, and we're with Marion and Sam, post coital.  Hitchcock couldn't achieve this rather wonderful idea for a shot because - I believe - camera technology wasn't good enough to keep a steady image whilst on a helicopter.  Instead he opted for a montage of different tracking shots pieced together. 
Van Sant decided he wanted to do the original shot, and in a complete fit of bravado managed to get it completely and utterly WRONG!  Instead of the camera seemingly "choosing" a window to enter (mimicking a fly [an extended piece of imagery throughout Psycho] or a game of chance as to whose story we are going to be watching during the film...chance, and the idea of fate and destiny are more themes you could argue are present throughout Psycho's story) he instead went for a long, lazy, languid, steady pan in a straight line right into the window. It's beautifully executed, but it does not equal what Hitchcock originally wanted.  See more stuff Van Sant "just absolutely plain got wrong" in point (4), below.


3) Third, he put in additional shots, extended sequences and imagery which were purely of his own devising.

It's weird, this, because it seems to completely invalidate his second reasoning for wanting to make the film.  Why slavishly follow Hitchcock's vision of the film for an experiment, and then RANDOMLY DO YOUR OWN THING?!  It's just...bizarre!  The most obvious examples are during the murder sequences, where interspersed with the quick cut montages of knives brushing against bare flesh it randomly cuts to - for no readily good reason - pictures of storm clouds, a naked lady wearing a blindfold, and - bizarre but true - a cow.  Now, I could be generous and say that these are metaphors for bursts of built up anger/jealousy, the blind fragility of destiny, and the idea of butchery.  Or else I could say, it's crap, Gus, and it takes you out of the moment.  A stunningly vivid, intimate and extremely tangible sequence like that shower murder montage does NOT work when you are removed from the scene with shots of clouds and are simply reminded that it is just an arty montage of disparate film pieces.  No, Gus.  Bad Gus.  But still...interesting how it fails to work.

One of the major changes Van Sant added to Psycho 98 is during the climax of the film.  Now this is probably the only moment in the original where I feel Hitchcock made a miss-step.  In the original, when Lila discovers that Mrs Bates is dead, she is disturbed by Norman, dressed as his mother, wielding a knife.  But before this can really register with you, he is grabbed from behind by Sam Loomis, and the tension is over. 
Van Sant plays the beats a bit slower.  We see Norman advance on Lila, and we see that he is dressed as Mother, and that he is armed.  There is thus an extended sequence of Lila in jeapordy before Sam arrives on the joint and saves her.  And I approve of that change, I do.  Especially considering Van Sant steps up the bird imagery (prevalent throughout Psycho in every nook and cranny and character name and frame and element of that film by gum there's birds everywhere and they all mean something my god what a brilliant, brilliant film) by incorporating an entire aviary of the feathery buggers down there.  Brilliant and beautiful.


4) Fourth, he just absolutely plain got stuff wrong.

Van Sant is a fool.  He gives with one hand and takes with the other.  I've mentioned the opening tracking shot which he botched up above by entirely failing to mimick a fly despite still showing one on the windowsill.
So much care was taken to recreate sets such as Norman's parlour.  They got all the birds in the right place.  When Marion stands up to leave and announces she's going to take a shower, in the 98 version as in the 1960 version there's still the black crow of death staring straight at her in the background. 
Also remember how in the 1960 film there's this marvellous shot when Norman is talking in his chair in the parlour, and you can see the huge wings of this beautiful owl in the corner of the room, bearing over him, encompassing him.  The owl, symbolising both his mother, preying on Norman, and also Norman himself...  An owl preys on smaller birds (Marion Crane from Phoenix, name of a bird, place of a bird, described as eating like a bird, one of two pictures of birds knocked off the wall when Norman finds her dead) and Norman is a taxidermist and stuffs them...  OH!  Too much symbolism, but it's amazing.  Amazing!  And then he leans forwards in his chair, and the camera doesn't move so the owl is still up there.  And he's talking about his mother, with that owl still looking over him in the corner of the screen.  BRILLIANT, Hitchcock!  Superb!
And then in Psycho 98, all the ingredients are there...  The owl, the chair, the dialogue.  And then Norman leans forwards and.......THE CAMERA MOVES WITH HIM.  The owl goes out of shot.  The imagery is gone, the metaphor weakened.
He gives with one hand, he takes with the other.  Oh Gus.


CONCLUSION

Is Psycho 98 a good film?  Does it stand up in its own right? 

Personally I think the answer to these questions is "no".  It isn't a good film, and it doesn't work. 

As an experiment, it's fascinating.  But as an experiment it is also majorly flawed because nothing in it is consistent.  It's not entirely accurate to the original film, however much they tried to replicate the feel of rear projection or recorded the score using rusty old microphones.  And yet it doesn't do enough differently to make it work as its own film.  It is interesting to note that all the performances in 98 feel fresh and work on their own (Anne Heche, William H Macy and Julianne Moore are all brilliant because they do their own thing), and the one thing which lets it all down is Vince Vaughn, who rather than trying to come up with his own performance instead mimicks Anthony Perkins.  And fails completely.  I do believe that if Vince Vaughn (or a better actor) had tried something new, the film would have worked a lot better.
Also the hybrid nature of the film just makes it seem neither one thing nor the other.  They're using the same script and the same shots, and yet some sequences have more modern jump-cut editing in them.  The film is absolutely gloriously filmed in colour with sumptious cinematography and - I'm sure - as many tricks post production grading can pull to make every shot, especially the shots of the Bates' house look as beautiful and creepy and possible.  And yet it still has this old fashioned score over the top of it, only slightly rejigged by Elfman and Bartek.

What if they'd had a better actor for Norman?  What if they'd modernised the score?  What if it wasn't a shot by shot remake but a completely new intepretation of the same story?  A new script based on the old cheap Robert Bloch 150 page thriller?  I'm much more interested in that, to be honest.

And yet at the same time...  Psycho 98 gives glimpses of bits and bobs of what the 1960 film could have been.  It gives glimpses of how the 1960 film would have looked at the time; i.e., contemporary, using contemporary actors, yet fails in that respect because it's tied to its 1960's filmmaking roots.  It's fascinating to me because I adore the original film, and don't find the whole premise insulting or blasphemous, but instead see it as a companion piece.  And that's how I think people should view the remake.  Almost as a DVD extra. 

If anything, Psycho 98 makes me appreciate the original film even more.  And if just in that respect, I am very grateful that it exists.  But to compare it to Hollywood remakes of foreign films is a major no-no for me.  Because the Hammer Let Me In has been made because they think they'll make more money off an English language version of a very well made Swedish film.  Whereas Gus Van Sant made Psycho 98 for entirely different reasons, whether you consider them foolish reasons or not.