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Sweden 2008
Directed by
Thomas Alfredson
Rated G

Reviewed by
Andrew Lee
4.5 stars

Let The Right One In

Synopsis: 12 year old Oskar (Kare Hedebrant) cared for by a caring but busy mother is a bullied child who dreams of revenge against his oppressors. When Eli (Lina Leandersson) moves into his apartment building, the pale and odd girl catches his attention and a strange and uncomfortable relationship begins…

It’s been said before, but I’ll say it here too. Let The Right One In is one of the most stunning films you’ll see this year, probably this decade. It’s beautiful, horrific, disturbing, sweet and charming. It’s the first vampire film in years that actually stands on its own, rather than being nothing more than an excuse for a series of pop culture references or slo-mo fight sequences. Who would have thought it? A strikingly original and effective vampire film that brings fresh life to a genre that’s become a parody of itself. It’s exciting on that level alone, let alone the fact that the film not only has good ideas but that delivers them in spades.

How do you make a vampire film these days that can make your skin crawl? Apparently by making the vampire a pre-teen girl and then by having an equally young boy fall in love with her. Both of them are disturbed in the way that oppressed children can be. Oskar has a fascination with serial killers and murderers, his way of expressing his desire to make his mark on the world and to fight back against the bullies who make his life a misery. And as he gets to know Eli, and develops confidence through their relationship, fight back he does although that causes more and more strife. Meanwhile Eli has to contend with trying to survive when the neighbourhood bums slowly realize that a vampire is in their midst and is picking them off. Between them, Eli and Oskar find a way to deal with their respective demons and the final scenes suggest a forging of a life together, although given the fate of Eli’s previous companion, the end is both frightening and hopeful.

It’s hard to express how beautiful and sweet the story of these two severely disturbed individuals is. The friendship/love story is so finely judged it’s impossible not to be won over by it. But at the same time, people die, limbs go flying and there’s an amazing set-piece viewed entirely underwater in a swimming pool that will have you giddy with its inventiveness. Let The Right One In never makes a wrong move. Put simply it’s a marvellous surprise of a film. Both horrifying and heartwarming, this is one you won’t want to miss.




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