Let The Right One In

Need I say more?

I’m not crazy about vampire stories, but I like them. Buffy The Vampire Slayer is my favorite show ever. I love the writing, the characters, the humor, the action, the emotion, and the metaphors for real life. I also loved Angel, Firefly and at least like Dollhouse, so I am basically a Joss Whedon devotee. I have read the full Twilight series, and have seen the movie. And, the 15 year old girl in me genuinely enjoyed Twilight as well. I’ll eventually end up with a blog with my thoughts about Twilight. I’ll probably end up liking True Blood, but more because of Alan Ball, who did one of my favorite movies, American Beauty, and one of my other favorite shows, Six Feet Under. But, I’ve never read Anne Rice. Bram Stoker’s Dracula was pretty good. So was Interview With A Vampire. But, I was not passionate about either. I am attracted to dark, gothic things in general.

I took out Let The Right One In from Netflix because I heard it was the artistically superior vampire movie of 2008. And, it does make Twilight look like the frivolous, overwrought, middle brow teen book that it really is. It’s a Swedish movie, based on a novel, about a 12 year old boy, Oskar. He’s a quiet outcast who often gets harshly harassed and picked on by a bully and his two weaker followers. One night, while using a knife on a tree, imagining the tree is the bully, he meets a 12 year old girl, Eli, who has just moved into his apartment building. They develop a very innocent, 12 year old like relationship. Except, the girl is a vampire. She has a father (or guardian) who attempts to go out at night to find people’s blood to drain into a container. There’s a whole kit he takes with him. This is so that Eli doesn’t go out on her own to feed, possibly exposing who she is to people. She is an outcast herself. Oskar is sweet, and Eli is kind and falls for him despite herself. I don’t want to give away too many plot details. The movie deals with the vampire myth with such subtlety. Aspects of vampirism flow through the movie, sometimes quietly, other times suddenly. The vampire horror is matter of fact, and not done for show or thrills. The dialogue and relationship between the boy and girl is completely appropriate and believable. There are moments that are so tender, you fall in love with them both. The movie is gorgeous to look at, shot in a still, quiet way, as if every scene is meant to be a painting. I felt the movie to be poetic. Nothing happens quite as you expect it, and there are things left to interpretation. It’s become one of my favorite movies ever. I cried at the end, and I’m not sure why. Maybe it was sadness, maybe happiness, maybe relief. I think if you’re an outcast yourself, you’ll find yourself touched by this movie.

Also, there is a scene that seems to be inspired by Mark Ryden. Perhaps it’s coincidental.

The American distributor changed the subtitles for the DVD/Blu-ray release. Apparently they were simplified and dumbed down from the original theatrical release. Enough people complained, and soon they will be putting out the movie with the original subtitles. The original subtitles add more depth and colors to the characters and story. I can’t wait to see that version. I wish I saw this in the theater. Yes, there will be a shitty American remake.

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2 Comments to “Let The Right One In”

  1. I’m not crazy about Vampire films either, (even though I found Coppola’s “Dracula” quiet good, and “Interview With A Vampire” well made as well) but “Let The Right One In”, was almost sweet I think. Good review!

    • I agree, in its own way the movie was very sweet. The smile they share at the end is so sweet., and so are their awkward hugs. I think the tenderness between Oskar and Eli is why people have become so passionate about the movie, beyond the artistry of it all.

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