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Let The Right One In


lordcookie
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Let The Right One In is based on the novel by Swedish author John Ajvide Lindqvist and tells the story of a lonely twelve year-old boy and his friendship with a young girl, who happens to be a vampire. It has had quite a bit of buzz around it and did very well at the Tribeca film festival.

It doesn't sound like a traditional horror film and many reviews emphasise the touching relationship between the characters rather than the horror elements. It will probably take a while before it gets a UK release but I'm sure it will turn up in the usual places before then.

The trailer looks a bit like a Lukas Moodysson film but with blood and burning bodies.

Trailer (in Swedish)

Let the Right One In just won the critics award at this years Natfilm Festival in Copenhagen, where I attended a screening. Something tells me it’s not gonna win the audience award. See, this is a film you are either gonna love or just find kinda boring. Director Tomas Alfredson stays true to the arthouse-roots he planted with the masterful Four Shades of Brown and steers well clear of formulas and clichés traditionally associated with tales of the nosferatu. I loved it.

With a script written by John Ajvide Lindqvist based on his own novel, the film mixes an emotionally charged tale of prepubescent angst and school bullying with the problems of first love, devotion and the fact that your new-found, twelve-year-old girlfriend is in fact a vampire. We follow twelve-year-old Oskar in suburban Sweden 1982. A pale, skinny and quiet boy, Oskar is the obvious target of daily school-bullying, he’s estranged from his absent mother and only sees his father from time to time. The lonely boy finds a catalyst towards change when a young girl named Eli moves in to the flat next to his and takes interest in his nightly re-enactments of schoolday events – repetitions that always end in Oskar stabbing a tree standing in for head honcho Conny (obviously, Swedish boys who bully can be named Conny). The mysterious Eli looks sick, smells weird and walks about bare feet in the snow – a misfit like Oskar, the two engage in a friendship of sorts.

What follows is not even remotely close to your average fang-flick. Let The Right One In is a vampire movie more along the lines of Claire Denis’ Trouble Every Day, relying on mood, a great storyline and detailed characters, but also employing sarcasm and ironic humour to great effect. Alfredson tells his story at a slow, but masterfully controlled, pace, unravelling bits of information at a time, allowing glimpses inside the suburban Swedish flats that cover the snowy landscape and building momentum for the explosions of bloody violence that hit you like Stuart Gordon scenes edited into a Bergman or Roy Andersson film.

To me, the result is mesmerizing. Beautifully shot and tightly scripted with Alfredson pulling impressive performances from the young cast, this is a movie that not only delivers the goods, but packs it’s blood and mayhem in an original and highly engaging story. Gorehounds will delight in scenes of the kid vampire jumping prey, acid-mutilation and the buckets of blood clumsily filled by Eli’s father, who drugs and bleeds teenage boys. Cinephiles should be satisfied by the impressive technical aspects of the picture, the unforgettable, tragic character of Eli and the subtleties in storytelling. The grotesquery is delivered as if the most everyday of events, bloody murder and homely intrigue weighing equal, and that’s what really sets the film apart. Forget about sensationalistic bullshit and stylistic excess. Let The Right One In has no flying CGI-vampires, no close-ups of fangs erecting in the mouth of the undead, no stakes through the heart, but unlike most vampire-flicks it does have heart, it does have a story and it does have character.

The slow pacing is sure to scare a lot of people of, but if European sensibilities and a complete lack of “action” in the stupid sense of the word doesn’t make you wanna run out the cinema and get home to your Blade or Underworld DVDs and Dracula comic books, then you are in for a treat. This is an original and new take on the vampire mythos, with enough regard for legend and folklore to make it a true vampire movie, but still completely removed from the legions of ridiculously uninspired turds that cram up the vampire sections of modern day video stores.

Score: 8 / 10

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I'm about 3/4 of the way through the book at the moment, and it really is excellent. The amount of characeterisation across a fairly eclectic cast is pretty astounding. At first I thought that some of the plot points were a little too well signposted, but then I realised it's less about the horror and more about the effect the situation and presence of the "villain" has on those in the community.

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  • 3 months later...

Finally some news on this project.

Momentum Pictures have picked up the UK distribution rights for the film. Whilst there is still no firm release date I have heard rumours of a December '08 release or a very early '09 slot.

Also, the film is getting shown at Frightfest this Sunday (24th August) so if anybody is living in London it might be worth trying to get tickets (only £10 a pop).

There is also an English subtitled trailer available now too.

This is one of my most anticipated films of the next 12 months along with The Road, Synecdoche New York, Waltz with Bashir and Where the Wild Things Are.

