Apr. 15th, 2011

greygirlbeast: (Default)
On Monday, I learned that "As Red As Red" has been nominated for the Shirley Jackson Award, as has the anthology in which it was published, Ellen Datlow's Haunted Legends (Tor).

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No work yesterday, aside from email. No good excuse. The words were in my head, and the deadlines are pressing in about me. Still, I fucked off to nowhere in particular. Spooky got back from the mechanic (the bill was bad, but less than expected, and we're pretending that faulty crankshaft will last forever), and I realized that I'd not left the house since Sunday. So, I tagged along while Spooky ran assorted errands. For a while, the sun was warm on my face, and there were the first hints of green, and, here and there, blooming things. All traces of motivation and enthusiasm, enthusiasm for anything at all, faded from me. I dozed in the van. I looked through the windows at the shadows along Benefit Street. I ate a handful of jelly beans. On the way home, we stopped at Acme Video (but I'm coming to that).

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Last night, we watched Let Me In, Matt Reeves' remake of Tomas Alfredson's Låt den rätte komma in, which, of course, was adapted from John Ajvide Lindqvist's novel of the same title. I avoided Reeves' film in the theater, which seemed like the best course of action. I couldn't see the point of it. Even if Reeves' film turned out good, he was still remaking a very new and very excellent film. An endeavor which would be, at best, pointless. And then I learned that the issue of Eli's gender was being removed from the script, which goes a long way towards gutting the story. Eli becomes Abby, and Abby's just a "girl," and all ambiguity is removed. To make things worse, I happened across an interview with Reeves (which I tried to find again, and have been unable to*) in which he was very open about his beliefs that these changes were necessary for the story to be appreciated by an American audience. So, no. I didn't go see it.

I also swore I wouldn't see the DVD.

Regardless, last night, we watched Matt Reeves' film. I tried very hard to judge this film only on its own merits, not relative to Alfredson's. And I failed. But then so does Matt Reeves. Spooky and I often happen upon interesting indie horror films that we'd never heard of, and which turn out to be quite good. Had it not been for the masterful Låt den rätte komma in, Reeves' film might have struck us that way. A pretty good little coming-of-age vampire story. I might even have applauded its grittiness and willingness to take child characters places lots of filmmakers wouldn't have. Instead, Let Me In came across as rushed and disjointed. Even dull. We both actually almost fell asleep.

There are places where the film is a shot-by-shot remake of Låt den rätte komma in, which, again, makes judging it on its own merits difficult. And what was all that business with "Owen's" mother being a religious maniac? I thought, oh...okay...she'll be the one "Abby" bites, the one who lives, then dies in the hospital-room conflagration, having learned she's become the thing she professes to hate, and hey, okay, that might be kind of interesting. But no. Nothing of the sort. Chloe Moretz, who entirely won me over in Kick Ass, radiated nothing of the quiet, innocent threat we saw from Lina Leandersson. And that kid who played "Owen" is about as interesting to watch as a bowl of Cream of Wheat. Is this actually the same actor who appeared in The Road? It's hard to fucking believe. Also, sure, there are more special effects in Reeves' film. Because that's what Americans do. So what?

Verdict: Let Me In is a very mediocre little horror film, if you've never seen Låt den rätte komma in, and if you can set aside the homophobic/transphobic politics that turned Eli into "Abby." But if you passionately love the Swedish film, as did I, and if you expect anything like its depth and Alfredson's marvelous study of mood and atmosphere and character, you're up shit creek. A very shallow shit creek. My advice would be to watch Låt den rätte komma in. It's actually a good film and worthy of your time and attention. To call Matt Reeves' remake unnecessary is a gross understatement.

I never go into a film with the intention of hating it. You know, watching (or reading) something just to earn the rights to kvetch. And I should have kept my promise and avoided this remake.

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I've ended the keyboard auction. I realize now that I made the incredibly dumb mistake of putting it up just as taxes are due. Maybe I'll list it again in a month or two. My thanks to everyone who looked in, though, and everyone who spread the word.

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Aside from the film, not much to last night but Rift. Selwyn made Level 26. I genuinely wish that MMORPGs would offer you the opportunity to tell whining, cowering townspeople to butch up and take care of their own problems or shut the fuck up. It could add a whole new set of stats. Another sort of reputation rating or something. I often have that reaction, and I was having it a lot last night, as the people of Granite Falls (Telara's answer to Deadwood, I think) asked me to do this and then that menial task. For example, the nurse who was too squeamish to take blood. Um...okay. The Ascendant are these super beings, essentially demigods, and we spend a significant amount of our time searching out lost lockets for mourning widows and putting meat in the tables of people apparently too lazy or incompetent to do it for themselves. Yeah, that makes sense.

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And now...well...we'll see.

* I intend to continue looking for it, though.

Postscript: My thanks to [livejournal.com profile] readingthedark who appears to have found the interview I'm remembering: "Hammer Film's Simon Oakes Promises Scary, Accessible 'Let Me In'". But I may also have read this, which [livejournal.com profile] sovay tracked down: "Matt Reeves Interview LMI DVD,Talks About Abby's Gender." Both contain equally offensive and idiotic comments.

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Caitlín R. Kiernan

February 2012

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