Leave the good in the first review – “Anything for Blood”

Leave the one on the right in premieres on Showtime on October 9, with new episodes every week.

John Ajvide Lindqvist’s 2004 novel Let the Right One In has already been turned into two excellent horror films: a 2008 Swedish film he wrote the screenplay and a 2010 edition by Matt Reeves who moved the story to Reagan-era New Mexico. Now it’s getting the series treatment, and while Showtime’s premiere Leave the one on the right in promises a solid vampire thriller, it’s one that has far less in common with the source material than previous adaptations.

In this version of the story, 12-year-old Eleanor Kane (Madison Taylor Baez) has been turned into a vampire, and she and her devoted father, Mark Kane (Demián Bichir), have spent a decade chasing rumors of other deaths. -living in search of a cure. This quest brings them back to New York City, which is gripped by a series of gruesome murders investigated by Detective Naomi Cole (Anika Noni Rose). Coincidentally, the Kanes move in next door to Naomi, where her son, Isaiah (Ian Foreman), befriends Eleanor.

The way key plot elements from Lindqvist’s novel have been recombined fundamentally changes the tone of the story. The vampire child has already been described as much older. Although they’re supposed to be her father, the men in her life are actually part of a twisted cycle of manipulation. The troubled boys she charms are just the latest over-willing victims who will end up spending the rest of their lives helping to protect and nurture her.

These changes basically soften all the characters involved. Mark is described as brutally ruthless but feels less like a hardened predator and more like the protagonist of the 2022 Swedish thriller black crab – a distraught parent ready to do great harm for the good of his child. Eleanor’s stunted nature is always frightening, with Baez doing a great job of conveying both her innocent joy at a trip to a museum and the angst she feels about the realities of her monstrous nature. But by making her much younger, she comes across as a relative innocent struggling with a beast within her rather than a horrible parasite that feeds on both blood and empathy.

Isaiah is a lovable kid shunned for his love of magic tricks, which Naomi says makes him an easy target for bullying. It’s a far cry from the borderline sociopaths brutally tortured by their peers who have served as the protagonists of previous versions of the story. Making Isaiah’s mother a detective and protagonist in her own right rather than just giving her an aloof, oblivious parent further removes the vulnerability at the heart of her story. Modern New York also seems like the wrong setting for a work deeply rooted in suburban desperation. The trendy restaurant where Mark finds work with an old friend feels more like an excuse to show off where he picked up his impressive knife skills than a setting that actually belongs in this dark history.

Just as important as what Let The Right One In removes is what it adds. By focusing on the search for a cure rather than mere survival of the vampire, the series delves much deeper into mythology than its brooding predecessors. The first features two entirely new plot arcs – a street drug that appears to temporarily give people who take it vampiric powers and a more scientific search for a cure led by Sackler-like pharmaceutical billionaire Arthur Logan (Željko Ivanek) .

Demian Bichir’s combination of charm and vulnerability anchors the emotional stakes.

Both storylines look promising and intertwine down to Eli and Mark, setting the stage for a rich mystery involving vampirism that feels a bit like The passage. Bichir’s combination of charm and vulnerability helps ground the emotional stakes even as the former ensures he’s not an overly sympathetic character through an act of brutality that challenges the idea that he could be forgivable. to simply kill “bad guys”.

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