Let The Right One In
This is easily the best vampire film to be released in a very long time. It is a romantic drama with touches of true horror. A young boy befriends a vampire who appears to be a young girl and the two develop a relationship but her need for human blood cannot be hidden forever. It is a Swedish production based on the book by John Ajvide Lindqvist and it is hauntingly beautiful and deeply touching.
The story centres on Oskar, a young boy who is getting bullied at school and struggling at home with the separation of his parents. It is obvious that he is not receiving the support he needs and he fantasises about a violent revenge on his tormentors. One night a girl called Eli moves in next door and the two strike up a friendship which could develop into more, except for one thing, Eli is a vampire.
Eli lives with a human helper who appears to be her father and a shocking opening sees him trundle off into the cold night air in search of a victim to sate her appetite. The pressure of their lifestyle has obviously taken a toll on both of them and Eli seems to find some respite in her night time talks with Oskar in the courtyard outside their homes. She tries to help him and he begins to fall in love with her but you inevitably begin to wonder how it can possibly all work out.
This is extremely original and provides a genuinely fresh take on a genre which has become stale. It is very skilfully filmed and the director Tomas Alfredson captures the snowbound community and uses the harsh environment to accentuate the detachment of the two lead characters. It is this very detachment from the rest of humanity that brings them together and their relationship is captivating. The horror is handled in a very brutal and realistic way; this is a grim depiction of vampires not the glossy, attractive teen style vampire nonsense we are used to. Some of the scenes are quite powerful and there are moments which are completely chilling.
Although some people may struggle with the slow pace it builds towards an immensely satisfying finale. The sombre mood reflects what the central characters are going through and there is hope shining through in their blossoming relationship. The director captures terrific performances from the young leads. Kare Hedebrant is excellent as Oskar but the real plaudits have to go to Lina Leandersson as Eli. Her soulful eyes and subdued acting bring an impressive sense of reality to one of the oldest horror monsters in films.
Let The Right One In is subtitled into English and it is slow and thoughtful so inevitably it won't appeal to everyone but there is a reason it is getting such great reviews and I highly recommend you give it a chance. This is not just the greatest vampire film in years it is a great film by any standards and I'd expect it to appeal to a wide audience.Short Review
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