Friday, January 15, 2016
At the Movies: Let the Right One In
Let the Right One In
(Låt den rätte komma in)
Tomas Alfredson, 2008.
Ebert: Three and a half Stars.
Rotten Tomatoes: 98%(!) Fresh
Sweden would be a good place to be a vampire in the winter, what with the long nights. You could run around during waking hours without melting in the sun. And this is exactly what ends up complicating the life of Eli, the enigmatic little girl vampire – although she is not necessarily little, or a girl, or even a vampire – at the center of this quirky, charming Swedish horror film.
Because she is out on the playground in the early evening she meets Oskar, a troubled wisp of a boy. Almost unnaturally pale and fragile, Oskar is a magnet for bullies. He seems like a nice kid, but we can also tell that he longs for revenge – he would like to hurt someone the same way that he has been hurt. His new friend Eli is as pale as he is, and as fragile, but has somewhat of a different psychology. She is lonely and wants to make personal connections, and it saddens her that she can only sustain herself by, well, ripping open the throats of others.
There are adults in this film, most notably a chorus of geezers who live in the same apartment complex as our heroes, but they are of relatively little importance. They flesh the story out, but are not integral to it. At its heart, this film is a love story, with the love at its purest and most dawn-of-adolescence innocent level. But it is also kind of a revenge thriller. Don’t get too comfortable.
There’s some blood and gore in Let the Right One In, and some mildly disturbing imagery, but it is very tame indeed by the standards of modern horror. Indeed, fans of the messier horror flicks would likely find this movie rather dull. I found it quite touching.
Let the Right One In is an adaptation of a Swedish novel of the same name (Låt den rätte komma in, by John Ajvide Lindqvist). There’s also an American adaptation called Let Me In, which is said to be different but also good. I might check that out and get back to you! But I think I’d want to watch the Swedish version again first. I liked it a lot.
Michael5000's imdb rating: 8.