Director: Matt Reeves Release date: November 5th Starring: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Chloe Moretz, Richard Jenkins Ranking eighth in US box office charts in its opening week, Let Me In (2010), the American remake of 2008’s Swedish dramatic horror <>Let The Right One In, hasn’t quite managed to rake in the kind of return its creators might have hoped for. With so many American remakes of “foreign” films (a rather crude way of describing films made in any language other than English) hitting western cinema screens it seems anomalous that Let Me In should do, relatively speaking, quite so poorly. Taking just $5.1 million over its opening weekend, a comparatively low figure when pitted against the likes of The Social Network (2010) which took $22.4 million in its first week and Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps which managed $19 million, Let Me In has all but failed. Most telling of all is that it made less still than the farce of a film that was Case 39 (2009) which managed $5.4 million in its opening weekend, the same week of release, last year. Question is, are audiences finally tiring of the horror genre or does Let Me In just get it wrong? Fascinatingly to the contrary, neither of these suggested reasons appear to be the motivation behind Let Me In’s poor box office performance. It is more likely in fact that Let Me In is doing badly because it’s not generic enough, and moreover because it’s too sophisticated – even as a commercial remake - to draw in the type of audiences its “model” would usually attract. A decent remake, respectful of the original film and true to its tone, Let Me In is intelligent and nuanced with only the occasionally misplaced use of CGI and slightly overwrought musical score bringing it down. The performances from its two central characters; Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee) and Abby (Chloe Moretz); are excellent and it sustains its tension equally as well as its original counterpart. But these qualities I sing as praises are its simultaneous successes and failures. For the mainstream audiences this film is aimed at; the very same audiences who are not willing to read subtitles and who, presumably, prefer their ASL (average shot length) to be around 10 seconds; watching a remake that would still be labeled “slow cinema” and that maintains the pace, aesthetic and atmosphere of its subtle, meditative original is hardly going to appeal. This relegates Let Me In as a remake for audiences who already enjoyed the original – but for those audiences, Let Me In will still only prove “a decent remake” at best. LTROI, a critical success, even if it didn’t fare at all well commercially (LTROI took a tiny 49K at the US box office in its opening weekend) is an extremely well measured take on what’s traditionally a groan-worthy generic exploration of adolescent “coming-of-age”. Vampirism in LTROI is far subtler than the usual spate of the sub-genre and the “horror” elements are, as a result, more suspenseful and gripping than they are gory or scream inducing. With only a few exceptions the remake follows the story and narrative of the original faithfully and does so with aplomb. For those unfamiliar with the story, it centres around two pre-teens who share a feeling of “otherness”; unable to fit in amongst their peers and coming from dysfunctional family homes, they meet on an estate, their socio-economic standing yet another of the unstable foundations and causal instigators for their experienced loneliness and isolation. The young boy at the heart of the film is Owen (Oskar in LTROI) who suffers daily at the hands of a school bully. When Abby (Eli in LTROI) arrives on the council estate Owen (Oskar) finally makes a friend, and maybe even a girlfriend. As Abby (Eli) teaches Owen (Oskar) to fight back it becomes clear that alone they both feel weak but together they bring about a newfound strength. One of the greatest successes of this relationship is that it can’t ever be sexual: Abby (Eli) is a vampire soul trapped in a young girl’s body and despite appearances “she” is not really gendered. I dare say that if they’d changed this one crucial aspect and put two slightly older (and legal) Hollywood hotties in the roles the film would probably have appealed to the type of audiences box office returns so frequently reflect. This of course would have made for a terrible film and an appalling remake, which is, unfortunately, a tragic sign of the times. Not quite ready to move towards art house sensibilities even when the language is English, the greatest shame surrounding Let Me In is that it may have closed the door on tasteful remakes.