Fantasia 2008: ‘Let The Right One In’

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Let The Right One Inlet_the_right_one_in_poster

Thomas Alfredson

Sweden, 2008

Let the Right One In, also known as Let Me in, refers to an occult rule that a vampire apparently cannot enter someone’s house without an invite. Based on the bestselling children’s novel from John Ajvide Lindqvist, the movie is a Swedish twist on a vampire story.

The story follows 12-year-old Oskar a timid and introverted boy who finds himself the victim of high school bullies. Spending most of his days alone his imagination goes into overtime and Oskar begins to put together a notebook of newspaper clippings related to a string of local murders. One night he meets and befriends a mysterious girl, Eli, who has just moved in next door. Eli is a 200 year old vampire girl frequently forced to feed on the blood of innocents to stay alive. The two are drawn to each other for similar but different reasons. The children form a bond which transcends friendship and sexuality and Eli helps Oskar to stand up to his bullies while Oskar discovers love for the very first time.

The film may comes across has just another teen horror flick but it is much more than that. In fact I would go so far as calling this a modern day masterpiece. Swedish director Thomas Alfredson takes a fresh approach at the tired old vampire myth and uses the blood thirst as a richly layered theme of pre-adolescent lust, sexual experimentation and social alienation. It still follows the classic rules of the vampire mythology but twists each in new and clever way. Writer John Ajvide Lindqvist, responsible for both the book and screenplay mixes in the horror genre with a coming-of-age tale and a mysterious love story that explores the darker side of alienation. It’s dreamlike, hypnotic, horrific, poetic and a fine example of great film making.

The film starts deliberately slow, building up its pace accompanied by its moody score, and at times effective silence. The cinematography is stunning and makes great use of its outdoor winter shots. The handful of special effects sequences are inventively staged for maximum effect and while although the scares are few, when needed the violence is brutal and unforgiving. All this and did I forget to mention that it’s chilling ending, is one of the best endings I’ve seen in years.

Extraordinary performances, flawless scripting, stunning cinematography and one of the greatest directorial debuts in the last thirty years. Truly iconic, unforgettable and comes with the highest possible recommendation on my part. It is an instant classic. The winner of the Award for Best Narrative Feature at both the Tribeca and Fantasia film festival this year, JJ Abrams is currently seeking out the rights to a US remake. In the mean time I hope it finds its ways into more North American theatres and homes.

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