Movie: "Let The Right One In"
Directed by: Tomas Alfredson
Writing credits: John Ajvide Lindqvist
Plot: A lonely 12-year-old boy in Sweden befriends the awkward, odd girl who's moved in next door. Only thing is, she's a vampire.
Review: Let the Right One In is probably the most beautifully filmed vampire movie I've ever seen. Though if you're expecting lots of blood and guts, or to be frightened, you're going to be disappointed, because this is romantic horror that owes more to the gothic classics than to the blood-spattered shock flicks of recent decades (I could get more specific about the story but I don't want to spoil things).
Director Tomas Alfredson had never made a horror film before, and was reluctant to show a lot of gore or violence, which is evident in watching the film, but ultimately I think that serves the final work quite well in a "less is more" kind of way. Much of the violence is merely hinted at or barely shown on screen, and this makes the few bits of violence the camera lingers on that much more effective. John Ajvide Lindqvist wrote the original novel and the screenplay for the film adaptation, and though my understanding is that a number of things changed in the film, the author is apparently fairly happy with how it turned out.
Being that this is a vampire movie, much of it occurs at night, and the lonely, snow-blanketed landscape of Sweden's Blackeburg suburb provides a striking and beautiful backdrop to many of the film's scenes. The main protagonist, Oskar, is only 12 years old, bullied by his classmates, lonely and dissatisfied with life. He meets his new neighbor Eli, an odd girl who appears to be the same age as him, but is actually much, much older. Both characters suffer from immense loneliness (which the film's frosty setting truly punctuates quite well), so it's no surprise that they begin to develop a connection between one another.
Eventually Eli's adult living companion, Hakan (whose relationship with Eli is never truly explained--I took him to be a ghoul servant, but apparently in the novel their relationship is more...disturbing), gets caught by the authorities on one of his blood-harvesting quests, which causes the heat to turn up on Eli, and as you might expect, everything turns to shit from there.
There's surprisingly little blood here for a vampire movie, but there's a wonderful scene in which we see what happens when a vampire enters a domicile uninvited, and the results aren't pretty (well, actually, from a filmmaking standpoint, they are). The climactic (and probably most "horrific") scene in the film is visually stunning, but doesn't quite make sense from a logical standpoint, as it requires a character mostly seen off-camera to remain frozen in place when the events occurring around him would result in a flight response. Unless the character was frozen in fear, which might have worked if we'd seen his actual response to the situation. But for that to happen would ruin the visual effect of the scene. Ultimately it's a compromise where the story gives way to the art, and though it's a flaw in the final piece, I find myself able to forgive it easily enough, because I value the artistry in that visual moment more than I need for it to make sense.
I'm distressed to learn that there's going to be an American remake of this film, which I feel is completely unnecessary, and despite director Matt Reeves' assurance that he's going to treat the source material (film and novel) with respect, the fact that he only has the bombastic (but enjoyable) Cloverfield under his directing belt doesn't exactly instill me with hope that he'll capture the subtle, understated nature of the relationship between the Oskar and Eli characters. Part of this film's strength is in the way it doesn't tell or show you everything. American filmmakers could learn a lot from that. I highly recommend seeing the original instead of waiting for the remake (or at least first), but be aware that on DVD there's a crappy subtitled version where they translate the movie as if we're babies, and the original theatrical version, where they do not (which will be released on DVD soon, if not already).
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)
I hear tell that the American version is changing Eli's name to something less androgynous. "Her" name will be Abby.
Follow us on:
Want Your Ad Here?
Send us an email!