Note: This review was written July 15th, 2014. I intend to revisit this film later on.
Let The Right One In is a 2008 Swedish romantic horror film directed by Tomas Alfredson. It is based on the 2004 novel of the same time by John Ajvide Lindqvist, who also wrote the screenplay.
It received high-marks from critics and is most certainly one of, if not the most beloved Swedish film of all-time. It has since had an American remake called Let Me In.
When I decided to do this foreign-film month, I knew that there was a couple that I had to review. The first one was Oldboy and the other was this film.
The film is highly regarded by a lot of film “aficionados” and surprisingly, it isn’t actually a bad one at all.
The film stars Kare Hedebrant and Lina Leandersson in the leads. Neither of them have done anything notable in the acting-realm since then, so I can’t hardly provide you a “if you liked this!” assurance about the film. You might know some of the directing work from Tomas Alfredson because he also directed Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, a well-received film with Gary Oldman.
The story is about a boy named Oskar that is bullied frivolously, other-wise he is also socially-awkward and peculiar. (In the book, he is a lot stranger.) He collects pictures of hunting knives and grisly murders, but that is about as far as his bizarre and demented side seems to head. Other-wise, the film doesn’t really have the same irregularities as the novel does. It seems like it has more of a direction and is less grotesque and offensive.
Anyway, a lot of this changes whenever he meets someone named Eli that isn’t like everyone else. She’s strange. She’s different. She’s a vampire.
Well, that was cheesy, eh?
They establish something of a rapport and the movie mostly chronicles how they spend their time together. There are moments when it brings some of the more out-there elements of the book into it, but it’s a lot more of a straightforward romantic horror.
The leading character perform there roles well. They both capture a certain unpleasantness which for some reason isn’t a bad thing in this film. They seem stricken with their own problems and faults which helps this spread wings above and beyond several other different romantic films that revolve around vampires.
The film has a simple premise, but not in the way that would work against it. Rather, this enables for the leads as well as the directing to achieve the means to achieve a lot of character development and more importantly to me, a lot more entertainment-value. Some of the best moments throughout the film for me were watching Oskar and Eli socialize. When it deals with some of the lingering subplots, however, I find that it lags on within the film. Those are the biggest criticisms that I have for it.
However, when it’s about Oskar and Eli, I am back to being attentive and caring of what’s happening on the screen. It’s a certain disturbing and yet magnetic chemistry that is very easy to watch and enjoy.
I think the story is definitely clouded with one or two things were not needed. The original story went in more directions than the book did, the movie polished it up substantially, but there was one or two things that remained. Nevertheless, if you scrape the paint off, more than a demented and sadistic new spin on vampire films, this is a coming-of-age story under the surface. It is one that has an impressionable way about it that will likely only strengthen over time.
It’s beautifully shot and achieves more of a radiance in-emotion than you might expect. A spectacle in-itself how a premise so filled with bad can turn out with such a high-quality. If you want to start watching Swedish films, or foreign films in-general, this is the right one to let in.
Thanks for reading…