Let the Right One In - A Fearful Story about an Outcast

                           Sometimes we think that we have seen everything that can be done with that exhausted horror genre. Just at that occasion, a movie will come along and change your whole perspective. The dark and demented Swedish horror flick "Let the Right One In", based on the novel by John Lindqvist belongs to that category. It's also hard to make a vampire movie, because you have to mix two things in equal proportions: horror and romance. Any kind of fiddling with the formula can sink a film - makes it wooden, at-times and also laughable, Twilight, for instance (though not without making a box-office mint). So, 'Let the Right One In' might be one of the refreshing story you have seen in a long time.

                           This Swedish flick is not restricted for vampire movie-lovers. If you take the vampire thing out of this setting, it might look like a movie about kids who are working out their differences with adulthood. It just shares an appreciation of the 12-year-old state of mind. It is a tale about the friendship and empathy that develops between two of society's misfits. That also doesn't mean that you could recommend this movie to teenagers, because it warms our heart along with equal periods of voyeuristic gore, stunning violence and an undercurrent of anxiety and dread.

        The story takes place in a suburb of Stockholm during the 1980s. Oskar (Kare Hedebrant) is a lonely  12-year-old kid who barely copes with being the school bullies' punching bag. His father lives in the country. and his mother works in the city. At home, Oskar either stares out the window of his mother's modest apartment or cuts out articles about murders from the local paper and pastes them into a scrapbook. he One day, Oskar meets the mysterious Eli (Lina Leandersson), who moves into the apartment building next door with an elderly man we take to be her father. 

                    She look like a ghosted 12-year-old and walks around with a bare feet. She appears at night in the playground close to the apartment complex and seems impervious to the cold weather. Oskar asks "Aren't you cold?" she replies "I guess I've forgotten how." "And don't go getting any ideas", she adds. "Just so you know, I can't be your friend." But they soon become the two kindred geeks, teaching each other Morse Code that they can use to tap-tap-tap out messages at night through their adjacent bedroom walls. She also encourages Oskar to strike back at his tormentors. However, Eli has only one character flaw: she is a vampire.

                 Many vampire movies have taken seriously the folkloric bit of business that the undead have to be invited into a household in order to prey on victims within. The vampires also have certain characteristics: no reflection, getting freaked out by the cross or being repelled by garlic. No previous vampire movie has addressed the myth of inviting as rigorously like "Let the Right One In." It also suffices in startling fashion to a question that has lingered at the back of your mind every time this aspect of the legend crops up in a movie — what happens if you don’t invite a vampire in but they cross the threshold anyway? It’s not pretty, but it’s also not something you’ve seen in a film before. These things remain as the testament to the ingenuity of author/screenwriter John Lindqvist, who adapted his own book. His script and book creates endless possibilities for the vampire myth. It's really great to know that nearly 90 years after "Nosferatu" there are still new twists possible to the most familiar of all movie monsters.

                 Director Tomas Alfredson's moody beauty is visually lyrical. In one of Alfredson's most galvanizing moments, the camera pulls back as Oskar delivers retribution on his nemesis, avoiding the easy melodrama inherent in the moment, and making it indelible. There's a lot of darkness, snow, and ice, but the director is more interested in touching emotional chords than in creating "boo!" moments.  

                  Hedebrant as Oskar, with blond hair and pale skin is the perfect choice to play that role. He absolutely makes the character emote, withdrawn, and a little creepy. Lina Leandersson as Eli  brings a believable shyness to her role. She has wonderfully crafted an individual who looks both mysterious and compelling. She looks innocent and also reminds as of a creature that gives a feverish nightmare. 

                 If you feel that you are not up to reading subtitles, then I would recommend the Hollywood remake "Let Me In", which comes close to this masterpiece. Once again I'd like to point out that this is not a children's story even though it involves kids. This is strictly an adult's movie, with unsettling undercurrents of pedophilia and exploitation that emerge from deeper analysis.  Fear-inducing and heartwarming "Let the Right One In" is up there with the bloodsucking classics.


Let the Right One In - IMDb


Unknown said...

Yes, i have seen let me in..the story line seems to follow the same pattern.....let me in is a classic of a movie...i loved it the loved the way...being a vampire she taught him to fight like a man...i loved the way...being a vampire...they would quietly share the music across the wall... looking forward for this movie...

Haricharan Pudipeddi said...

Haven't watched it yet..WIll check out soon and return with a comment