A few years ago while killing time in the airport before a flight back to the USA from Germany, I bought a spooky looking paperback to read on the plane. It was called So Finster die Nacht (So Dark the Night). The book jacket mentioned blood-drained corpses, and that usually makes for a good read.
I got through perhaps the first 150 pages on the flight, and things were off to a pretty good start, but then, as often happens with reading material I buy for the plane, once I got home and upacked, the book was quickly forgotten.
Then a couple months ago, at the recommendation of a colleague who knows of my fondness for vampire films, I watched the Swedish film Let the Right One In, and a few minutes into the film, things started feeling strangely familiar. "Hey, I've read this," I thought to myself.
I found the book I'd read on the plane in the stack of books on my nightstand, and I flipped through a few pages to refresh my memory. Sure enough, the movie was based on the novel by John Ajvide. (Called Låt den rätte komma in.)
If you haven't seen Let the Right One In, and you like a good vampire film (set in the gloom of a Swedish winter, no less), you really should watch it. It's a surprisingly touching film that that manages to combine fairly grisly horror with a sweet love story of two pre-teens (well, one seeming pre-teen and one real one) who each need someone to help them deal with the pain of being different.
I finally watched Let Me In a couple nights ago. My expectations were fairly low. I didn't think it would be possible to duplicate the unique air of macabre poignance of the Swedish film.
I was very pleasantly surprised. Neither a shot-for-shot remake of Let the Right One In, nor a ham-fisted Hollywood reworking of the orginal, Let Me In did an excellent job of keeping the horror intact without sacrificing the emotional tenderness that makes the story more than just a gory vampire flick with kids in the lead roles.
So in the end, I've enjoyed this story in three different incarnations. I've finished the novel, and now I've seen the two film versions of Ajvide's story. All have their grisly charm.
If you've seen both films, what did you think? I'm curious.