Which book have I read that was turned into a movie and completely desecrated?
Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist
Even though I like horror films, I never, ever read books about Vampires, and that includes the popular Twilight series. Nah! No! Never!I have no specific reason, they just seem rather pointless to me. A little unreal, perhaps? So how did I come to read a book about people of the night?
I had to read a Swedish book for a book club, and this was the one I chose. And guess what, it was fantastic. This romantic horror is really about more serious life themes than Vampires. The ‘Vampiring’ is a minor side plot, that does not really take centre stage at all.
You’ll read more about relationships and adolescent bullying, love and revenge than sucking one’s blood and world domination! But I digress, we were talking about the movie that was completely desecrated.
The 2008 Swedish film version of Let the Right One in, won a string of awards, but the American remake retitled: ‘Let me in’ , failed dismally. Despite receiving positive reviews, it did not do well at the box office. Why? Because culture, atmosphere and “feel” is as difficult to translate as humour. If you read any Scandinavian crime fiction, you will know what I am alluding to. A Scandi crime novel can be descriptive, foreboding, dark, yet entrancing to read. An American/Australian crime novel is raw, rough, in your face, and the descriptive elements are restricted to sex scenes or rape. It is the same with the movies.
Americans are very good at making American stories, but I don’t feel the same emotion from watching an American story as a Swedish one. And it is not just the language. It can be cinematography, locations, lighting, dialogue, the chemistry between the actors, what is not said as much as what is.
Before I hear a protest from my American friends, I also think an Australian or other international version, would not have captured the essence or magic of the Swedish version, either.
The Director himself expressed reluctance about the American version and several changes were made for the English (American) version, such as altering the setting from Stockholm, Sweden, to New Mexico and renaming the lead characters. The film’s producers stated that their intent was to keep the plot similar to the original, yet make it more accessible to a wider audience.”What’s missing is the alluring otherness of Let the Right One In. Let Me In puts the emotional pressure in different places”, says one reviewer.
Everything about Let the Right one In is thought through. Where a more traditional horror film might have opted for endless ultra violence or else cut everything out in favor of a kiddie friendly rating. director Tomas Alfredson steers the line right down the middle. When the violence comes it is brutal and horrific, but it is never dwelt upon. We are left to question what we just saw rather than see kidneys on display.And then there is the quiet, understated ending. Some will find it haunting, others will find it whimsical, I went back and forth more than a few times. No two people will have the same understanding.
“Let the Right One In” is, at its heart, a sweet coming-of-age story which is so unique and different that it simply defies categorization. In this Swedish film, adapted from John Ajvide Lindqvist’s bestselling book, director Tomas Alfredson dares to mix pleasure and pain in a way that is both horrifying and tender.
A romantic horror that is better in Book or subtitled movie form, the English version is something best not to ponder about.
Join in with this challenge by leaving a comment and pingback. Running through November 2014.
DAY 8. – Most underrated book.
DAY 9. – Most overrated book.
DAY 10. – A book you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving.
DAY 11. – Favorite classic book.
DAY 12. – A book you wanted to read for a long time but still haven’t.
DAY 13. – A book that disappointed you.
DAY 14. – Book that made you cry.
DAY 15. – A character who you can relate to the most.
DAY 16. – Most thought-provoking book.
DAY 17. – Author I wish people would read more.
DAY 18. – A book you wish you could live in.
DAY 19. – A favourite author.
DAY 20. – Favorite childhood book.
DAY 21. – Book you tell people you’ve read, but haven’t (or haven’t
DAY 22. – Least favourite plot device employed by way too many books you actually
DAY 23. – Best book you’ve read in the last 12 months.
DAY 24. – Book you’re most embarrassed to say you like/liked.
DAY 25. – The most surprising plot twist or ending.
DAY 26. – Book that makes you laugh out loud.
DAY 27. – Book that has been on your “to read” list the longest.
DAY 28. – Favorite quote from a book.
DAY 29. – A book you hated.
DAY 30. – Book you couldn’t put down.