Sweden (dir. Tomas Alfredson)
Cast: Anders T. Peedu, Henrik Dahl, Ika Nord, Karin Bergquist, Karl Robert Lindgren, Kåre Hedebrant, Lina Leandersson, Mikael Rahm, Pale Olofsson, Per Ragnar, Peter Carlberg
Synopsis: 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 peoples blood to live he’s faced with a choice. How much can love forgive? Let The Right One In is a story both violent and highly romantic, set in the Stockholm suburb of Blackeberg in 1982.
Review: After hearing so many rave reviews about “Let the Right One In”, I was pretty much forced into watching it. Like, how can you really turn down watching a film people were hailing as “the best horror movie of the past decade”, “the best vampire film of all time”, etc. ?. I was initially put off by the fact that the film involved a child vampire and that it was a love story between the vampire and a lonely human boy. Not that I’m against vampire love stories in the slightest, but the fact that it involved children was mildly unnerving to me for some inexplicable reason. If it were adolescents I would be more than fine with it, but because the film involved kiddies I was unsure about whether I would:
1) Enjoy this film
2) Find the child vampire to be mildly creepy
3) Witness some awkward and potentially disturbing child-on-child vampire biting.
Well as it turns out, yes, I did enjoy the film. I wouldn’t go so far as to rave about it, but I would generally agree it was a well filmed, better than average vampire film with a great story. No, the child vampire wasn’t too creepy (she looked like a realistic child vampire, all sickly and hungry eyed), and no, there was no vampire children biting children. Only vampire children biting adults. Thus aside from a brief shot of a child’s genitalia and the upside down throat slashing of another child, there was nothing outrageously disturbing about “Let the Right One In”. In fact, the film is a beautiful love story intertwined with a fairly brutal vampiric horror story. It’s a movie about first love, the innocence of childhood, the experience of growing up, and the power of sacrifice.
The child actors are frighteningly good in this movie. Despite Eli’s husky voice which makes her sound roughly 30 years old, and Oskar’s creepy overall albino-ish look, these kids have mad acting skills. They pretty much make the movie what it is. This pair puts a lot of adult, American actors to shame with their impeccable performances, which are simply shocking when you factor in their age.
The film itself kind of sluggishly moves along. It’s awesome in the sense that the use of silence alone, just like in “The Broken”, makes the film completely unnerving, but it’s not so awesome at parts where the movie drags along. It’s essentially a slow burn type of movie, one where you need some degree of patience to sit through. Perhaps chalk it up to my mood at the time of watching the film, but I felt mildly impatient as the film progressed, mainly because not a lot was going on in the beginning and a lot of utterly silent scenes were dedicated to shots of the Swedish scenery. Music is hardly a necessity in this movie, and if you see “Let The Right One In”, you’ll immediately understand why. When the remake rolls into theatres (which I’m certain will be soonish) I’m sure a lot of that silence or musical void will be filled in with unnecessary indie rock and possibly some cutesy pop music (ugh). Well, the less said about the potential remake, the better. I know it sounds like I’m pre-trashing the remake already, but I just have this feeling it’s going to suck, so I might as well bitch about it ahead of time, right?
There’s nothing really wrong, per say, with this movie. With the exception of some poorly crafted CGI-ed cats, there’s nothing that I think the remake can improve upon. I don’t understand why it even warrants a remake, unless it’s to satisfy those lowlife complainers who cannot bear to sit through a subtitled foreign film with actors and actresses they cannot recognize and a locale they likely could not pinpoint on a map. “Let The Right One In” is a finely crafted film with a beautiful love story at its core. I wouldn’t consider it to really be the “best” of anything, other than maybe one of the best foreign horror films of the past decade, but I still would highly recommend watching it.