Drama, Horror, Vampire Film
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When was the last time you saw a truly amazing vampire film? It's been a while, hasn't it? Most people say that "Nosferatu" is the masterpiece to end all masterpieces, but you have to give some credit to Christopher Lee's interpretation as well as Coppola's version, as well. However, you just don't find truly solid vampire films anymore. "Let the Right One In" comes to us from Sweden, and it's one of the best vampire films ever made. However, it's not just a film about vampires. It's also a film about young love and fitting in. I had heard great things about this film prior to the festival, and it was just announced it was getting a Hollywood remake, God help us. Not only was this film the best motion picture I saw at the festival this year, it was also one of the best films of the year and the best film I have ever seen at the Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival.
The film tells the story of Oskar (Kare Hedebrant), a 12-year-old Swedish boy. Oskar is picked on and bullied at school, is shy and introverted and just doesn't seem to fit in. One night he meets Eli (Lina Leandersson), a young girl who lives in his building. At first, the two are stand-offish, but they soon start getting to know one another. Here's the problem - Lina is a vampire. She lives with an older man who goes out at night and hunts for blood for the girl. As Lina says, she's twelve-years-old, she doesn't know how long she's been that age. Oskar and Lina develop a strong relationship in the film, as people start disappearing around the two. Oskar finds, in Lina, someone who will listen to him and someone who will love him. Lina finds, in Oskar, someone who does not judge her for who she is or what she has to do to survive. More than anything, this film is about young romance and about how one person can change your life forever, for good and bad.
This film is immaculately shot and conceived from the first frame. Based on a novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist, it is directed by Tomas Alfredson, who deserves an Academy Award nomination for his incredible work. It took over two years to cast the two young leads, and it was well worth the wait as they tackle material far advanced to their years. The cinematography is gorgeous and some of the shots are just so brilliantly composed, it brings tears to the eyes. The score is haunting and the pacing of the film is absolutely in keeping with what it needs to be. It felt like John Hughes had made a film about vampires. It's a horror film...a comedy...a romance...a drama. How many films can work so many genres into a picture with this kind of ease? I want to go ahead and throw in my Academy Award suggestions: Best Foreign Language Film, Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Original Score and Best Editing. That should do it.
Keep an eye out for "Let the Right One In" - it's a very special film. It's a horror film with heart and those are a rare occurrence these days. The film is receiving a limited theatrical release very soon and then will probably find a DVD release soon thereafter. The American remake is slated for next year, though I am sure they will just fuck it up. "Let the Right One In" is one of the best films of the year, hands down, and might be one of the best films I have ever seen. I need to think more on it and see it a couple more times before I can officially make that distinction.
- added 10/05/2008, 07:20 AM
This one hasn't even started its theatrical run
in its native country, and Hollywood has already
announced a remake. Awesome.
- added 10/05/2008, 10:22 AM
I've been wanting to see this forever. Thank God
it's a good one.
Norman S. Wolfe
- added 10/06/2008, 02:03 AM
In what language is it?
I like to keep my
reading and seeing separated...
such hostility to remakes? Most are far better
then the original, specially the Japanese/Korean
Now, I am going into my bunker,
waiting out the bombardment, so that I don't have
shell-shock, and can actually hear my movies in
English, they are supposed to be...Fire
- added 10/06/2008, 02:21 AM
Okay, I'll cut short to summerize the base
reasons to be hurled at such an assinine
The films rarely stay true to
Acting gets worse (9 times
out of 10).
There's a lack of quality to the
They do too much to
appeal to a market rather than actually make the
Dumbing down of themes and
points from the originals.
Now, to point, this move looks fantastic,
been trying to keep up with it for awhile...
looking forward to it.
- added 10/06/2008, 02:39 AM
Yeah...I dread this remake...and by Matt
- added 10/06/2008, 03:10 AM
Remember how when you were a kid, you'd see a
certain action movie and go reenact it out in your
backyard with a couple of friends? Yeah, it was
fun, but it's not something that you would commit
to film and send out to theaters because nobody
would want to see it.
Nine times out
That "action movie" =
the original version.
Your backyard fun =
It's like some asshole in
a suit sees these movies, misses the bigger
picture, and hires some hack to remake the cool
scenes for us dumb Americans. Take a look at The
Host: will the remake incorporate all of the
subtle references toward pollution, government
involvement in the people's lives, and American's
involvement in foreign events? Nope, it'll be the
fiftieth Godzilla remake, and speaking of
Godzilla... well, compare the original Japanese
version and the original American remake / reedit.
grain of sand
- added 10/06/2008, 07:51 AM
Also been keeping up with this one for some time,
can't wait for the dvd.
