on 29 August 2009
Frankly, I haven't liked many of the vampire movies that hit the theatres in the recent past. They had very little substance, apart from gore and blood. The only upside was the superb special effects. One did not however feel they were `real' characters, if you can use that term for a bloodthirsty vampire.
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. She repays her gratitude in the final sequences of the film. Indeed, the eerie swimming pool scene is one of the finest moments of horror seen on film recently.
As for the technical aspects of the film, the cinematography is nothing short of excellent. It captures the desolate and snowy landscape of Sweden so well that one cannot help feeling the cold. The special effects are excellent for a non-Hollywood film. I am sure they will have better special effects in the forthcoming American remake, but will it retain the `soul' of this Swedish masterpiece? The acting is uniformly good too. There is no doubt that two leads will get more roles in Swedish and foreign films in the future.
There is a great debate on the Internet about the subtitle translation, but I did not encounter any problems on this Optimum release. Having no knowledge of Swedish, I cannot say whether it is the best available, but it worked for me and I had no trouble comprehending the dialogues. Of course, one always has to take into account that in any language, there are subtle nuances, play on words and unique idioms and expressions that may not lend themselves so well to translation in to another language. I have also not read the book, so I do not know how faithful the film is to the book (I know some changes have been done). But taken on its own, the film is well paced. This could be due to the fact that the author of the book has written the movie script as well.
Technically, the DVD is brilliant and the blu-ray must be even better. There were hardly any artefacts in the many night scenes. The sound is not demo material, but the engineers have crafted it well to match the `atmosphere' conveyed in the film.
In short, this is one film you should have in your DVD/blu-ray library. It is a remarkable piece of contemporary cinema, one that you would not forget for a long time. It will require the full attention of your mind - and the heart - for 110 minutes, but it's worth every second. Films like this come along only rarely, so treasure it while you can.
This film is absolutely amazing. Everything about it is great: the story, the acting, the cinematography. Everything.
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. Certain scenes were so cleverly directed I was in awe of the director's use of the screen (if you've seen the film, take the final swimming pool scene for instance - that was very, very clever). So if you want an original film, that's visually stunning, emotionally touching, and also brutal and scary in places you'd be 'Letting the right one into' your film collection if you bought this.
on 2 September 2009
LET THE RIGHT ONE IN is a wonderful film that deserves a proper release to home video, and the UK is able to enjoy just such a release. We here in America, however, aren't as lucky.
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.
on 12 May 2009
This is not a just horror film, it is a moving modern fairytale that explores the relationship between two lonely children. It is the best film of 2008, probably the best film about vampires ever made, and one of the best explorations of childhood relationships ever commited to film. It is more "My Girl" with blood than a Swedish "Twilight."
There are so many strange, otherworldly and moving scenes in this film. They bond over a rubix cube in the snow. The morning when Oscar gazes from his window after Eli has left, wondering how she flew from his third story window. The moment Oscar finally asks Eli, through glass, the questions you feel he has been itching to for some time (Are you a vampire? Are you dead? Are you old? "I'm twelve" she answers, "I have been twelve for a long time.") It is searingly touching in its innocence despite how ridiculous the whole thing sounds. Then there is their parting, Oscar trying desperately to remain composed as he witnesses her feeding on a local man. After killing him she stands in front of Oscar, a huge ring of dripping blood around her mouth, and tells him they must part. He stares, his heart pumping, biting his lip. The first time he witnesses the raw truth of her terrible existence.
Despite decapitations, frozen corpses and pools of blood, at it's heart this is a gentle and touching story about two lonely twelve year old children - one cursed by urges she cannot control and the other inextricably attracted through his own isolation to this beautiful but beastly creature who appears one night in the playground outside his house.
The two leads (astoundingly both first time child actors) are electric. Their performances are so arresting that the film suffers for every moment they are not on screen. One of the final scenes featuring the pair was recently voted the best piece of cinematography of 2008, beating amongst others The Dark Knight to the honour. It's no surprise, because the film looks incredible. It is the tone and direction of the piece that moves it head and shoulders above any other film featuring a vampire or a gushing severed artery.
