Friday, March 4, 2011

Let the Right One In

Let the Right One In AKA Lat den ratte komma in

2008. Rated R, 114 minutes.

Director: Tomas Alfredson. Starring Kare Hedebrant, Lina Leandersson, Per Ragnar, Henrik Dahl.

Plot: In a 1982 suburb of Stockholm, 12 year old bully-magnet Oskar (Hedebrant) befriends Eli (Leandersson), the mysterious girl who's moved into the apartment next to his. Her arrival in town coincides with a series of grisly murders in which the victims had the blood drained from their bodies.

The Good: It's a very unique vampire movie. In fact, it's more of a puppy-love movie featuring two 12 year olds. It just so happens that the girl is a vampire. That's the twist that makes it sizzle. A constant tension hangs over the film as we try to figure out whether she'll hurt or help him and for a while, whether he'll find out what she really is. It also uses her obvious power and his weakness to build metaphors and give Oskar a life-lesson. The pacing of the movie is deliberately slow, but doesn't drag. It draws you into this awkward yet budding romance. Don't worry though, it's not some sappy affair. We get a number of 30 Days of Night-esque attacks on the human-folk.

The Bad: At the beginning of the movie, Eli has an adult, presumably human guardian who actually commits the early murders and brings her the blood (not at all a spoiler). We never really learn the nature of their relationship (it's vaguely hinted at, once). Also, about midway through the movie something happens to him, or at least seems to. Despite the fact what we've seen suggests we should, we never see him again. That was bothersome for me. It's like they all of sudden forgot about him.

The Ugly: When our two lovebirds share their first kiss. When you see it, you'll say "Ewwww."

Recommendation: Though the main characters are both only 12 years old, well one is 12 and the other just appears to be (they do discuss this, by the way), this is not another vampire movie for teenage girls. This is for more mature fans of the genre who've seen plenty of them and are looking for a fresh take on the subject. Subtitleophobes can breathe easy. This is a Swedish film, but the DVD plays the English dubbed version by default.

What the Internet Says: 8.2/10 on (#192 all time as of 4/14/09), 97% on, 82/100 on

MY SCORE: 9/10

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