BASED ON THE NOVEL BY
JOHN AJVIDE LINDQVIST
JOHN AJVIDE LINDQVIST
LET THE RIGHT ONE IN (2008)
While Twilight raked in millions from tweens all over the world, from Sweden came a moody, bloody, surprisingly tender, and superior vampire tale, Let the Right One In.
Kare Hedebrant stars as Oskar, an intelligent young boy, who has an interest in the macabre, and is bullied mercilessly at school. When new tenants move into the apartment next door, Oskar is immediately intrigued by their odd behaviour. Oskar’s suspicions are confirmed, when he meets his new neighbour Eli (Lina Leanderson), an aloof and wise beyond her years young girl. She says she is 12, and has been for a long time, for she is a vampire.
The casting of Leandersson as Eli is spot on, since she conveys an ageless quality which suits her role. In fact, both Leandersson and Hedebrant boast mournful turns beyond their age.
In order to feed her bloodlust, Eli’s guardian (Per Ragner), murders unsuspecting townspeople, and drains them of their blood. Yet after a botched kill brings unwanted attention, he sacrifices himself in order to protects Eli, who turns to Oskar for companionship.
From the film’s opening scene, the winter chill, dread, and isolation of its Swedish location fills every frame of Let the Right One In.
Director Tomas Alfredson paces his scenes to the beat of an eerie pulse. He simply creeps with his camera, not resorting to editing tricks to induce scares, but achieves genuine terror with still frame, perfectly staged wide screen shots.
These are heightened by the subtle use of special effects and sound effects, which brilliantly convey Eli’s supernatural qualities. This includes her scurrying up walls and trees, and dropping down on her prey like a spider picking off a fly. A low, demonic growl, which manifests itself from her person, proves that she means business.
Let the Right One In was based on a popular novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist, who also wrote the screenplay. Unfortunately, yet unsurprisingly, Hollywood already have a remake – or reimagining, depending who you ask – in production. Have subtitles really become that bad to endure?