A few weeks ago, I wrote about a Swedish vampire book, Let Me In that was adapted as a Swedish horror film called Let The Right One In and soon to be playing in a theater near me. And last night it did and I saw it.
I have developed a guideline for myself when it comes to books and their movie adaptations; if I have read the book, I try to let a significant (say, at least six months) time pass before I see the film. If I don't, I end up being unable to watch the film without drawing direct comparisons to the book, which is distracting. Even more distracting is if you have favorite parts and the director decides to leave them out. Lastly, forgetting the film allows you to be surprised as you were in the book, but otherwise you are just waiting for things to happen.Of course, since I only finished reading the book a month ago, all three of these things happened during my viewing. I was able to enjoy the film, and my girlfriend, who had not read the book, enjoyed it, but it's tough to say that I'm entirely pleased with the adaptation.
I will say that at least they kept the ending intact, which is just one of the controversial parts of the excellent book. They, however, chose to leave out a lot of backstory, several major characters (the movie would have been at least thirty minutes longer), the pedophilia story (not surprising), the vampire zombie with a constant erection (really not surprising), and the history of a character having his penis chewed off (shocked, shocked we didn't get that special moment on film!).
I catch myself now getting too critical. What they kept in the movie were also some of the best parts of the book. The conversations between the two leads, the Rubik's cube (although I would have liked them to keep in the part where it is used as a weapon!), the beheadings, the concept of being invited in (can't really leave that out from a book called "Let Me In", can you?), the pool scene, and the morse code. The end, simultaneously touching and disturbing, makes you wonder just what a sequel would be like, and what would happen next. In the end, I've convinced myself: thumbs up for Swedish vampires.