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Review from Frightfest -

Let The Right One In (Lat den Ratte Komma In) (Sweden)

A bullied, disturbed young boy, living in a small, snow-swept town in northern Sweden, befriends the young girl that has just moved in next door. The pale, thirsty girl next door who only comes out to play at night. Adapted by John Ajvide Lindqvist from his novel of the same name (or ‘Let Me In’, the curiously inappropriate US title), Let The Right One In stands out as a true original in the already overcrowded vampire subgenre. Choosing to focus on the burgeoning relationship between the two children, able to relate to each other through the shared isolation of their lives, the movie never loses sight of the mythology it must adhere to whilst being careful not to burden the central narrative with it either. This, at once, allows the complex and potentially disturbing relationship of the principal characters the time to develop with appropriate subtlety and, somehow, manages to make its vampiric elements feel completely fresh (and surprisingly vicious). Aided by astonishingly mature performances from both of the young kids, director Tomas Alfredson makes the most of the blank yet ominous surroundings and Johan Soderqvist’s painterly camerawork, to create a melancholy coming-of-age tale of extraordinary lyrical beauty, shot through with an underlying current of menace. Let The Right One In is, quite simply, a modern masterpiece and, in my opinion, is without question the best movie of the year so far. In a year of such unusual cinematic heights, this is no faint praise.

2nd opinion: Neither of my fellow travellers hesitated in calling this by far the best movie of the festival (and the year so far) commending, in particular, the perfectly judged pacing and outstanding performances.

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There's an awful lot of teen vampire buddy books/films in the offing right now. I make this the third. Unless I keep missing the titles and are getting them confused. Although I'm not.

It's just an odd turn. You can normally see things coming, themes and typical characters, borne of cultural influences. But young vampires with friends/vampires with young friends/vampires and their concubines who are actually 12 year olds and so not concubines is a bit out of left field for me and I can't understand where this has come from really. As a movement, not as a film.

Regardless, I blame Harry Potter and as soon as I can get my Westerns-for-kids book done, I'll be laughing.

Anyways, I'm not sold on another vampire buddy flick. Unless someone on here watches and tells me it's actually pretty great.

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I've not read the books but have read up a lot about the film and I think you have unfairly lumped it in with stuff like Twilight. For one thing it doesn't appear to be a book for kids/teens at all.

My post may have suggestively 'lumped' it in with the likes of Twilight, but I think it's an odd turn of events that there are soooo many 'vampire' books that are currently dealing with partners, friends of a special 'other'. From the trailer alone, this looks to have alot more about it, but I do wonder why this strange sub-genre has popped up in the last couple of years.

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From /film

It seems like only last week that I declared Let The Right One In was one of 2008’s must see movies. I was since informed that the film is already getting an English language remake by Hammer Films and Spitfire Pictures. And tonight Variety announced that Cloverfield director Matt Reeves has signed on to helm the film. Overture Films is fast-tracking the project, so expect the movie to be released sometime next year.

In the meantime, please mark October 24th on your calendars, because if you live in New York or Los Angeles, you’ll be busy that night watching the original Swedish film theatrically. Magnet/Magnolia will expand the release into more markets in the weeks that follow.

I’m not sure how the remake will stack up against the original, but having Reeves on board gives me hope. Reeves’ television background is proof that he is good at directing stories with a natural emotional core. And Let The Right One In is just that type of film. Lets just hope that Overture and Hammer don’t try to turn the remake into a more conventional horror film.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...

Just finished watching. I'm not going to spoil it by mentioning any thing about the film but suffice to say I thought it was wonderful. It's not what I was expecting but I'm so, so happy with what I got.

What a beautiful little film.

:lol: / 10

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I wanted to wait for the DVD but I’m a weak man and that Del Toro quote in the trailer was the clincher. I’ll just echo what everyone else has said, it’s a wonderful film. Favourite bits

the bully getting whacked upside the head, the mega-feline attack and the head landing in the swimming pool.

Best film I’ve watched in a while and I’ll be picking up the DVD when/if it comes out.

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Grabbed the screener and just watched it. Echoing everyone else really - a lovely, haunting, low-key vampire story. The best I've seen in years. I'm much more a fan of the 'realistic' portrayal of a vampire lifestyle, Near Dark being an obvious favourite.

I like the way they handled certain elements by suggestion or with great subtlety. It barely ever went where I expected it to, and the two young leads were absolutely superb.

But I wonder if Oskar would just become another in a long line of charmed accomplices, a neccessary tool that Eli uses to survive. The romantic in me likes to think otherwise, but I like the ambiguous feeling the film left me with.

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Bloody pie rats. If I last until the weekend without joining you, I'd be surprised: I really do fancy this.

Where did you get February from? The only thing I have heard is a vague Spring date for the UK. I bet I'll end up buying it on DVD before seeing it in a theatre here. :D

Uhm...I read it somewhere. Honest! I can't recall where now...

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Hey there

I enjoyed it.

I'm 100% with Sabreman on his "theory". That's EXACTLY what I was thinking about halfway through and by the end I was convinced. There are a few little lines and moments that I think totally backs that up.

I also think this flick has some of the best, most subtle fx works Ive seen in a long long time.

Despin out.

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