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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Let the Right one In is like no other vampire movie that I have ever
seen. It is smarter, scarier and more nuanced. It doesn't feel like a
thriller, it feels like literature.
The film, which details the bizarre misadventures of a pair of pre-teen star crossed lovers, one of whom is an androgynous vampire, is phenomenal in almost every regard. The details of young Oskar's (Kare Hedebrant) life are spot on. Stuck in that incredibly painful period of post-childhood, pre-adolescence, Oskar is aware of girls, but has no idea how to contend with them. He is small for his age and is brutalized by other boys as a result. He's terribly alone and collects news clips of violent crimes as a way of letting out his rage. One day a strange young girl named Eli (Lina Leandersson) appears on the playground. They become fast friends and things begin to look up for Oskar. Eli even (innocently) spends the night on occasion.
Meanwhile, we are privy to some things that Oskar doesn't know. As it happens, Eli's caretaker is a serial killer of the most brutal order, desanguinating his victims into a bucket. Soon, Oskar comes to realize that his new friend is a bit more than she seemed at first.
After a tragedy of shocking violence Eli is left to fend for herself, trying desperately to stave off the urge to drink fresh blood while also forming a delicate new bond with Oskar.
There is already a remake of Let the Right one In on the way. But don't wait for it. There is no way it could ever hope to capture the magic of the original. It's not just that this film is gorgeously shot. Not just that it is impeccably written. Not just that it is fully realized with an unmatched respect for vampire lore. It is all in the acting. Even if the producers find two amazing young actors, the odds against recapturing the brilliant, melancholy chemistry are astronomical.
Everything about Let the Right one In is thought through. Where a more traditional horror film might have opted for endless ultra violence or else cut everything out in favor of a kiddie friendly rating. director Tomas Alfredson steers the line right down the middle. When the violence comes it is brutal and horrific, but it is never dwelt upon. We are left to question what we just saw rather than see kidneys on display.
Too, there is a great stillness to the film. The first half of the film it mimics Oskar's stage. Stuck in between. Never moving, with no hope of growth. But as things begin to change, it becomes apparent that the stillness is not for Oskar but rather for Eli. Oskar will grow up, change and become a man. Eli is stuck in a much more burdensome fate.
And then there is the quiet, understated ending. Some will find it haunting, others will find it whimsical, I went back and forth more than a few times. No two people will have the same understanding.
This is the kind of movie people beg for. Don't miss it. This is the first time since perhaps Silence of the Lambs that a horror film had a real chance to take home some Oscar gold. And not only that, it will deserve it.
"Let the Right One In" is, at its heart, a sweet coming-of-age story
which is so unique and different that it simply defies categorization.
In this Swedish film, adapted from John Ajvide Lindqvist's bestselling
book, director Tomas Alfredson dares to mix pleasure and pain in a way
that is both horrifying and tender.
"Let the Right One In" has a storyline which, although it reveals some secrets early on, is best left as a surprise. So this will necessarily be one of those rare reviews in which the less said about the plot the better. 12-year-olds Oskar (Kare Hedebrant) and Eli (Lina Leandersson) meet one snowy afternoon at a jungle gym in the courtyard of Oskar's housing complex outside Stockholm. Their young, tender attraction for each other is apparent right from the start and we think we know where their relationship is headed. But there is a deep dark secret to be discovered here and when it's revealed the audience is both repulsed and curiously fascinated at the same time, in a similar fashion as when yellow crime scene tape brings us closer rather than warning us away.
The supporting cast is completely beholden to the narrative as it revolves around the adorable young couple, whose performances rival the best I've ever seen for actors of that age. The innocence and vulnerability of Hedebrant's Oskar is simply a tour-de-force and he admirably carries the film on his little shoulders. Leandersson matches him scene by scene, line by line, and the result literally gave me chills.
Production values are stellar, with all technical aspects -- lighting, original music by Johan Soderqvist, and Hoyte Van Hoytema's cinematography -- combining in perfect synchronization to produce a Hitchockian tale that somehow brings love and light into what could have been the darkest drama imaginable.
"Let the Right One In" was the overwhelming choice for Best Narrative Feature after its North American Premiere here at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival. It is a truly well-deserved honor. Tomas Alfredson has crafted a brilliant work of art that left me shaking my head with wonder.
Tomas Alfredson's "Let The Right One In" is an original, dark, twisted
and gory horror fantasy, one of those special films that are hard to
classify. Not merely an exercise in style, his film is a brilliant
piece of amoral storytelling, and even if some characters' actions defy
any logic or common sense (I don't wanna spoil any moment here, but
you'll know what I mean when the first revenge moment of the story
happens), they seem to be there just to remind you that this is just a
fantasy tale (but not for the little ones!). Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant) is
a 12 year-old bullied boy that befriends and develops an innocent crush
on his new neighbor, Eli (Lina Leandersson), who happens to be a
vampire. What comes next is a twisted tale of revenge and pubescent
love, made with visual flair (the swimming pool scene is already
classic), creative directing and impressive performances by the young
pair of protagonists.
Hollywood, of course, didn't waste time and already announced an upcoming remake for those who are too lazy to read subtitles. Most likely, the remake will turn out to be PG-13 in order to make more money, and be filled with moral values so the prudish parents will let their kids watch the movie (don't they know "The Little Vampire" was made years ago?). Ignore the future bomb and enjoy the original - you're in for a treat! 10/10.
