Let the Right One In

"Excellent"

Let the Right One In Review


A heavily-favored selection at this year's Tribeca Film Festival, Tomas Alfredson's Let the Right One In announces the most promising talents to emerge from Sweden since Lukas Moodysson debuted Show Me Love almost a decade ago. While fanatics and interested parties alike are frothing at the possibilities of Catherine Hardwicke's upcoming adaptation of Stephenie Meyer's ludicrously popular novel Twilight, this fang-brandishing masterpiece is Hollywood's garlic clove and cross: restraint and consistency. A J.J. Abrams helmed remake, of course, is already in talks.

12-year-old Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant) spends his days at school friendless, his nights in his room, stabbing the air and whispering "Squeal, Piggy!" As if it needed to be said, he is a child of divorce. Hope for companionship comes in the guise of a pale girl named Eli (Lina Leandersson) who moves in next door with her father. At first, Eli firmly announces that they can't be friends but soon enough, they're spending their nights together and tapping Morse code to each other through the bedroom walls. Oskar is so happy to finally have a friend that he doesn't notice the blood-drained body found in the nearby forest, nor the disappearance of a local drunk.

Named for the belief in folklore that a vampire cannot enter one's home without being invited, Alfredson's film carefully balances genre elements as the tween couplet move from friends to, as Oskar puts it, "steady." It's a story of first love but one favoring imagery over sentimentality. Alfredson, aided by cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema, concentrates many of his compositions on the frozen tundra of the Stockholm suburb where Oskar and Eli live, strewn with hauntingly elemental sets like the small playground where the duo meet and Eli's barren apartment. Rarely drawing much attention, the visual and make-up effects are simple and efficient.

Written for the screen by John Ajvide Lindqvist, who also wrote the source novel, the story moves into more familiar terrain as a friend of one of Eli's victims (and the lover of another) begins to snoop around while Oskar's newfound courage against his bullies suffers repercussions. Even at its most surprising, Let the Right One In is a film intrinsically tied to tradition, informally evoking tenets of vampire mythology with dramatic weight. Yet it remains an astonishing work of genre filmmaking, refreshingly light on the gothic tones and gory in the most subdued terms.

Though the character of Eli has a film history as far back as Lambert Hillyer's 1936 classic Dracula's Daughter and Mario Bava's Black Sunday, Alfredson's film is less interested in femininity than it is in childhood perceptions of gender. The film's most tender scene happens outside a candy shop when Eli asks Oskar if he would still like her if she wasn't a girl.

Bookended by shots of snow falling on an empty night, Let the Right One In allows one final scene of unadulterated carnage before its "happy" postscript. And though it packs in its share of horrific images (an acid-scorched face, a sunlit vampire engulfed in flames), the focus accountably returns to the delicacy of Oskar and Eli; one is fragility externalized, the other internalized. With HBO's eccentric True Blood series and Twilight galvanizing vampiric bloodlust, Let the Right One In might not be invited to the party, but it belongs in the hall of fame.

Aka Låt den rätte komma in.

She let the wrong one in.



Let the Right One In

Facts and Figures

Run time: 115 mins

In Theaters: Friday 24th October 2008

Box Office USA: $1.9M

Box Office Worldwide: $10.8M

Budget: $4M

Distributed by: Magnet/Magnolia Pictures

Production compaines: EFTI

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 98%
Fresh: 171 Rotten: 4

IMDB: 8.0 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Tomas Alfredson

Producer: John Nordling, Carl Molinder

Starring: Kåre Hedebrant as Oskar, Lina Leandersson as Eli, Per Ragnar as Håkan, Henrik Dahl as Erik, Karin Bergquist as Yvonne, Peter Carlberg as Lacke, Ika Nord as Virginia, Mikael Rahm as Jocke, Karl-Robert Lindgren as Gösta, Anders T. Peedu as Morgan, Pale Olofsson as Larry, Cayetano Ruiz as Magister Avila, Patrik Rydmark as Conny, Johan Sömnes as Andreas, Mikael Erhardsson as Martin

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