Reviews

Let the Right One In

Opening Friday, October 24th in limited release

Cast:

KÃ¥re Hedebrant as Oskar

Lina Leandersson as Eli

Per Ragnar as HÃ¥kan

Henrik Dahl as Erik

Karin Bergquist as Yvonne

Directed by Tomas Alfredson

Review:

Toronto After Dark’s opening gala, Let The Right One In is quite possibly the most appropriate film to open a festival which prides itself on exposing its audience to cult film. It’s audacious yet humbling expose on a coming of age story exhibits something to the genre which has not been seen before, until now.

Imagine if you will, a macabre episode of Degrassi Jr. High. Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant), a child who is lusting for affection meets Eli (Lina Leandersson), his new neighbor who teaches him what it means to love, forgive, and ultimately avenge all the hurdles in the quest for adolescence. No doubt, that violence and apathy fill the void in which Tomas Alfredson’s adaptation of John Ajvide Lindqvist novel will appease those looking for horror and maternal drama in this new twist on the vampire genre.

The majority of the film is set at night with a frame of snow, bleakness and coldness to it that gives a setting of fatigue and hopelessness not seen since The Shining. It is here in a Scandinavian town that Eli lives with Håkan, a middle aged man who begrudgingly goes out at night butchering young men and collecting their blood in order to feed Eli. Next door is Oskar, who Eli befriends. Without giving away too much, you can’t help but get the feeling that Håkan was once in Oskar’s shoes and picks his targets out of jealousy. He even goes so far as to tell her to stay away from Oskar. She, of course, ignores that and instead tries her best to keep her vampirism a secret from Oskar but when a ritualistic bond goes sour all is laid out. What Oskar’s intentions are remains a mystery and Alfredson does a fantastic job at keeping you guessing.

With the script adapted from the original author himself, you can be certain that what is translated onto the screen is faithful to the novel. The dialogue between Eli and Oskar is so convincing and innocently cute that you completely forget that this is a supernatural movie. You also forget that her emaciated appearance is actually something to be threatened by. There are scenes of violence between children that you don’t get to see very often in film but it still somehow manages to remain sickly sweet.

At almost 2 hours in length, you can find yourself fidgeting in your seat. I felt that there were some scenes that were very unnecessary but it can be argued that they added to the realism of the film. Whatever the case, Let The Right One In is one of the best murder mystery, drama, romance, comedies that I’ve seen in a number of years.

Like any good foreign horror film, a remake is already in the works. This time by Cloverfield director Matt Reeves ala J.J Abrams camp. Director Tomas Alfredson has already shown his distaste for the remake asking “Why can’t they just read the subtitles?” If you fall into that category do yourself a favor and read the damn subtitles.