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Let The Right One In

A Swedish horror film about a young boy who befriends a vampire.

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Grim but touching and quite artistic.

  • Feb 25, 2011
**** out of ****

Even if "Twilight" seems to be most popular when it comes to Vampires in any form of media, it's good to get a nice, big breath of fresh air. And for me, that refreshing, long breathe was "Let the Right One In"; which by all means is the best Vampire movie since probably "Vampyr", "Nosferatu", and Herzog's remake. This is a moving, artistic, and powerful film that does not succeed because it is about vampires; but rather because it is sweet, tender, and even funny at times. This may seem like an odd blend (especially for a vampire movie), but I assure you that it works. I would have to say that there are a lot of people who just don't like vampire movies, and that's perfectly understandable. Crap like "Twilight" has taken over the world for the worst; and has since rendered teenage minds useless. I admire this film because it is not aimed at teens; but rather at adults. It is indeed about two twelve-year-old kids, but the plot that is involved is way too complex and emotionally resonant for most teenagers to understand. But my point is that even if you don't like vampire movies, and as long as you're an adult; I would recommend that you watch "Let the Right One In". It's about as bloody and as painful as a vampire film should be; and shows the emotional and physical burdens of a bloodsucker. I admire this film's cleverness; and its accessibility. It's easy to recommend, and it's also easy to love. I found the film just about as touching and deep as it wanted to be, and while the pacing is rather slow, it's good enough for me. You can tell so easily that this film wants to be art, and it's one of those films that never feels pretentious. Some people fail to see the greatness in the film, and that's OK. It took me one viewing to love the film; and another to really appreciate it for what it is. This is among the best Swedish films ever made, as well as one of 2008's best little gems. You can't miss it if you're a cinephile, or someone who just likes a great movie in general. The film is spooky, scary, tender, and unique. It could even be called beautiful, and not much vampire films can be called that. It's a special movie; probably amongst my favorites. It could even be my personal favorite vampire movie as of now, although then again there are always those classics that linger in the back of my mind. But this is the best modern vampire filmmaking has to offer, and frankly; it doesn't get much better than this. "Let the Right One In" knows just how awesome it is, and that's what I like the most about it. The film may not be for everyone, but since there's so much awesomeness contained within, why complain?

Oskar is a lonely boy. He is twelve years old, has few friends, and lives with his mother most of the time. The only words spoken to him are ones of hatred; since we see him a lot at school. This is the building in which he is abused and tortured by his peers; for unknown reasons. Perhaps the bullies need someone to hurt and there's no specific reason to why they do it. Enter Eli; another twelve year old human being (this time, a girl) who Oskar meets one evening. The two start an unlikely friendship, since they seem to connect well. The only problem is that Eli is a vampire; and the man she has moved in with is her supplier. It takes a while for this part of the story to unfold, but I personally found everything in between completely necessary. You kind of have to admire this film's wit and style; the way it tells its story. I found all aspects of the film to be artistic and beautiful; and often times, truly frightening. The film is perhaps not frightening because it features jump sequences; but rather because it scares us through concepts and ideas. When you think about it, this is a scary film. It's spooky, creepy, and bloody. And it also works marvelously. The film is driven by its characters and their relationship. There was something that I found incredibly tender about the relationship between Oskar and Eli; the kind of bond that I haven't seen in a film for quite some time. It's not quite romance, but it's something beyond friendship. Perhaps it is simply a very, very strong friendship; and that's enough for me to consider this film special. I have always admired films that make a statement about the human connection; and this film does indeed make one such statement. It wants to show how a non-romantic kind of relationship between two youngsters can work. The vampire aspect merely acts as a complication and a gateway to horror; which in my opinion was quite brilliant. I will admit that the film moves at a slow pace, but that's not a problem for me personally. I think this movie is a masterpiece. A lot of people think that it is. I think it's great because I found it moving. If someone doesn't like it, then it's because they fail to see where it's going artistically. Some films are driven by their art and don't have a clear destination. This is that kind of film.

This film has some damn spectacular acting from its two stars. Both leads are young, but that sure as hell doesn't stop them from being great. Kare Hedebrant is just right for the shy role that Oskar's character calls for. I enjoyed watching him as an actor; mostly because his character can connect with the audience without saying much words. Lina Leandersson is also equally as spectacular; charming and sweet with a hint of ominous whimsy. She deserved more acclaim for her performance here, but I guess when it's a foreign movie, "The Academy" can't nominate actual actors or directors for anything. This film should have been at least nominated for Best Picture. It's a shame that it wasn't.

