Thursday, April 23, 2009

#131: Låt den rätte komma in (Let the Right One In)

Let the Right One In
Directed by Tomas Alfredson
Written by John Ajvide Lindqvist
Released 2008

Last year saw the release of one of the most mesmerizing, haunting and unsettling films ever made about what it would be like to be loved by a vampire. And it had nothing to do with some veiled, Mormon, neutered vampire wish-fulfillment fantasy for undersexed middle-aged women.

Suck it, Twilight fans.

Much like Twilight, Let the Right One In is essentially the story of a member of the walking dead falling in love with a mortal human. What Twilight gets wrong is that this idea should be FUCKING TERRIFYING.

I will stop the Twilight comparisons right here, because Let the Right One In is working on such a higher level of atmosphere and storytelling (and let's not even get started comparing the acting) that the guilt by association factor could be crippling to any hesitant movie lovers reading this review.

Plus, the email and hate letters I'm going to get are going to be unbearable.

Anyway, Let the Right One In is a Swedish film, based on a 2004 Swedish novel, about a quiet and fairly odd 12 year old boy named Oskar. When Oskar isn't being picked on by the school bully or playing alone in the depressing courtyard of his apartment building, he's out back working his angst out by stabbing a tree with a knife, or secretly collecting a scrapbook of grisly local murders.

Those local murders start getting a lot more local with the appearance of a mysterious pair of new neighbors, a young girl and a doting old man. Oskar doesn't see much of them at first -- they keep the windows covered with cardboard, after all -- but he is soon joined on his nightly visits to the courtyard by a pale, somber young girl who may not be as young as she appears.

Director Tomas Alfredson has created a genre masterpiece here with a unique and subtly frightening film that somehow manages to evoke the undercurrents in The Omen and The Ice Storm. Its reach exceeds most horror movies, touching on themes of parental neglect, pedophilia and schoolyard retribution.

Everything about the movie is exquisite, from the cinematography to the icy soundtrack. I was only disappointed to learn after viewing the movie that the translated subtitles in the American release of the DVD were "dumbed down." Apparently, a recent re-release will fix this problem.

In addition to all of the perfect notes struck by Alfredson and his cast, there's a fantastic climax and a ending sequence that carries a massive sense of doom beneath its veneer of innocence. I can almost guarantee you that the upcoming American remake will change this and many other elements of Let the Right One In. Get over your fear of subtitles and check this version out before its too late.

For more on Let the Right One In:
- Movie information at IMDB
and Wikipedia.
- The official movie site (U.S.)
- Buy the DVD.

1 comment:

oRayzio said...

Do you know if you saw the version with the poorly translated subtitles or did you see the original theatrical subtitles? I saw it in the theater last year and loved it.