Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Let The Right One In (Review)

Let The Right One In

Let The Right One In aka Låt den rätte komma in (2008)

Directed by Tomas Alfredson

Well I said I would watch this movie and see if it deserved a spot on my Top 10 Horror Movies of 2008. It probably deserves a spot, but not in any horror list.

Let the Right One In
is a great movie, with or without the horror or vampire tag.

And it stands alone as a movie that deserves its ongoing praise like snowflakes falling to the ground. This review is more snow praise to the pile of acclaim this movie has gotten.

We've all seen the teenage vamps (ahem Lost Boys and such garbage as that) and young adult vamps (Twilight and garbage like that) and full fledge adult vamps.

But a movie about a 12 year old girl engulfed in vampire lore is so full of innocence and dramatic despair that it's more emotional and more touching then seeing some vampire tweens and teens whining about their iPods.

More importantly, this movie is about lonliness and the connections we have in our lives.

Plus seeing a 12 year old vamp suck blood seems kinda sick and awesome at the same time.

Boring Plot-O-Matic

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.

Awesome Review-O-Matic

Oskar is looking for a positive. But all he finds is people who want to have nothing to do with him or want to go all negative and bully him up. His parents are divorced, the school bully Conny and his jabroni friends pick on him and his dad is a weirdo drunk dude.

When he meets Eli, he finds the positive he's looking for. Lonliness and negativity are suspended as he and Eli make a connection. That's the beauty of the movie.

If Eli wasn't a vampire, this movie would have been classified as probably a foreign indie movie that you'd see on IFC someday. But us horror fans, it's a soon to be Spirit Award winner with horror elements.

And thats ok with me.

I believe the vampire atrocities committed by Eli are a simple metaphor in a relationship between two people.

Do you love your partner no matter what they are, what they do and who they are on the inside?

Eli's "evilness" is evil in so much she does what she needs to do to survive. Oskar has to make the ethical and moral choice. Does his love extend to love Eli with the "evilness" included?

It's fascinating to watch as it unfolds. She guides him to stand up to the bullies (Oskar does) and to go all "grlll power". In the reveal scene, the humor is outright simplistic. Oskar asks if she's dead and how old she is. Eli responds she's been 12 for a long time. This all happens as they are between a door. Eventually she opens the door.

Later in a scene, as the title suggests, vampires must be invited in to a person's home. Eli says she must be invited in and Oskar questions what happens if she walks in anyway.

This is my favorite scene of the entire movie. Nobody has taken this rule and questioned it. What could be the repercussions of just entering?

That rule has been handed down in so much vampire lore that when Eli comes in, I had thought they broke the fuckin rule. A few seconds go by and she starts breathing heavily. Then BOOM! Eli starts to bleed out of every orifice, eyes, ears, head and mouth. Quickly, Oskar invites her in.

That was fuckin awesome. So simple, so unique and so goreificly done, and so sweet. It's these scenes that tell you the state of Oskar and Eli's new found love and relationship.

Why don't you check out the scene yourself? See below.

Kare Hedebrant (Oskar) and Lina Leandersson (Eli) are super duper brilliant in their roles. Oskar, our kid next door mixes in a kid like persona who has to deal with issues way beyond his maturity level. Leandersson's performane as Eli is downright mega awesome. She's just the right face of innocent girl with brutal demon vampireness trapped inside.

There are few side plots I forgot to mention. Eli and her weird parental figure Hakan, and a towns couple get attacked and are forced to deal with the consequences of an attack by Eli. Let the Right One in even made up vampire rules themselves in this one.

It seems cats don't like vampires and attack on sight when they get close. Also when vampires ingest food, they get sick.

Interesting. It's good to add to the mythology. What we don't see are fangs, or yellow or blue glowing eyes or demon face vampires (like in Buffy). It's classy enough to forgo these cheesy B-movie qualities and take itself seriously.

The ending is full of chunky applaudy goodness, where you feel like these two were meant for each other. Good times.

Let the Right One in is a movie that is a journey in to a fantastic world, where the love of two people, be it tweens or grownups, is complicated, tender and always full of hardship.

But choices have to be made. And everybody has to live with the consequences.

Great movie. Awesome flick. One of the best of 2008 no matter the genre.

Gore-ipedia (if you want to be shocked don't read)

Blood draining
Vampire throat munching
Broken Neck
Spontaneous Human Combustion

Nude-ipedia (because you like boobies)


WTF moment

The invitation scene which you can see above

The Jaded Viewer's Final Prognosis

See this movie. It's as good as advertised. It's got that best of both worlds. The love story and the vampire lore. I couldn't help but think of Interview with a Vampire and think of Eli and Claudia (the child vamp in that movie).

The millenials and Generation Yers should put down those Twilight books and pick up this book instead (the movie was based on the novel by John Lindqvist).

Then they'd all comprehend things way above their maturity level as well.

Check out the official site.

The Trailer


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  1. Lost Boys ~ Garbage?!?
    Dude. . . [I love Lost Boys!] :-)

    As for your review - excellent!
    I so cannot wait to see this one!
    You backing up the masses is a good sign!

  2. I didn't like Lost Boys that much either.

    Great review.

    I felt the same about Let the Right One In myself.

    I also voted it my number 1 film for 2008:

  3. I didn't care much for this movie.

    If shuffled along like a funeral march with no destination. The few tidbits of interest we are presented with could have been used better. The lady's infection, the police search for the killer, the people who knew about the girl, the small army of background characters. All of threads could have been used to push some action or suspense elements or even to flesh out the existing story. Instead we are constantly berated by the boy's bullying and his forced relationship with the girl. It felt like the movie was trying to go in too many directions at once, giving up on each one in turn.

    When it finally came, the climax felt brushed over and before you knew it the end credits were rolling.

    Drama movie, yes. Horror, not so much.

    All the same, cheers to your blog. I've found a lot of good films through you.

  4. Usually tweens with supernatural powers are horrible movies. This was done well.

    MX - Glad your finding some movies through the site.

    FilmBook - Awesome site yourself.

    BB - Maybe I should watch Lost Boys again. :-P

  5. Its a very good movie, one I've only recently seen. I've come to the conclusion that the guy "father figure" was someone she met when he was Oskars age. Pretty much, she will be with Oskar until he is too old to take care of her, and then she will have to find another young boy that is "the right one" to help her survive longer.

  6. I never thought about that before. That actually makes perfect sense.

    See, this is why I loved the movie.

  7. never seen a worst film ...avoid at all costs

  8. wow lost boys is the best vamp movie! this movie was weird ass hell i hated it so much! not scary, funny, sad, cool, anything. it was akward.

  9. Wow everybody went postal on the fact I didn't like Lost Boys. Sorry folks. Its just how I feel.

  10. Let The Right One In is a great movie. Best vampire cinema since the series/film with Louis Jordan. Lost Boys was a squishy doughnut by comparison.

  11. This is my favorite movie! I have read the book by John Ajvide Lindqvist as well and I think this is one of those rate instances where the movie is better than the book. I think at over 500 pages, the book had some superfluous side plots it needed to get rid of. The writing was good, not great, but I think the film has more artistic value. Eli and Oskar were such compelling and tragic characters and the movie was really well-shot. My undisputed favorite scene- the swimming pool sequence at the end. That was Epic!

    I'm glad you liked it too!

    P.S. The remake was decent, as usual, couldn't live up to the original.