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 Let The Right One In

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Donald McKinney
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PostSubject: Let The Right One In   Wed Sep 23, 2009 7:19 pm

How's this for a different kind of vampire film?? It began with a book written by Swedish author John Ajvide Lindqvist, who has made a name for himself with writing horror books. The book was entitled Låt den rätte komma in, and it attracted quite alot of attention upon release in 2007, the books themes were not for everybody, but it became an instant best-seller in Sweden, and it sold well around the world. Even before the book was published, Lindqvist already had an offer in place from Swedish production house EFTI to make a film of it, Lindqvist accepted, on condition he did the screenplay. The project was offered to noted Swedish director Tomas Alfredson, who found success working for Swedish Television, before moving into films. Although, not a fan of horror novels, nor was he a fan of the books more darker themes, he immediately identified with the central character's attraction to one another, and signed on to direct. What they created was a dark but moving love story, beautifully shot, with some superb performances from it's young leads, while retaining it's dark edge. Let The Right One In is a different kind of vampire film, but it's so unique, and it gives the likes of Twilight a run for their money. If only Twilight HAD been more like this...

Set in the working class Stockholm suburb of Blackeberg during one cold winter in 1982, it has lonely 12-year-old Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant), a lonely boy who is bullied at his school, and has fantasies of revenge by stabbing those who bully him. But, he finds a friend with new neighbour Eli (Lina Leandersson), who has just moved into the flat next door with Håkan (Per Ragnar). Eli tells Oskar they can't be friends, but they end up spending their time together, even communicating through the wall between their flats by morse code, being with Eli makes Oskar feel more confident, and he is able to stand up to those who are bullying him, even if it does eventually go too far. Meanwhile there are murders going on across the suburb, people are being murdered. Hung upsidedown, with their throats slit, and blood drained out, it turns out it's Håkan who is doing this, Eli holds a dark secret. Although she's the same age as Oskar in appearance, she's actually a 200 year old vampire, that's why Håkan is killing people, just to get Eli blood, which she needs. Oskar eventually finds out about this, but he doesn't mind, at all. Despite that, he's in love with Eli, even if Eli cannot truly love him back. But, the murders continue all over town, and it puts Eli's life in danger, and Oskar is starting to get into more troubles of his own.

Let The Right One In is a not your average vampire film, although it does stick closely with familiar vampire conventions, (they only come out at night and all), the title refers to the fact that they cannot enter someone's house by force, they must be invited in by whoever lives there, which is what Oskar does with Eli. As well as dealing with themes of bullying, vampires, murder, the original book was darker and dealt with themes such as drugs, paedophilia and prostitution, but these were downplayed and rightfully removed for the film version, so that the friendship and subsequent between Oskar and Eli can take centre stage, and it's that connection between the two that moves the film along, although some may look upon the relationship between the two 12 year olds with a raised eyebrow, there's nothing wrong with it, it's just a sweet and innocent glimpse of what it's like to be young and in love. Deaths that occur in the film are quite grisly, but they're just a sidenote, they're not focused upon in great detail, you don't see them in gory close-up. director Alfredson keeps the mood restrained throughout the film, and doesn't go for sudden shocks and gratuitous gore. And even the film's setting has an other-worldly setting, even if it isn't all that far away. It's beautifully shot by Hoyte van Hoytema, it's wide vista's of the barren suburbs have a sense of poignancy to them, and the music by Johan Söderqvist is equally as breathtaking.

Casting took a year to do, and director Alfredson made two wonderful discoveries with Kåre Hedebrant and Lina Leandersson to play Oskar and Eli respectively. For their first films, they do brilliant work, and protray two lonely children who don't give a second thought to what they do, or the effect it'll have. Oskar is much more of an anxious, phobic boy, but upon encountering Eli, he's filled with confidence and instead of running away from his problems, he encounters them head on, Eli is a vampire who doesn't have time for human emotion or interaction, but all that changes when she meets Oskar, and she comes to show compassion and support for him. Both characters change having met one another. Even the supporting characters are well drawn out, from the grown-ups concerned about the recent murders to the bullies at Oskar's school.

Trailer!!



It's rare that you get horror films this good anymore, and who'd have thought something as deep, moving and dark would come from Sweden?? It's fair to say that Tomas Alfredson will go on to greater things because of this film, and Hollywood and indeed everyone else could learn a thing or two from this film. Not wanting to put a damper on things, but it's up for a remake by Cloverfield director Matt Reeves, and produced by the reformed Hammer Films, under the title, Let Me In, (which was the book's title when published in America.) But, it succeeds where other vampire films out these days fail, they have two youngsters, one going through the growing pains of adolesence, and one who has been in a sort of limbo for a couple of centuries caught in the glow of love. There's nothing creepy about two kids in love, the only creepiness that occurs in this film are the murders and other little shocks, (cats attacking someone that's been bitten, and the bed-fire that follows). It's a simply wonderful film about the power of friendship, and how it helps gives people a personal strength. Beat THAT Twilight!! Very Happy
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