Let The Right One In
(2008 / Sweden)
The European forecast for horror looks exceedingly good as Thomas Alfredson rubs his Directorial hands together to create a spark of genre genius. His modern take on Vampirism is creative and emotively chilling, as he shows us the human side to perceived evil. Set amidst the winter backdrop of a snow enshrouded Stockholm in Sweden, this is a thriller with its thermostat set to chill.
Oskar is a twelve year old Swedish boy, living in a prefabricated tenant block with his mother, separated from his father and an outcast to fellow school mates. He is bullied and often physically assaulted by his peers, yet he refrains from emotion, escaping from his uncomfortable world through his imagination self gratifying solace. Into his life comes a young girl who shares his affinity with solitude, but her life style is curfewed primarily for the safety of others !. This turns out to be no ordinary young girl, but a far greater lived existence of a vampire exemplifying the appearance of a twelve year old child. She is named Eli.
Together Oskar and Eli form a friendship that develops into a mutually fulfilling reliance upon each other. As if just meeting his new found companion and seeing her only at night were not a clue to Oskar that something is unusual about Eli, experiencing her pangs at the sight of blood alert him to her true identity. Eli is no vicarious life form feeding off the innocent however, her existence relies upon the sustenance of blood, but unlike regular folk her chosen meal is not readily available at the local supermarket.
The brilliance of the movie lies within the performances of its two lead young stars, Kåre Hedebrant as Oskar and Lina Leandersson as Eli. Leandersson's portrayal of a creature with a surely vested soul is remarkable.
As Eli entrusts herself to Oskar, he in turn develops a relationship with her in his own accepting way, beyond that of tentative young affection and into a defined true love. But Eli cannot stay for long in one place for fear of discovery and all the bigotry that casts its shadow upon her existence.
Eli bestows a greater belief in himself upon Oskar, and this leads to him standing up for himself against those that would bully him. This ultimately brings about a greater threat upon his status in the community, and retribution brings about a terrifying scenario where Oskar is alone once more !.
A very well written story is diligently developed onto film with tireless attention to detail, and a meticulous metaphor for love against all the odds shines through in the finished article. Bravo to all concerned in creating a mini masterwork on such a modest budget.
It isn't just an unusual tale of love, however, as the moments of shocks are startling, and one scene involving a mass reaction of cats against a recently turned vampire is bizarrely brutal. The closure too is a memorable one that is both apt and satisfying in its deftly dealt bloody finality !.
When it comes to selecting your next movie be sure to Let The Right One In.