Must-watch Mondays: Films that have been remade

Must-watch Mondays

The top three films you should be watching this week

This week: Scandinavian films that have been remade (but the originals are way better)


Okay, so maybe we can’t get over the news we broke last Friday in which Force Majeure is in talks to be remade. We’ve discussed it on both Facebook and Twitter and everyone seems to agree that Scandinavian films are always better. So, here’s our list of the top three films that have been remade, but the original Scandinavian ones are definitely better and worth watching.

Insomnia1. Insomnia

Original: Insomnia, 1997, Norway. Stars Stellan Skarsgård and the midnight sun of Tromsø. 

Remake: Insomnia, 2002, USA. Stars Al Pacino and Robin Williams

In a Norwegian city with a 24-hour daylight cycle a Swedish murder investigator has been brought in on a special case. Sleep deprived, he makes a horrible mistake which is discovered by the killer he has been hunting.

This film is easily one of the quintessential Nordic Noir films. Before Nordic Noir was the huge success it is today, 90s films such as Insomnia and Hunters were paving the way and defining the genre conventions in cinema. This film uses nature as a key source to the story (also the theme of issue 9 of our magazine), and it acts as a kind of antagonist, putting protagonist and cop Stellan Skarsgård into a dreamy state of consciousness. We absolutely love how this film combines Norway and noir, and if anyone is interested in the Nordic Noir TV we see today, we suggest going back and watching this one. We haven’t seen the remake, but it was very well received. However, without the key setting of Tromsø, we just don’t see how it could’ve translated well.


Original: Brothers, 2004, Denmark. Stars Nikolaj Lie Kaas and Ulrich Thomsen 

Remake: Brothers, 2009, USA. Stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Toby McGuire

Michael has everything under control: a successful military career, a beautiful wife and two daughters. His younger brother Jannik is a drifter, living on the edge of the law. When Michael is sent to Afghanistan on a UN mission the balance between the two brothers changes forever. Michael is missing in action – presumed dead – and Sarah is comforted by Jannik, who against all odds shows himself capable of taking responsibility for both himself and the family. It soon becomes clear that their feelings have developed beyond mutual sympathy. When Michael comes home, traumatized by being held prisoner in the mountains of Afghanistan, nothing is the same…

We haven’t seen this film (we’ll have to watch it this week now!), but we’ve heard wonderful things. After all, it’s directed by Susanne Bier and written by Anders Thomas Jensen. The film, like many Danish films from that era, is an intense psychological drama exploring complicated relationships and focusing on the war as a key theme. It’s one of those films that makes you think, so we’ll be watching it alongside you this week. Let us know if you liked it! The remake had average scores of 6/10, but we can see how it fits into an American theme. However, we doubt it is as ‘deep’.

Let the Right One In3. Let the Right One In

Original: Let the Right One In, 2008, Sweden

Remake: Let Me In, 2010, USA

Oskar, a bullied 12-year old, dreams of revenge. He falls in love with Eli, a peculiar girl. She can’t stand the sun or food and to come into a room she needs to be invited. Eli gives Oskar the strength to hit back but when he realizes that Eli needs to drink other people’s blood to live he’s faced with a choice. How much can love forgive? Set in the Stockholm suburb of Blackeberg in 1982.


Here’s one we all know and love! The original has been a huge success worldwide due to its unique storyline, dark suburbia, and excellent take on the vampire lore. Based on a novel, it fits well into the Nordic Noir genre and tops many lists of ‘the best foreign language films’. So if it’s so great and loved worldwide, why was it remade? The remake is apparently not good at all, and doesn’t include many of the variations that make the Swedish story excellent. It has also been announced that Let the Right One In is being developed into an American television series, so it is with a heavy heart that we end the list with such bad news.


All of these films are available on DVD with subs. Check out Amazon.co.uk


Tell us what you think of this list below!

Email us your lists to contribute@cinemascandinavia.com

Emma Vestrheim

Emma Vestrheim is the editor-in-chief of Cinema Scandinavia. Originally from Australia, she is now based in Bergen, Norway, and attends major Nordic film festivals to conduct interviews and review new films.