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Let Me In: Why Did This Need to Get Remade, Again?

The box office numbers are in, and while The Social Network easily took number one for the weekend, the weekend's other new release (not counting the long-delayed Case 39) barely cracked the Top Ten. Let Me In is the remake of the Swedish film Let the Right One In, about a young vampire girl who moves into an apartment complex, next door to a bullied boy. It only pulled in $5.3 million, which puts it in eighth place, and raises the question, "Why bother remaking a movie that's only two years old, especially if you're going to remake it exactly?"

Seriously, pretty much the only thing that's different about this movie from the original is that it's in English, and set in New Mexico instead of Stockholm. (Although who knew it snowed that much in New Mexico? New Mexicans, probably.) Aside from a little story-order jiggering in the form of a flashforward-as-prologue, the story is reproduced nearly shot-for-shot -- hell, most of the dialogue is even reproduced verbatim. If they'd livened up the proceedings or updated the setting, it might be excusable, but the Swedish film's moody, art-house feel is kept fully intact, and it's still a period piece set in the 1980s. A quality redubbing would have achieved more or less the same effect.

And it's not like they took advantage of a bigger budget to add new special effects to the film. Sure, they replaced vampire girl Abby with a jerky, Smeagol-like CGI character whenever she attacks humans or climbs trees -- a mistake, in my opinion -- but they also removed an entire scene in which a vampire is attacked by a dozen computer-generated cats and knocked down a flight of stairs -- possibly an even bigger mistake, because it's hysterical. Chloe Moretz is great as Abby, as is Richard Jenkins as her guardian/blood-gatherer but it's not like they drastically improve on the performances of their Swedish counterparts. (Although Kodi Smit-McPhee is admittedly less amateurish than his predecessor as the main character Owen.)

Given the film's weak opening following an extensive ad campaign, maybe the industry needs to look at wider releases for certain foreign films, doing a better job with the dubbing and touting the new, English dialogue track. Granted, Let the Right One In only made $2 million in the U.S., but that's because it was only on 53 screens at its widest release. Another Swedish import, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, played on 200 screens at its peak, and it made $10 million. I guess we'll just have to see how well that film's Americanization does when it come out next year.

Did you see Let Me In? Let us know what you thought below, then see our guide to the creepiest vampires.

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