Magnolia Pictures, 2008
By Sarah Craig
If I say vampires, you think about Underworld. If I mention love story, you consider He’s Just Not That Into You. Then when I bring up child actors, you’ll assume Dakota Fanning in Push. Finally, if I mention Swedish movies, I’ve probably lost you.
Allow me to introduce you to Let the Right One In by director Tomas Alfredson, which is the newest fanged hit. The movie is set in snowy, godforsaken Stockholm, where we follow an odd kid named Oskar who likes gruesome stories and gets bullied at school. He keeps to himself, but one night, while threatening a tree with a knife, he meets his new neighbor, a strange girl named Eli. Their relationship evolves, aided by Rubik’s cubes and Morse code, until she ultimately helps him exact the revenge on his tormentors that he’s been unable to pull off alone.
Worried it’s just a Swedish version of Twilight? Don’t be. Besides the fact that it’s a vampire love story and there are a few similar lines (Twilight‘s “How long have you been 17?” “A while.” against Let the Right One In‘s “I’ve been 12 for a while.”), they are drastically different movies (there’s actually killings in Let the Right One In!). Let the Right One In would undoubtedly be the clear victor in a Best Recent Vampire Movie contest.
Also, Let the Right One In contains plenty of the blood that was absent in Twilight. It follows all the traditional vampire lore, such as not being able to stand in sunlight, and has its own fascinating spin on why vampires cannot enter a house uninvited. The CGI during the pool massacre scene is gorily pleasing, though the attack of CGI cats in the middle of the film is utterly unnecessary.
Let the Right One In is a beautifully shot story that is a must-see for any fan of either the horror or romance genre. Cloverfield director Matt Reeves will be creating an English version, but see it in its original form. Reading subtitles never hurt anyone, and the Swedish element gives it a foreign, fantastical feel that you wouldn’t get otherwise.