- added 10/06/2008, 03:08 PM
yeah that sucks about the remake, hopefully it
won't be on a shakycam like cloverfield. I just
hope the other movies in the six shooter series
are this good. Special, Timecrimes, Eden Log, Big
Man Japan, Donkey Punch. They all look pretty
- added 10/06/2008, 03:28 PM
I am about to be posting a review for
"Timecrimes". Expect it soon. Also an
- added 10/07/2008, 08:04 PM
I'm a Swede and haven't seen it yet, as MvMMDI
said, it's not even out here yet.. :(
- added 10/07/2008, 11:42 PM
This one hasn't even started its theatrical
run in its native country, and Hollywood has
already announced a remake. Awesome.
That sounds pretty much like the remake
of [REC]. The movie had been out for like 2
fucking weeks in its native country, and it was
picked up for a remake with a stupid name
(Quarantine). And, based on the trailers and TV
spots, it looks like the most pointless damn
remake ever. It looks EXACTLY the same. They even
went as far as to ruin the damn money shot of the
movie in the trailer (for those of you that
haven't seen the original, the scene where the
girl gets dragged away into the dark...LAST shot
of the movie).
rambling about remakes. Yeah, I heard about this
movie a little while ago, and it sounds absolutely
fantastic. I'm really want to see this.
Norman S. Wolfe
- added 10/08/2008, 04:35 AM
OK, but there are some good ones...
What about the language problem? Anybody have
difficulty following a movie, and enjoying it,
when you don't understand the native language,
specially if there is a lot of dialog???
Any thoughts on dubbing the original,
would that be the best way to keep true to the
original while not alienating people like me, who
don't like to read and try to view the movie at
the same time?
As for the movie, I
love the ambiance Swedes manage to imprint on
their movies and books, so I'll be looking out for
this one. Any Amazon.co.uk release date??
- added 10/12/2008, 01:36 AM
Be honest with you Wolfe, Kaiju aside, you're in
the vast majority when it comes to the subbed vs.
dubbed argument. The truth is, most people prefer
subbing, and since that's a hell of a lot cheaper,
that's the way they usually go.
- added 10/12/2008, 01:39 AM
Obviously, that was supposed to be 'minority'.
Bear with me here folks.
- added 10/13/2008, 03:26 PM
Yeah, dubbed films make me sick. They distract
from the movie watching experience. Subtitles are
ALWAYS the way to go, unless you're blind. I
don't understand preferring dubbing over subbing.
Just doesn't compute.
- added 11/05/2008, 05:45 PM
I'm REALLY looking forward to seeing this over
I haven't been this
excited over a vampire flick since the
quasi-vampiric "The Reflecting Skin"
many years ago.
Incidentally, if you can
locate the aforementioned film on VHS anywhere,
it's well worth your viewing time;)
release yet... utterly confounding...
Oh... and I whole-heartedly agree on the whole
sub versus dub debate... dubs are the bastard
child of the illiterate!
All humor aside,
they truly do distract (and detract) from the
quality of the film's casting choices. I can't
even really listen to dubbing in my kaiju films
anymore... it's only tolerable for occasional
- added 11/08/2008, 11:31 AM
OK... I caught the midnight screening of this
film at the Angelica downtown yesterday evening...
and I must say, even though I have been
anticipating this film since I first heard about
it through the cinemaphile grapevine, i really had
no idea how terrific this little movie would
Aside from a few unfortunate uses
of CGI (none of which were actually needed for the
film's storytelling proper), the tale is almost
perfectly told through spare dialogue and
beautifully austere cinematography. All the
actors acquitted themselves admirably (I think...
though I'm no expert on Nordic expression). Both
of the lead actors were extraordinary in the way
that they both embrace their respective
characters. In a weird way, I almost wish that
the young actor's roles were reversed... but
you'll just have to see what I mean when you watch
the film yourself.
While the reviewer
has certainly done the film's content justice, i'd
like to explore another fascinating aspect of the
film... it is the first time in vampire cinema
that the faithful acolyte's right of passage is on
full display. I'd always wondered how and why
Renfield became the original Count's impassioned
thrall... and this films exploration of the
inevitable fall of the old and initiation of the
new acolyte is incredibly compelling. It even
adds a new aspect to the film's cryptic
A brilliant example of the
concept that less is more, this quiet storm of a
film keeps the viewer enraptured throughout and
leaves them fully satisfied at it's finale. A
true rarity among the usual fare in this
Go see it. You won't regret
And I can almost guarantee that
the American remake will retain almost none of the
otherworldly charm of this fine film...
grain of sand
- added 11/10/2008, 05:14 AM
WOW.. Fucking beautiful. I haven't felt this way
after seeing a film in awhile.. I wanted it to
The expressions on the kids
faces were a big deal, the girl actually looked
like she was older inside.
