Sunday, August 30, 2009

Let the Right One In

Finally got around to watching this little gem of a film from Sweden. It's been in my queue forever but I just haven't been in the frame of mind to watch it. I'm glad I did. For those unfamiliar with it, Let the Right One In is based on the Swedish book of the same name and follows the tale of a twelve year old boy named Oskar and a similarly aged vampire named Eli. Oskar's parents are split and he's bullied at school and is desperately seeking revenge and a friend. He finds one in Eli, who moves in next door and gives him someone to confide in and she in turn coaches him on how to fight back against the bullies. Their relationship grows while her aide/manservant tries to keep her in blood by draining it out of people he captures. Eventually, people get wise that there's something not quite right going on and this discovery threatens the relationship of the friends.

Beautifully shot and written, this movie brings vampires back to a serious romanticism that you don't find in many offerings these days. The setting of a winter covered Sweden is cold yet stunning and serves as a great backdrop for their story. Oskar just wants someone to be his friend and help him and Eli thinks she just wants to be left alone until she finds herself liking his company more and more. I can't say I'm crazy about child actors, but these two pull off their parts quite well, as do the rest of the folk their age. In addition to the story, there are some great killings, some brutal, some with a great humor (usually those involving the aide).

The film is paced rather slowly, so if you're expecting a thrill a minute ride, you're going to be in for a disappointment. Instead, everything comes together when it needs to and the dread is allowed to build and build and you wonder when everything is going to come crashing down upon them, akin to a noir film. Don't let that stop you from seeing it, as it's probably one of the best vampire films that you'll have the luxury of seeing.

There is a remake coming out, but I'd check this out first, as the new one will be by the mastermind behind Cloverfield, who handles subtlety as well as Leatherface ballet dances. Also, there's no need to remake an almost perfect vision. He claims he wants to make it more accessible to audiences. That's a change that doesn't need to be made. Support the original vision and check the Swedish version out. You can get it with subs or dubs, I understand, and either will be sublime.

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