A&E has recently redefined itself, unexpectedly, as a channel devoted to dark remakes (although to be fair, everyone is remaking everything these days). It kicked off with Bates Motel (now in its third season), a prequel to Psycho, and recently started up with a remake of the French series The Returned. In both cases, the results have been moody, atmospheric, and able to do something new with the remade material.
Still, news from THR that A&E has acquired the story rights to Let the Right One In, Tomas Alfredson‘s exceptional 2008 Swedish film (based on John Ajvide Lindqvist‘s book) is cause for trepidation. (The film was already remade into an American version in 2010, but why stop there?)
A&E won out over Showtime in a bidding war for the story, and will have Teen Wolf showrunner Jeff Davis at the helm of their adaptation, with the assistance of Brandon Boyce (Apt Pupil), who has also been an actor on Teen Wolf.
Let’s all take a deep breath. Here is the thing. It’s easy to freak out when a beloved property is restructured into something else and remade. Fans of international film and TV know this is nothing new. Sometimes (usually) it’s a colossal failure. Extremely rarely, it’s better than the original. Most of the time it’s just mediocre.
Bates Motel and The Returned are two interesting examples of how this can work out for the good. Bates Motel, though tied to and ultimately beholden to Psycho, has truly become its own strange, fascinating series that has found a way to be extremely creative within its confines. The Returned is a shot-for-shot remake of the French series — at least, to start — but it still manages to capture the original’s tone, and, it promises to potentially improve on the original’s insane ending (the mythology is not above some definite tweaking, so it will be worth seeing The Returned‘s take on it).
Most of the TV landscape is littered with bad remakes or off-brand rip-offs of much better shows or films. Further, Let the Right One In doesn’t need any tweaking, and its film-length format fits its story perfectly.
Regardless, it’s happening, so we’ll have to wait and see how A&E puts their twist on it, and whether or not we can cautiously embrace the idea, or howl angrily at the creative injustice.
If you haven’t watched the original film, stop everything and do so immediately. Here is the synopsis and the original trailer:
A fragile, anxious boy, 12-year-old Oskar is regularly bullied by his stronger classmates but never strikes back. The lonely boys wish for a friend seems to comes true when he meets Eli, also 12, who moves in next door to him. But Eli’s arrival coincides with a series of gruesome deaths and attacks. Though Oskar realizes that she’s a vampire, his friendship with her is stronger than his fear… Swedish filmmaker Tomas Alfredson weaves friendship, rejection and loyalty into a disturbing, darkly atmospheric, yet unexpectedly tender tableau of adolescence.