2008’s Let The Right One In is one of my favorite movies. Tomas Alfredson’s adaptation of John Ajvide Lindqvist’s book is a poetic, dark, and deeply creepy look at the developing relationship between a sad, blond little Swedish boy (is there any other kind?) named Oskar (Kare Hedebrant) and his new next-door neighbor, Eli, a pale, slight girl who also just happens to be a centuries-old vampire (Lina Leandersson). Though it’s a horror film—and a terrifying one at that—it’s also strangely romantic and spare; even the most shocking, violent scenes (including one in a pool that haunts me to this day) are permeated by that particularly Swedish strain of ennui and muted despair. (Seriously though, why is Sweden so sad, and is that why they make the best movies ever?)
Critics loved it—the movie earned a BAFTA nomination and won no fewer than 76 awards at film fests and from critics groups around the world—so obviously, America saw cartoon dollar signs in its cartoon eyes and remade it only two years later, retitling it Let Me In (simpler, because words are confusing) and casting Kodi Smit-McPhee and Chloë Grace Moretz as the leads. Let Me In is all right, but it’s predictably Hollywood-ized and diluted, not nearly as magical or surreal as its predecessor. Also, it’s not Swedish, which is incredibly unfortunate.
Let The Right One In was also adapted for the stage, with well-reviewed, sold-out runs at London’s Royal Court Theatre and in the West End (both of which are not in Sweden). And because a story isn’t a story until every medium sinks its teeth into it and sucks it dry, A&E is now adapting it for the small screen, and I am going to produce a small, shadow-puppet iteration in my apartment. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the network landed the rights to the story after engaging in a bidding war with Showtime, and will team with Teen Wolf showrunner Jeff Davis and actor-screenwriter Brandon Boyce (Wicker Park) for the project.
If you’re counting, this marks the network’s third recent (and very bleak) remake, following Bates Motel and The Returned, a just-premiered adaptation of the French series of the same name. (Side note: Just watch the original The Returned on Netflix; it is mind-blowingly great and there is no earthly way that A&E’s version will live up to it). It also marks the 4 millionth TV remake of a movie that nobody wants a TV remake of—as THR points out, this year’s also seen pilot orders for reboots of Rush Hour (CBS), Problem Child (NBC), Uncle Buck (ABC), and, I’m guessing, The Seventh Seal, starring Charlie Sheen as Antonius Block.