Let The Right One In (2008) D: Tomas Alfredson

Let The Right One In

There has been a slew of vampire films unleashed on the public over the last four or five years. Tomas Alfredson‘s chilling Let The Right One In is arguably the best of the lot. Along with last year’s Thirst, this is a vampire film that attacks the boundaries of what viewers expect from the genre.

Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant) is a deathly white, bullied adolescent with not a friend in the stark housing project in which he lives. Until one day, Eli (Lina Leandersson) moves in. The somewhat androgynous Eli is a centuries old vampire trapped as a twelve year old girl.  After her initial attempts to shun Oskar, it is Eli who encourages him to fight back against his tormentors. The viewer soon discovers that the man who is ostensibly Eli’s father is in fact a human companion who collects victims to feed her bloodlust.

From the opening scene, Alfredson surrounds the viewer in the crystal cold Swedish ice which the protagonists inhabit. Sparkling white snowflakes fall across a death black midnight sky. Serving a perfect setting for a tale of the undead, the unforgiving ice and snow are enough alone to cause shivers of repulsion. The use of children as protagonists is from the source material (John Ajvide Lindqvistis’ novel), and within the film it harkens to successful horror movies such as the Omen trilogy, Poltergeist and The Exorcist.

Because the film has children up front, it is denied the vampire genre convention of sexual metaphor, which gives high importance to Eli’s thirst. This thirst is illustrated perfectly when we see Eli strung out like a heroin addict about to die, until she feeds and becomes the picture of health. It is a true and obvious hunger – almost legitimised when Eli feeds on a stranger like a lion on a felled antelope. What’s more, she shows genuine remorse when she is done, breaking the general lore of vampires – as does her seemingly genuine attachment to Oskar.

This icy wasteland of a horror film will stay with you long after an initial viewing, and yet the visceral gore of the piece is kept to key moments. It is this subtlety and nuance that is said to be missing from the 2010 English language remake, Let Me In. Alfredson opens his film up to the mumbling, begrudging communication between the two 12 year olds, instead of blazing away with fangs and gore. Everything here is shown at a cold and clinical distance; calm and still like the Nordic waters beneath.

Hedebrant’s disturbingly vacant Oskar and Leandersson’s bloodthirsty Eli are given life with unforgettable acting as the two outsiders connect in a very real and ultimately horrific way.

Superb storytelling and tremendous performances. 5 Stars

 

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~ by mfnm on October 29, 2010.

One Response to “Let The Right One In (2008) D: Tomas Alfredson”

  1. That’s Too nice, when it comes in india hope it can make a Rocking place for youngster.. hope that
    come true.

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