Let the Right One in [DVD]
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Acclaimed Swedish horror film based on the novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist, who also wrote the screenplay for the film. Oskar (Kare Hedebrant) is a sensitive, fragile, 12-year-old boy, living in the suburbs of Stockholm in the early 1980s, who is bullied at school and spends his nights dreaming of revenge and rehearsing knife attacks in the courtyard behind his apartment building. There he meets his new next-door neighbour Eli (Lina Leandersson), a mysterious girl of his own age who turns out to be a vampire. With Eli on his side, Oskar is finally able to face up to the bullies who have made his life such a misery, but Eli's unquenchable thirst for blood brings problems of its own.
The enduring popularity of the vampire myth rests, in part, on sexual magnetism. In Let the Right One In, Tomas Alfredson's carefully controlled, yet sympathetic take on John Ajvide Lindqvist's Swedish bestseller-turned-screenplay, the protagonists are pre-teens, unlike the fully-formed night crawlers of HBO’s True Blood or Catherine Hardwicke’s Twilight (both also based on popular novels). Instead, 12-year-old Oskar (future heartbreaker Kåre Hedebrant) and Eli (Lina Leandersson) enter into a deadly form of puppy love. The product of divorce, Oskar lives with his harried mother, while his new neighbor resides with a mystery man named Håkan (Per Ragnar), who takes care of her unique dietary needs. From the wintery moment in 1982 that the lonely, towheaded boy spots the strange, dark-haired girl skulking around their outer-Stockholm tenement, he senses a kindred spirit. They bond, innocently enough, over a Rubik's Cube, but little does Oskar realise that Eli has been 12 for a very long time. Meanwhile, at school, bullies torment the pale and morbid student mercilessly. Through his friendship with Eli, Oskar doesn't just learn how to defend himself, but to become a sort of predator himself, begging the question as to whether Eli really exists or whether she represents a manifestation of his pent-up anger and resentment. Naturally, the international success of Lindqvist's fifth feature, like Norway's chilling Insomnia before it, has inspired an American remake, which is sure to boast superior special effects, but can't possibly capture the delicate balance he strikes here between the tender and the terrible. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
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Top Customer Reviews
Into this arid cinematic landscape comes Let the Right One In, a Swedish movie that tells the moving story of a young vampire. The hauntingly beautiful story is rather simple - the vampire girl Eli ("I have been 12 for a long time"), develops a relationship with Oskar, a 12-year-old boy who is tormented by classmates at his Stockholm school. Their relationship blossoms in a frozen landscape, amidst the frenzy of murder necessitated by Eli's thirst for blood and Oskar's travails at school. It is a voyage of discovery for both protagonists in the movie - they learn the finer points of life (and death) from each other.
The viewer immediately warms up to both characters, played brilliantly by the two first-time leads. It is hard not to sympathise with Oskar, who finally learns to `handle' his tormentors the hard way on Eli's advice. Eli is one vampire you do not hate - her life is one long struggle for blood, company and love. The film does have gore - but it is not the primary focus. It has plenty of blood, but in the director's hand it becomes the conduit through which the two characters bond. Oskar stands by Eli even after learning that she is a vampire. If that is not love, what is ?
In that context, The Right One is a love story par excellence. The one thing that could have prevented Oskar from reaching out to Eli instead becomes their greatest strength. In one instance, Oskar saves Eli's life from a potential killer. The would-be killer ends up being a source of blood for Eli.Read more ›
It's different right from the start. The opening credits come up white text on a black backgound without any music, and the effect is quite spectacular. This simple trick sets an erie atmosphere instantly and is a perfect example of the approach taken in the rest of the film: less is more.
The film is long; one reviewer says slow but I disagree - I think perhaps minimalist is a better choice of word. The whole work looks stunning, and from the Blu ray menu to the subtle use of CGI, it almost felt like a piece of beautiful Swedish design for which the country is so known for; speaking of the subtle CGI, because it's used sparingly and cleverly, it's impact is all the more greater when you do notice it. Half the time though, you don't. Half the time, you're not sure if your eyes are playing tricks on you, and that's another example of the genius of the film and the incredible atmosphere it manages to create.
The scenery throughout the film is beautiful and Blue Ray is the perfect format for the sparkling white snow that this film is awash with. The actors who play the main characters, Oskar and Eli, although young, are excellent and do a great job. I won't go into the specifics here, I'm sure there's other reviews that tell you all about the story but 'Let the Right One In' is a love story of sorts between an awkward young boy and a young girl who moves onto his estate. What unfolds is a brilliant and touching piece of cinema that is both terrifying in places and beautiful in others.
It was also nice to watch a film in this language too I found, and the whole thing was just so well done on every level it was staggering.Read more ›
To praise LET THE RIGHT ONE IN as one of the best "vampire" films is doing it a disservice. While that claim is undoubtedly true, LET THE RIGHT ONE IN is also one of the best films (regardless of genre) in quite some time. More a film about the budding relationship between a friendless, bullied 12 year old boy and someone who has "been 12 years old for a long time", the vampirism sets the backdrop and conflict for these two characters to find their way through to form a real connection. With amazing direction, cinematography, music and acting, LET THE RIGHT ONE IN is a truly great film.
A quick comment about this Blu-Ray release. Here in America, we suffer from a release that boasts a "dumbed-down" subtitle translation (different from the subtitles in the theatrical release) and the choice of an English-dubbed audio track that many claim to be one of the worst they've ever heard. Since Blu-Ray does not suffer from the Region Coding that restrains DVD releases and is also immune to any PAL/NTSC compatability issues (this release is fully functional on American equipment), I purchased the UK release and have been absolutely thrilled with its quality and presentation. I must also admit that it is amazingly refreshing to be offered a foreign-language film in which there simply is no English-dubbed option; you hear the film in Swedish and read subtitles. Period.
It's a shame I don't have the option of finding a quality release like this one in the States, but I am very glad that I was able to take advantage of this one.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Forget the dumbed down Hollywood version for the US market . This is excellent . Atmospheric, dark and gripping all through . Read morePublished 17 days ago by bigndav
I'll be honest I was expecting more of a horror film than this turned out to be. It's only a cert 15, but it was not what I expected at all. Read morePublished 21 days ago by Martyn Stanley
My most favorite horror movie, recommended for fans of Twilight sagaPublished 26 days ago by Cliente Amazon
A wonderful film that deserves repeated viewing to truly appreciate it.Published 2 months ago by English Gent
Couldn't see much of a difference with this and let the right one in... Both enjoyablePublished 3 months ago by DAVID CARR
A dark but intriguing film. The relationship between the two main characters feels almost unique in film in the way it's presented and the shadowy feel that runs throughout is... Read morePublished 3 months ago by ReviewMonkey