Film producer Simon Oakes knows the challenges he faces in remaking the cult film Let the Right One In, the 2008 vampire tale about two lonely kids who turn to each other in 1980s Sweden. Fan skepticism aside, his English language remake (titled Let Me In) isn't just aiming to become a successful mainstream genre film – intended, as he says, to make the core story by author John Ajvide Lindqvist more accessible to a wider audience – it will also effectively relaunch the renowned Hammer Films, the iconic British studio once known for '50s Gothic horror classics like The Curse of Frankenstein, Dracula, and The Mummy that all but disappeared during the '80s.
Speaking with journalists in Los Angeles, Oakes spoke at length about Let Me In, the lead-off film that will inaugurate this new reboot of the genre-focused studio. While he suspects that Let Me In will probably garner an R-rating ("I think this will be an R-rated picture," he said, but also noted that he'd like it to reach the widest possible audience), Oakes emphasized that story, rather than gore, is what's truly key to the Hammer philosophy. Despite Let Me In's mature content and boosted effects and scares, don't expect director Matt Reeves (Cloverfield) to go overboard like many modern horror flicks do. "The only thing on my watch that we won't do," Oakes promised, "is we won't make slasher pictures."
So why was Reeves the right director for the job? Which story elements have changed, and which remain the same? What made young actors Chloë Moretz and Kodi Smit-McPhee right to portray Owen and Abby, the Americanized versions of Let the Right One In's Oskar and Eli? Most importantly for fans of the original, why did anyone need to remake Let the Right One In at all?