So much effort was put into this film. It looks spectacular and boasts one heck of an atmosphere; one which you shall not soon forget. It's the kind of film that is worth watching over and over again merely because it's great and it's going to stay great. And with a lot of "great" films such as this one, it might not work for everybody. Where do I start when discussing this film on a stylistic level? The thing looks magnificent, and the cinematography is beautiful. It all works well with the atmosphere; although this film is so much more than visual extravaganza (which I'm not even sure if it truly is). The film is artistically directed by Tomas Alfredson, who is obviously talented to the core. His personal touches, if they could be called that, are so undeniably spectacular that I almost have to go all out and say that "Let the Right One In" is one of the best vampire movies ever made. Hell, by me, that's the truth. There's not a lot out there when it comes to vampire flicks; most movies disappointing even if they're not "Twilight" and even if they had a chance to begin with. This is one of the few vampire flicks that just doesn't let go; and it trades in pretentious tension for true horror and sentimentality. The film is sort of a drama-horror; since it tends to have aspects at both. There's a scene where a woman commits suicide by asking a doctor to open the blinds (which causes her to ignite since she's a Vampire now), but then there's also a scene where Oskar and Eli share a tender hug. The film is not a vampire film about sexuality; but rather one about human relationships and how we keep them no matter what the cost. The film is so much more than one about vampires, and it is so spectacularly made that I can't help but adore it. It's great filmmaking; and one of 2008's best.

Vampires haven't been used this well (as plot devices) for quite some time, and they haven't been handled this carefully in ages. The film treats the bloodsuckers with care, admiration, and respect. The film, based on a Swedish novel of the same name, does its source material (which is wonderful as well, please read it at once) a lot of justice. I've seen plenty of good book-to-film adaptations; but this is one of the smoothest and most artistic ones. This film was not made for profit or to indulge those who liked the novel; but rather to give people the idea that the genre of Vampire film can still be good. With that being said, it's kind of doubtful that anything will be quite as awesome as this film here. I haven't seen a good vampire film in quite some time, and now that a film such as this is out, I don't really expect to. This might as well be good as far as modern day vampire films go; and that's fine by me. I loved this film throughout; it's an entertaining and endearing little supernatural charmer. It is a drama, a thriller, a romance, and a horror film all rolled up into one artistic ball; and I quite like the thing. It's not a mess of ideas and sentimentality; it is true to its roots and its inspiration. I like how the filmmakers turn vampires into something much more savage; and show them for what they truly were back in the day. Aren't vampire supposed to be scary? Yes, I think they are. So why does stuff like "Twilight" have to ruin the whole genre. That stuff is pornography in a number of ways; "Let the Right One In" is not. This is a true vampire classic, and it's one of my favorites to date. I loved it; and I hope that most people will too. As I said, it's not for everyone. But if you can get by slow-pacing, then you're guaranteed a hell of a good time. As long as a good time means artistry, because for me; that's what fun is. I am entertained by well-made films, and this film is pretty damn well-made. Thus, that makes it superb entertainment for me; and boring bullshit for just about every Twilight-intoxicated teen out there. I could really care less about what they think about this beautiful masterpiece since frankly, "Twilight" doesn't come close to this work of art. Those films are crap. "Let the Right One In" is art. And that's what it deserves to be.