Great story, I
can't wait to own this. There is no way in hell
Hollywood could recreate this sort of thing.
- added 12/05/2008, 06:45 PM
I'm about 1/4 of the way through the novel, and I
cannot fucking wait to see the film. It's opening
next week in Hartford. It's about a 45 minute
drive, but totally worth it. I have a DVD screener
(which I have yet to watch), but I'd prefer to see
it in the big screen.
- added 03/25/2009, 02:12 PM
Amazing movie, no question about it.
Unfortunately, one has to pirate it to get the
true experience. For those who don't know, the
subtitle tracks on the US and Canadian release of
this film is basically akin to what you'd get on
Google Translator (the word "sweet" is
translated to "guh", for example). The
dubbed version of the film follows the original
script, but the voice actors didn't put a whole
lot of effort into it and it hurts the movie
It's really a shame that I
waited for the legitimate release of the Magnet
DVD and I now have it sitting right here on my
desk, yet I had to go pirate this movie last
night. If you happen to be over here in USA or
Canada, don't make the same mistake that I did:
pirate this or import it from another country, DO
NOT BUY IT.
- added 03/25/2009, 03:00 PM
I almost picked this up last week. I was on my
way to the cash and everything. For some reason I
put it back, and a night or two later I read about
the terrible subtitle problem. So glad I put it
back. Luckily for me, I have a pirated copy which
I will be watching, sans problem.
- added 03/25/2009, 05:16 PM
I nearly picked it up too, but it didn't have a
price tag on it, and I couldn't remember if it was
good or not.
- added 04/07/2009, 01:49 PM
I'm going to try and order the Swedish Blu-ray
version of this film to sample the English
Wish me luck!
- added 05/03/2009, 01:52 AM
Well Greg, I watched this movie, and it looks
like I'm the first one who not only didn't find it
amazing, I was bored to tears and couldn't wait
for it to wrap up. I look forward to being accused
of being "on a bandwagon".
- added 05/03/2009, 03:44 AM
Wow... I'm surprised that you didn't dig on the
unusual approach to the whole vampire genre... but
I'm not going to accuse you of being on any
"bandwagon". I respect your
Look... some folks just find
foreign films with a slow burn to be somewhat
boring. I've heard this before, 385... and I'll
hear it again for sure. I'm sorry you didn't like
Didn't you find any of
the film refreshingly different from the usual
fanged fare? Did nothing about the film strike
you as innovative or cleverly realized? I must
admit... hearing that you were "bored to
tears" is shocking to say the least! I was
riveted to every frame of this film...
Oh well, I'm terribly sorry for wasting your
time, sir... but I thought that the restrained and
sympathetic perspective the film chose for this
type of genre was noteworthy. Maybe I just watch
too much Kurosawa and my patience for film pacing
is more forgiving than most;)
- added 05/03/2009, 08:55 AM
No need to apologize; you loved a movie and
wanted to share that joy. Can hardly fault you for
that. One thing I would like to point out that is
that while you saw it as a fresh new perspective
on the vampire genre, I saw it as a slice-of-life,
awkward preteen love story where one of the
characters just happened to be a vampire. In my
opinion, it wasn't so much a new spin in the world
of horror so much as putting a new, horror twinge
on a drama movie. Which is absolutely fine, but
those movies never were my cup of tea. Naturally,
I'm certainly not calling this a bad movie by any
stretch, I'm merely saying it wasn't for me.
- added 05/03/2009, 01:09 PM
Yeah... i suppose it isn't for everyone.
It's so tough to recommend a movie these days
and be fairly sure that the person you introduce
to the film will find it as impressive as you
Well, at least I have a better
understanding of your tastes for future
- added 06/13/2009, 03:03 PM
Absolutely loved this movie. I haven't enjoyed a
movie this much in a long, long time. I was
actually sad when the credits rolled, as I did not
want the film to end. 10/10
- added 08/03/2009, 08:44 PM
It was good, but it wasn't great 7/10
- added 08/04/2009, 12:00 AM
I felt the same way, Tristan...
Simply not enough films of this caliber being
made these days, in my humble opinion... a fresh
and unique take on a VERY tired genre.
I felt similarly about the Korean film,
"The Host"... see it if you haven't yet.
A real breath of fresh air blown into the stale
"B-Movie monster" arena...
- added 08/04/2009, 12:12 AM
Hes seen in, in fact, he let me borrow the DVD. I
should watch them shits. It says on the case
"on par with Jaws" and Jaws is my
favorite movie, so we'll see about that.
The Red Clover
- added 08/04/2009, 02:58 AM
I saw this maybe two months back, finally after
seeing this review and I have to say it was
everything this review said it was and more. It's
a shame it'll soon join the group of movies
bastardized by making an American version.