movie film review | chris tookey
 
     
     
 

Let the Right One In/ Låt den rätte komma in

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  Let the Right One In/ Låt den rätte komma in Review
Tookey's Rating
8 /10
 
Average Rating
7.44 /10
 
Starring
Oskar Kare Hedebrant , Eli Lina Leandersson
Full Cast >
 

Directed by: Tomas Alfredson
Written by: John Ajvide Lindqvist , based on his novel Let Me In

 
 
 
Released: 2008
   
Genre: DRAMA
RITES-OF-PASSAGE
HORROR
FOREIGN
ROMANCE
THRILLER
   
Origin: Sweden
   
Length: 114
 
 


 
An original take on vampire movies.
Reviewed by Chris Tookey

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Based by John Ajvide Lindqvist on his own bestselling novel, it is classifiable as horror and contains creepy and gruesome images, but for much of its length it is about a bizarre, asexual friendship between two pubescents.

One is reclusive 12 year-old Oskar (Kare Hedebrant). He’s a victim of bullying, and fantasises about revenge. He befriends a mysterious girl called Eli (Lina Leandersson, pictured). She looks his age, but is in fact a 200 year-old vampire.

The brilliance of the picture lies in the unfolding relationship between the two, one of the weirdest since Harold and Maude (1971), where a death-obsessed 20 year-old found love with a 79 year-old hippie.

The film is a welcome change from the grisly excess and tired cliches of most modern horror films, and establishes a remarkably unsettling atmosphere of normality. Imagine a Ken Loach film gradually turning into Carrie.

It’s most ingenious in the way it dissects the rules of vampirism, and explores what it would be like to father a vampire, be one and befriend one.

It shows the awful responsibility of being a vampire’s dad, and trying to find fresh blood for her without arousing suspicion; it explains exactly what happens when a vampire enters a room without having been invited in; and there’s an entertainingly nasty scene of a newly “infected” vampire choosing a spectacular way to commit suicide.

Tomas Alfredson’s movie moves at too slow a pace to please the masses, and is as deliberately downbeat as anything by Ingmar Bergman. I spotted four continuity errors. The film could usefully have been trimmed by twenty minutes. The story-telling is not always clear. The absence of police involvement is inexplicable.

A Hollywood remake is already in pre-production, and it may well be slicker, starrier and more shocking. But I doubt if it will be better. The performances by the two children are beautifully understated, as is the spectacularly grisly denouement, well worth the price of admission in itself.

We’ve just had one imaginative variation on the vampire movie in Twilight. This is darker, more tragic and more dreamlike. Let The Right One In is one of those rare foreign-language films which deserves to become a mainstream hit.

NOTE: The book is considerably darker and more perverse than the film, with more emphasis on violence, paedophilia and castration. Just to let you know.


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