Let The Right One In (2008)

DVD Cover (Magnet Releasing)
Genres: Drama, Horror, Vampire Film
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Tomas Alfredson Tomas Alfredson
Kåre Hedebrant Kåre Hedebrant
Lina Leandersson Lina Leandersson
Per Ragnar Per Ragnar
Henrik Dahl Henrik Dahl
Karin Bergquist Karin Bergquist
Movie Connections:
Let The Right One In
> Let The Right One In (2008)
> Let Me In (2010)

7.9 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by bluemeanie
Added: October 05, 2008
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.

Chad #1: Chad - 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.
Tristan #2: Tristan - 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 #3: Norman S. Wolfe - added 10/06/2008, 02:03 AM
In what language is it?
I like to keep my reading and seeing separated...

Why such hostility to remakes? Most are far better then the original, specially the Japanese/Korean ones...
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 away...
Ginose #4: Ginose - added 10/06/2008, 02:21 AM
Okay, I'll cut short to summerize the base reasons to be hurled at such an assinine statement:
The films rarely stay true to source material.
Acting gets worse (9 times out of 10).
There's a lack of quality to the products (normally).
They do too much to appeal to a market rather than actually make the movie better.
Dumbing down of themes and points from the originals.
etc. etc.

Now, to point, this move looks fantastic, been trying to keep up with it for awhile... looking forward to it.
bluemeanie #5: bluemeanie - added 10/06/2008, 02:39 AM
Yeah...I dread this remake...and by Matt Reeves..."Cloverfield". Yuck.
Chad #6: Chad - 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 of ten...
That "action movie" = the original version.
Your backyard fun = the remake.

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 #7: 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.
moviefreak87 #8: moviefreak87 - 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 freakin awesome
bluemeanie #9: bluemeanie - added 10/06/2008, 03:28 PM
I am about to be posting a review for "Timecrimes". Expect it soon. Also an amazing film.
BuryMeAlive #10: BuryMeAlive - 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.. :(
waxtadpole3657 #11: waxtadpole3657 - 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).

Anywaaaaaaay...enough 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 #12: 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??
Crispy #13: Crispy - 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.
Crispy #14: Crispy - added 10/12/2008, 01:39 AM
Obviously, that was supposed to be 'minority'. Bear with me here folks.
bluemeanie #15: bluemeanie - 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.
Greg Follender #16: Greg Follender - added 11/05/2008, 05:45 PM
I'm REALLY looking forward to seeing this over the weekend...

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;)
No DVD 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 kitsch factor.

Greg Follender #17: Greg Follender - 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 be!

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 title...

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 genre.

Go see it. You won't regret it.

And I can almost guarantee that the American remake will retain almost none of the otherworldly charm of this fine film...
grain of sand #18: 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 keep going.
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.

waxtadpole3657 #19: waxtadpole3657 - 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.
Chad #20: Chad - 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 immensely.

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.
Tristan #21: Tristan - 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.
Nirrad #22: Nirrad - 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.
Greg Follender #23: Greg Follender - 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 subtitles within...
Wish me luck!

Crispy #24: Crispy - 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".
Greg Follender #25: Greg Follender - 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 opinion.

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 it though...

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;)

Crispy #26: Crispy - 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.
Greg Follender #27: Greg Follender - 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 did.

Well, at least I have a better understanding of your tastes for future recommendations, eh?
Tristan #28: Tristan - 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
Lucid Dreams #29: Lucid Dreams - added 08/03/2009, 08:44 PM
It was good, but it wasn't great 7/10
Greg Follender #30: Greg Follender - 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...
Fun and inventive...
Nirrad #31: Nirrad - 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 #32: 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.
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