REVIEW: Let the Right One In
I'm not a big fan of Vampire movies or Vampire culture. They are the most overused monsters in cinema history, Even more so than the zombie. The vast majority of Vampire films paint the creature as an outcast, misunderstood, depressed, and alone. Its not surprising that vampire culture has such a large audience of preteens and teenagers alike. Even when I was in High school I was reading Anne Rice novels and identifying with the vampire characters. However as one ages and matures I think most grow out of this phase as they go on with their lives.
Now I find myself bored with the majority of vampire flicks out there with the exception of the Blade Films. The latest vampire film to come from Sweden hasn't really done anything to change my opinion. Let the Right One In is a very atmospheric and beautifully shot film. The story follows Oscar, a lonely and bullied boy who lives in an apartment complex. His new neighbor, a little girl named Eli, takes a liking to Oscar and soon befriends him. Eli however has a secret, she's much older than her 12 year old appearance would imply. Yep she's a vampire and she lives with an older man who's job it is to go out and kill people and drain their blood for the little monster so she won't go out and feed on her own. This man however botches one of these murders, I guess even through he's been doing it for years he makes stupid mistakes, and he's captured by the police but not before he disfigures himself with acid. He's so in love with Eli that he eventually gives himself to her so she can feed for another night.
Meanwhile Eli encourages Oscar to stand up for himself and they form a close friendship. He falls in love with her and it becomes very obvious that she needs to have someone new to take care of her and Oscar fits the bill.
Let the Right One In, takes a very long time to tell its story and while its better than most vampire fare in recent years, it really doesn't do anything new. It has the usual trappings of any vampire story, sleeping in coffins, avoiding sunlight, and even a woman who gets turned into a vampire and kills herself by sunlight. Eli, the vampire, is the typical sad, depressed character that you associate with all of these kinds of films. The only difference is that she's being played by a 12 year old. There are a couple pretty good gore scenes and in particular a great scene in a pool at the end of the film.
Let the Right One In will stand out for its amazing cinematography and direction. It takes the snowy climate of Sweden and turns it into something to marvel at. Its never really made clear when this movie is taking place but it seems implied that its sometime in the 70's or 80's. The acting of the 2 young leads in this film is also something that sets it apart from the average vampire film. Actress Lina Leandersson plays the vampiric Eli with the wisdom of someone much older. When she attacks she becomes a vicious monster momentarily, then goes back to looking innocent and sweet. The director, Tomas Alfredson, seems to have a much older actress play Eli at a couple key moments in the film that give us the idea that she's a very old monster underneath the innocent exterior.
For Vampire movie buffs or sad lonely teenagers that feel misunderstood, Let the Right One In will be exactly what your looking for. For me it just didn't live up the hype and it just felt like another vampire movie.
On a side note, The DVD release has one of the WORST English dubbed tracks I've ever heard, watch it subtitled instead.
Rating: 2 out of 5 Bloody Axes