Swedish vampire movie Let The RIght One In drew much of its disturbing loveliness from its characterization, which in turn came from revealing dialogue. So why does the U.S. DVD version feature lobotomized subtitles?
Horror blog Icons Of Fright compared screengrabs from a screener DVD of the movie's theatrical release with the new official DVD. And the version which came out in stores last week features subtitles that are so dumbed down, they miss the point of most of the dialogue.
Take the whole exchange between Eli and Oskar, when Oskar asks where Eli lives. In the theatrical version, Eli says "I live right here, in the jungle gym." And Oskar says, "Seriously, where do you live?" To which Eli says, "Next door to you." And Oskar replies, "How do you know where I live?" In the DVD version, this is boiled down to: "I live here. Next to you."
Or compare these two different versions of the same exchange:
This is the hardest one for me to take, since the relationship between Eli and Håkan is the most disturbing and alarming thing in the movie. We never get a complete explanation of what's happened between the beautiful young-looking vampire, and the old man who serves as the vampire's protector and hunter. Håkan is such a pathetic person (an incompetent serial killer, a lover on his way out) that it's painful to watch at times. (I'm not going to give away the movie's ending, but the character study of Håkan also pays off in a rewarding and horrifying way.) I can't even imagine trying to watch the relationship between Eli and Håkan unfold in cro-magnon speak.
There's way more detail over at Icons Of Fright, but suffice to say this is the scariest thing I've seen in ages.