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Let the Right One In (2008)

by on 2010/03/15

At a dinner party several months ago, I described Let the Right One In as a vampire movie made by Ikea – complete with clean lines, modern color schemes, and you get to make your own ending with an Allen key.

I did this for a cheap laugh. As the days and weeks wore on, I felt shame.

Let the Right One In is a deeply affecting movie that stays with you a long, long time after the bleak Swedish credits role.

Based on the book by the same name by John Ajvide Lindqvist, the story centres around a 12-year-old boy named Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant) living in the Stockholm suburb of Blackeberg. Oskar meets Eli (Lina Leandersson) a peculiar, quiet girl his own age. It is revealed gradually that Eli is actually a vampire, centuries old, kept alive by a particularly hapless human caregiver Håkan (Per Ragnar).

The film is an intimate look into the lives of characters of such aching fragility and authenticity, you really feel as through you peeking through frosty tenament windows.

Director Tomas Alfredson takes the concept of show-me-don’t-tell-me film-making to a whole new level, creating an almost silent film. Snow plays a key supporting role to the incredible performances of Hedebrant and Leandersson, with Alfredson using the vast, empty snowscapes, snowflakes dancing in the night sky, frost on a tree branch as visual metaphors for alienation, loneliness and despair.

You’ll walk away from the experience realizing the moments of real horror aren’t the ones of bloodletting but rather the hauntingly accurate depictions of childhood bullying and isolation.

The combined result of this lyrical film-making and chilling realism, is a film of great beauty and profound insight.

* * * *

Rated 14A for violence.

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