Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Let the Right One In

Year: 2008
Director: Tomas Alfredson
Screenplay: John Ajvide Lindqvist based on his novel.
Starring: Kare Hedebrant, Lina Leandersson, Per Ragnar, Peter Carlberg and Ika Nord
Running Time: 114 minutes
Genre: Horror, vampire, romance, coming of age

Summary: Set in the Backeberg suburb of Stockholm, Sweden, in 1981, the film follows twelve year old Oskar (Hedebrant) a lonely boy who is frequently bullied by his classmates and bored with his life on a dull housing estate. One night he meets a mysterious girl named Eli (Leandersson) who lives next door to him with an older man, Hakan (Ragnar). As a friendship grows between them, Oskar discovers that Eli is in fact a 200 year old vampire who is forever trapped as a child and has a desperate thirst for human blood.

Opinions: This movie is based on the successful novel of the ame name by John Avijde Lindqvist and the film largely sticks very closely to the source material. The main differences are that several of the book's subplots have been cut from the film and a lot of elements have been heavily toned down, although none of the changes really affect the central storyline and are unlikely to bother most viewers. While the film has it's share of gore and violence it is by no means a gruesome or excessively violent film. It's really a character driven story about loneliness and friendship. The movie gets a lot of milage from the many snowbound icy landscapes it features (which is faithful to the imagery in the novel). The director, Tomas Alfredson, who was unfamiliar with horror and vampire films, handles the material well and stylishly with a good eye for detail and the minutiae and mundanity of everyday life which helps ground the supernatural elements in a recognisable reality, and makes it all the more effective. The acting, particularly from the two young leads, is really superb, with Lina Leandersson especially noteworthy making her pint sized blood-sucker both scary and sympathetic, often at the same time. Fans of the book will doubtless love the film, but it is good enough to transfer beyond the horror fans. Definitely recommended. Check it out.
An English language remake is on the way entitled Let Me In, directed by Michael Reeves (of Cloverfield fame) and starring Kodi Smit-McPhee and Chloe Moretz with the scene of the action shifted to New Mexico.

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