The trailers and posters are geared to make this look something like the Ring films, the creepy girl with greasy hair, the looming girl in a nightdress etc. This isn't Damien - it's not about strange children staring at the camera. It's hugely entertaining and moving original film making. Full of imagination, breathtaking in its bravery and vision. See it.
on 6 February 2012
This film blew me away when I watched it. There is one moment where CGI is used which looked unrealistic and was a bit of a blip (the cats!), but I can overlook that because of the great story, exceptional acting of the two main children, the fantastic music and one of the best camera shots I think I've ever seen in a film (where the girl is underneath the bridge). Can't recommend this film enough.
on 24 December 2009
Starring: Kare Hedebrant, Lina Leandersson, Per Ragnar
Director: Tomas Alfredson
I don't normally write reviews but after seeing Let The Right One In, I knew I had to say something - this film is sensational. It is not a horror - please don't think that, because one of the main characters is a vampire (and the film does not shy away from the blood) that it is a horror.
It's a love story. Two teenagers, both isolated from the world - one because he is the son of a divorced couple who is being bullied at school -and the other because she is a Vampire - come together, each learning to trust, to stand up against those things that are dragging them down, and eventually to love one another.
But please don't think this is Twilight! It's not Hollywood. The pacing is perfect, in no way rushed like your average Hollywood fare, the images are beautifully stark, adding to the isolation these characters live in.
What's more - this film will make you FEEL. It will make you smile at the teenager's sexual awakening and make you warm inside as you witness their burgeoning love. At the same time it will make you pity their plights and your stomach will be in knots as the outside world begins to invade their's.
So please, watch this film. don't worry about the subtitles. Rent it, feel it and you will love it.
`Let the Right One In' is a Swedish thriller about a young, lonely 12-year-old boy named Oskar who's neglected by his parents and is bullied at school. One day he meets his new next door neighbour, Eli. Being the same age, the two make friends but Eli isn't an ordinary girl - she is a vampire.
I'd read a few decent reviews of this before seeing it at the cinema this weekend and although they were all saying that is outstanding, I wasn't expecting anything as good as this. The story sounded a little bit like the recent Twilight movie that I wasn't all that impressed with to be honest (as it was aimed more for teenage girls) but this film had everything - horror, suspense, romance, mystery and of course, a vampire. The setting is very dark and miserable giving the perfect ambience and it felt like it really reflected Oskar and Eli's feelings of being so cold and lonely. The story is fairly straight-forward but is so well written and well acted, I thought that it was superb. Being subtitled didn't spoil it for me at all - in fact, after about 5 minutes I didn't even notice I was reading them anymore.
Overall I strongly recommend seeing this film as it is easily one of the best foreign films that I've seen since The Orphanage and Tell No One and fans of horror thrillers should love this.
on 26 December 2011
I saw this film on TV but knew I wanted to watch it again (which is very rare) so I bought the DVD. If you think that you have seen every angle that bloodsucking fangsters have to offer then you have to see this film. The story concentrates on two kids, a young boy and a young female vampire who form a close relationship. Through her experience of having to deal with life especially after death, this young girl has the knowledge to teach the boy, a bullied square peg in a round hole kind of kid, how to stand up for himself. It has it's inevitable gory bits but the whole film is based around the incredible bond that they form which will change both their lives forever. The film is subtitled but don't let that put you off.
on 6 July 2016
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. Instead of villain kills all gore-fest full of jump-scares and blood and guts... We get a really intelligent, and thought provoking character driven film. The relationship dynamic of Oskar and Eli is fascinating and it makes you question morality and the meaning of the labels 'evil' and 'monster' it give you perspective and context. 'Let the Right One In' paints a strange picture of vampires, it's hard to see Eli as an evil, all powerful monster. She's more of a wounded soul who leads a sad and lonely existence, ever on the run, ever paying a high price for the extraordinary abilities being a vampire gives her. The film maker here is trying to blur the lines of morality, the real monster in this film isn't Eli, the real monsters are people, products of their environments. I found the ending particularly satisfying and gratifying. As Mark Kermode said, what makes this film powerful isn't what you see, but what you don't see. It's thought provoking not for the answers it gives you, but the questions. The setting is very bleak, it paints a stark picture of Sweden, even more so than Wallander. The characters are interesting, particularly Oskar and Eli. No, it wasn't scary, but it WAS creepy, and creepy in a good way. If you're after a standard, jumpy scary horror film, give this a miss. If you want a film with real depth, that will make you think - give this a go!
on 17 June 2011
This film is a film to recommend to anyone who appreciates dark and stark Scandinavian Film Dramas. While it is most definitely a "Horror Film" it is extremely moving & touching, being a love story with a vengeance. Beautifully shot and acted, especially by the young main protagonists, it leaves you somehow with a warm satisfaction despite the icy & snowy starkness of the winter landscapes. It is one of the most moving and best films in my collection, & one you will want to watch again. I would highly recommend this unforgettable film. Sincerely, Mrs L M A Morgan.