Throwdown: Can You Read Subtitles?
Everyone loves to complain about movie remakes. It’s a fact of life and teh internets. And, while most of them tend to be superfluous (cough Platinum Dunes cough), it’s hard for me to get too up in arms. For example, when was the last time you actually watched A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)? Trust me, it doesn’t hold up well. Whether we like it or not, those kinds of remake$ aren’t going anywhere, and I’ve accepted that. What worries me is that the remake virus seems to be mutating into a far more insidious strain. Search for a cure after the jump.
If you’re the kind of person who seeks out foreign films, or even has them on your radar, you’ve heard of Let the Right One In. The haunting 2008 Swedish film tells the story of a vampire girl and the human boy who falls in love with her. If you just thought and/or said to yourself, “Oh, so it’s just like Twilight“, please exit your browser and run away, Simba. Run. Run away and never return!
Let the Right One In differs from its insipid American genre counterparts in two important ways.
- People other than your little sister thought it was good. Booyah.
- It’s really damn scary. You know, like a vampire movie is supposed to be. When Wade and I watched this, he had nightmares. I didn’t, but whatever.
Instead of releasing the film stateside, American studios decided it would be a better idea to just remake it in the English language. While highly illogical and somewhat insulting to the American movie-goer, I thought maybe this was an isolated incident. I was wrong. Prosecution Exhibit B: the 2009 film The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, an adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s incredibly disturbing novel of the same name.
Also Swedish, also critically acclaimed, also getting an English language remake while the paint’s still drying on the original. I will concede that sometimes the developments in technology and filmmaking that occur over several decades can be used to update a good story, provided said update occurs in the form of a remake and not some horrible “special edition”. Here’s looking at you, George. For an example of how this can be done well, see 2009’s Star Trek or 1982’s The Thing. But we’re not talking about old movies here. Both Let the Right One In and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo were made in the last two years! What’s going on here?