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March 01, 2011
This is one of my favorite vampire movies to date. Love it!
February 26, 2011
I really liked this one as well and thought it was one of the best Vampire flicks in a long time, the remake was ok.
February 26, 2011
The remake looks good to me.
More Let The Right One In (Låt den ... reviews
review by . November 11, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Puts the 'ire' back in vampire
This is not a book for the faint of heart. No sexy Edward Cullen here. No vamps who are actually nice guys and no good girl heroes either. In fact, this vampire isn't even sexual. The novel is not particularly clear on this point, but I deduce that Eli, the vampire, was once a human boy. Now s/he sometimes appears to be a boy and other times a girl. There is no sex and certainly no love.      Couple this old school vampire with a cast of unappealing human characters: an alienated …
Quick Tip by . November 04, 2010
posted in Reel Overseas
I hate vampire movies. I think we have reached the Vampire Event Horizon--one more vampire movie and all of movie-hood will be sucked into the black hole. That said, I liked this movie that just happened to have a vampire in it. This is a story of friendship and protection, not lust and sex. So if you want that kind of vampire movie, there are 180,097 x10 to the 35 vampire movies to choose from (which means that every atom in the universe has 5 vampire movies attached to it. I'm not kidding about …
Quick Tip by . August 23, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Ooowie...really creepy. Not so scary - but creepy creepy creepy. Just how does a twelve year old girl vampire survive? What seduction skills has she learned, and how does she draw a new fly into her web? Let the Right One In might be the best vampire movie I've ever seen, despite the revenge scene that seems to belong to another movie as it clashes against the small and careful character of the rest of the movie.
Quick Tip by . July 06, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
A powerfully eerie yet beautiful film. A must see for anyone who likes scary movies!
review by . March 11, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Dvd cover
      I have always had a strong fondness for vampire films. Honestly, much of the vampire films these days are full of cliché and while most of them does attempt at something original, they all have one common denominator; to induce HORROR. Well, Sweden seems to have mastered an original take on the vampire lore and yes, this film has been marked to be "Americanized" very soon. "Let the Right One In" is a film adapted from the novel and written for …
review by . May 16, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Waiting For The Right One
 It would seem LTROI has managed to captivate quite a few moviegoers everywhere & has enthralled it's audiences which amazes me. I actually was quite stoked about the idea of a really cool vampire flick which seemed to do so well with both audiences or critics alike & was even hoping to catch it on the big scream last year. Boy, I was in for quite a shock. This one is basically a snoozer & it took me three consecutive attempts to watch it all the way through.      …
Quick Tip by . November 05, 2009
While this film goes way beyond a semi-final scene, that semi-final scene is one of the best ever captured in horror film-making.
review by . April 03, 2009
LET THE RIGHT ONE IN  (a film review by Mark R. Leeper)    CAPSULE: With marked similarities to CARRIE, this is a Swedish vampire film. Oskar, the most bullied boy in school, makes friends with a girl who appears to be his own age, but is somehow different. The somehow is that she is a vampire, living a life as isolated in her way as Oskar is in his. The two form a bond against a background of vampire-related killings. In spite of the fantasy motif this is a serious …
review by . April 17, 2009
From the country that brought you Ingmar Bergman, Ikea, and the Noble prize, Sweden, comes an amazing horror film. The Vikings would be proud of this film! This one will put you on the edge of your seat and then scare the begeezes out of you. At the most simple level it is the vampire story. The new twist, the vampire is around 12 years old and the story takes place in the land of very long winter nights, Sweden.    This is a fairly slow moving film with scare points put in at …
review by . April 06, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Oskar is a lonely and disturbed young man, living with an alternately distant and overprotective mother, whose loving but alcoholic father has left them. He is bullied at school, and Oskar imagines what it would be like to frighten his torturer as he has been frightened. Then he meets Eli, an apparently odd but pretty young woman who moves next door, who turns out to be something altogether different. The relationship that develops is both extremely touching and utterly disturbing. The film touches …
About the reviewer
Ryan J. Marshall ()
Ranked #3
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … more
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The enduring popularity of the vampire myth rests, in part, on sexual magnetism. InLet the Right One In, Tomas Alfredson's carefully controlled, yet sympathetic take on John Ajvide Lindqvist's Swedish bestseller-turned-screenplay, the protagonists are pre-teens, unlike the fully-formed night crawlers of HBO’sTrue Bloodor Catherine Hardwicke’sTwilight(both also based on popular novels). Instead, 12-year-old Oskar (future heartbreaker Kåre Hedebrant) and Eli (Lina Leandersson) enter into a deadly form of puppy love. The product of divorce, Oskar lives with his harried mother, while his new neighbor resides with a mystery man named Håkan (Per Ragnar), who takes care of her unique dietary needs. From the wintery moment in 1982 that the lonely, towheaded boy spots the strange, dark-haired girl skulking around their outer-Stockholm tenement, he senses a kindred spirit. They bond, innocently enough, over a Rubik's Cube, but little does Oskar realize that Eli has been 12 for a very long time. Meanwhile, at school, bullies torment the pale and morbid student mercilessly. Through his friendship with Eli, Oskar doesn't just learn how to defend himself, but to become a sort of predator himself, begging the question as to whether Eli really exists or whether she represents a manifestation of his pent-up anger and resentment. Naturally, the international success of Lindqvist's fifth feature, like Norway's chillingInsomniabefore it, has ...
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Director: Tomas Alfredson
Genre: Drama, Foreign, Horror
Release Date: January 26, 2008
MPAA Rating: R
DVD Release Date: March 10, 2009
Runtime: 115 minutes
Studio: Magnolia Home Entertainment
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