I am not particularly fond of the vampire genre, but this movie is so much more. It is artistic, poetic, and in many ways a very profound movie exploring the nature of good and evil. It does so through the world of a child where both pure evil and pure goodness are somewhat discernible, and it achieves an astounding array of contrasts that allow us to see that good and evil can coexist side by side. Doing so, this movie is very thought-provoking, leaving the audience yearning to read the novel. In short, this movie is a gem. There is no need to remake this movie which according to IMDb.com they will be. You don't need to wait until 2010, you should watch this movie now.
I have watched both Twilight and Let the Right one in.
I strongly feel that Let the Right outruns Twilight on almost EVERY SINGLE ASPECT, except, of course, advertisement, due to the inequality of budgets. (a Swedish director vs a Hollywood one, come on...) If Twilight is no more than an idol gallery under the skin of vampire horror, Let the Right one in is such a film that completely redefines people's perception on traditional vampire horrors.
There aren't many gory scenes or special visual impacts, unlike Twilight being fraught with computer generated scenes. Plus, the pace of Let the Right is slow, without many exaggerations. Yet, the audience could feel the profound impact of the film within, an impact that totally transcends cheap sensory stimuli, while exerting a quiet yet POWERFUL "shake" upon people's soul.
I felt very upset that an American remake will be done next year. From our common sense, we could deduct how the remake would be compared to the original. Before the remake ruins the story, do yourself a favour watching the originals!!!
If you feel yourself mentally more mature than 15 y.o., go watch Let the Right on in instead of Twilight. You will NOT regret your choice.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I saw this movie yesterday at the official premiere at the Rotterdam
Film Festival in Holland. I didn't know anything beforehand, and i was
blown away. The film is a strange mix; it includes romantic elements,
horror. Kisses and love, but also blood and death. And it's told in a
straightforward manner, as if this all was very normal and like every
film is made like this.
I don't wanna give too much away, but in involves falling in love with a vampire. Highly original.
Beautiful style and cinematography. Every shot was gorgeous. Shame about the music, which was too attention grabbing and melodramatic.
The child actors were very good. Also in the minor parts.
I never before saw a child covered with blood. And kissing. And yes, it's disturbing sometimes, but no, this is no exploitation. It's heartfelt and beautiful. I don't know the book on which this is based. Probably, if you're from Sweden, know the book and envisioned it for yourself, it will be different.
I saw it in Bangkok International Film Festival 2008 and love this
movie very much.
It has something big and stunning about this lovely storyline to rivet my attention from the beginning to the end. Moreover, the cinematography and atmosphere in this film are undeniably superb. The chemistry between two preteen protagonists is outstanding and very believable. Everything in this film is well-made in synchronization.
This is the first film related to a vampire that I think is least connected to Vampire's teeth baring at audience all the times, like other familiar horror we used to see. Other than some gory scenes in this film, we can yet see some flesh and blood moment of humane Vampire. And that is truly written to the core plot.
The last scene at swimming pool is totally mesmerizing and mind-blowing.
By the way, if Sweden submits this movie to be in competition with other nominees around the world for Oscar foreign-language film category this year, this masterpiece should win or at least be short-listed for the final fives.
10 out of 10
I saw several movies at the Seattle International Film Festival this year, and Let the Right One In was by far my favorite of the bunch. It's primarily a movie about how friendship can help you find your own personal strength. Two lonely children meet and change each other's lives. The fact that one is a vampire makes the movie even more interesting and unique, but it's not the most important plot detail. The cold darkness of Sweden makes the perfect backdrop for the story. It was so refreshing to see a vampire movie that doesn't rely upon cheap scares, fangs and gore. The only scene I didn't enjoy involved cats with computer animated faces - it looked very stupid and out of place, but this was a small disappointment in an otherwise outstanding film. I highly recommend this movie.
This movie is good.
The story is simple enough. A lonely boy, Oskar, befriends the girl next door, Eli, and with her help overcomes the school bullies.
But then there is so much more going on. There is a serial killer, who seems to pick on very cute adolescent boys and has a strange jealousy towards the Oskar. And there is a vampire who can only survive on blood. And there are some sexual undertones.
But all of it just helps a great story get told. The horror is well done and appropriate. The actors are all just right for their parts. The horror is always lurking round the corner and there to let you know that the world is a hard place even if the story we see is kind of funny or fantastical.
There are some mysteries everyone can figure out for themselves and the answers just add layers to this story that make it even better. Just remember what Eli says about what she is and take it to its logical conclusion.
A must see! On a side note, it is great to see the Vampire "rules" all upheld, of course the title itself refers to the rule that a vampire can only enter a home when he is invited in.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This film was the main reason for my attending Frightfest in London
this year and I was not disappointed. From the opening shot you realise
that you are in for something special. The film is set in (a very cold)
Sweden in the early 1980s and the writer of the novel/screenplay has
confessed that it is semi-autobiographical and based loosely on his own
childhood. I'm guessing that the inclusion of a vampire in the story is
what takes this away from being simply autobiographical.
Although people are describing this as a vampire movie, I cannot help but feel that this does the film something of a disservice. Does this mean that people who do not particularly like vampire movies would not necessarily go to the cinema and watch this? That would be a shame because this is a very human story. The vampire element does take a back seat to the main focus of the story which is the fascinating relationship between Oscar and Eli. These are two outcasts brought together by their miserable lives.
The film is Swedish with subtitles but again don't let that put you off. The two performances by the child actors are fantastic and director Alfredson is apparently better known for comedy in Sweden and his humour is evident throughout the film. Without a doubt the best film at Frightfest 2008, there is a remake planned for 2010 but the film is near perfect just as it is so why wait? Go and see it.
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