Twilight, but directed by
Ingmar Bergman and starring twelve-year-olds instead of teens then you'll
have a good idea what to expect of this Swedish vampire movie . . .
What the above description doesn't tell you though is that Let the Right
One In is also the best vampire movie since, well, forever.
genuinely moving and thought-provoking, the only thing that counts against
it is its very studied pacing. Let the Right One In is glacially
slow: more European art movie than fast-paced modern horror flick, it paints
a moody and somewhat grim picture of early 1980s Sweden: almost Soviet-like
architecture, snow and perpetual darkness. One can almost imagine the
Swedish tourism board going into a panic upon seeing it for the first time.
This is no As It Is in Heaven, more like As It Is in Hell . .
Twelve-year-old Oskar (Hedebrant) is a pale kid who gets picked on at
school by bullies. One day (or make that night) Eli (Leandersson) moves
in next door with her father. Eli is a vampire and has been twelve for
"quite a while" as she says. Their puppy love will have far-fetching
consequences not only for the two children themselves, but for everyone
around them. (Don't let this synopsis put you off. This isn't a Larry Clark
flick and there are no underage sex scenes.)
Few movies bother asking the question: what if you were turned into a
vampire? Would you kill others and drink their blood simply to survive? In
most movies vampires are simply the bad guys: the soulless cartoon villains
for Buffy to dispense with just like Bond always easily takes care of the
evil mastermind's countless henchmen. Few movies seriously make one consider
what it must be like to live with a condition that approximates vampirism. For
raising this issue alone Let the Right One In is to be commended. (It
is no coincidence that some of the human protagonists are worse than the
WORTH IT? Much, much better than Twilight, but since there are
no heartthrob male leads and audiences must cope with subtitles it means
that Let the Right One In will never see the sort of box office that
the somewhat flawed Hollywood adaptation of Catherine Hardwicke's bestseller
enjoyed and will instead be forever relegated to the cult fringes.
(Interestingly Let the Right One In is based on a Swedish bestseller
by John Ajvide Lindqvist.)
RECOMMENDATION: It should come as no surprise that plans for a
Hollywood remake are already in the works. While such a version will
probably speed things up, it is doubtful whether it will be as emotionally
affecting as the Swedish original. So check out Let the Right One In before
the Haley Joel Osment version comes out . . . (Oh wait, he's already much
too old for the role!)