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5 reviews, 29 user ratings

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Let the Right One In
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by Peter Sobczynski

"The Little Girl Who Lived Down The Vein"
5 stars

“Let the Right One In,” a new horror import from Sweden, is finally arriving in theaters in America after receiving rave reviews on the festival circuit over the last few months that have suggested that it may be the Next Big Thing for the genre. Having seen more than my share of hugely hyped horror titles over the years that have failed to live up to the advanced word spread by easily deluded fan boys hoping to get in on the ground floor of a new masterpiece, I sat down to watch it with more than a little trepidation--would it turn out to be a great film after all, along the lines of “May” or “The Host,” or would it turn out to be just another oversold dud along the lines of “Teeth”? Well, I am here to tell you that for once, all of the advance hype is not only accurate, it hardly begins to do the film justice--not only is this a great horror film, it is a great film period regardless of genre.

The film tells the story of Oskar (Kare Hedebrant), a shy and lonely 12-year-old boy who spends his days at school being brutally bullied by a nasty thug and his evenings sitting alone in a room fantasizing about getting revenge on his oppressor and wishing desperately for a real friend. One night, while sitting out alone in the freezing courtyard, he meets Eli (Lina Leandersson), a girl about his age who has moved into the apartment next door with her much older guardian (Per Ragnar). Although Eli has her strange qualities--she won’t come out during the day, she doesn’t seem to notice the freezing cold and she has an odd aroma about her, the two of them quickly develop a friendship that begins to eventually blossom, at least on Oskar’s part, into the first pangs of young love. However, what Oskar doesn’t yet realize (and what we only gradually begin to understand) is that Eli is a vampire, something that only becomes clear to him when he cuts his hand with a knife as part of a friendship pact and she shows more interest in the blood dripping on the floor than in the gesture.

So as not to ruin any of the surprises that director Tomas Alfredson and screenwriter John Ajvide Lindqvist (who adapted his own novel) have in store, I wouldn’t dream of even hinting at what comes next. I will, however, mention that Lindqvist’s take on the classic vampire myth is easily the most fascinating and potent exploration of the subgenre to come along since “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” I will mention that Alfredson effortlessly conjures up a dark and chilly mood that is so palpable that you will feel just as chilly and isolated as the characters on the screen are. I will mention the fact that Hedebrant and Leandersson are so good at creating a touching and convincing portrait of young romance that when the two of them are together, you may find yourself forgetting that you are even watching a horror movie. Finally, I will mention that having gotten viewers to forget the film’s horror origins with such touching and finely calibrated scenes between the two young stars, Alfredson then proceeds to scare the crap out of them with a number of brilliantly staged shock moments that will catch even the most jaded genre buffs unawares before arriving at a climax that manages to come across as simultaneously terrifying, uplifting and absolutely unforgettable.

Since the days of the silent cinema, the silver screen has been inundated with vampire-related movies but only a few of them (“Nosferatu,“ “Horror of Dracula,“ “Black Sunday,“ “Near Dark,” “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” and “Nightwatch” spring to mind) have ever come close to doing justice to the myth and “Let the Right One In” deserves a place on that shortlist of undisputed classics. Bloody and beautiful in equal measure, this is a horror film that is so good that I almost don’t want to describe it as a horror film for fear of putting off some viewers who wouldn’t dream of spending good money to see such a thing on the assumption that it is nothing more than mindless and gory trash. Whether you are a fan of the genre or not, you need to rush out and see this right now, if only so that you can experience it the way that it was meant to be seen before the arrival of the already-announced American remake (which will be produced by some of the people behind “Cloverfield”). Trust me--this film is the right one indeed.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=17613&reviewer=389
originally posted: 11/14/08 00:00:00
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2008 Fantasia Film Festiva For more in the 2008 Fantasia Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: Fantastic Fest 2008 For more in the Fantastic Fest 2008 series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2008 Chicago International Film Festival For more in the 2008 Chicago International Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

4/04/13 David Hollingsworth Poetic, stunning, and a very worthwhile tribute to the vampire genre. 5 stars
3/06/12 Marty Eli/Oskar work great together. re-make's good, but this 1 has the heart. 5 stars
10/19/11 Magic Enchanting and haunting, touching and creepy. The best vampire movie in decades. 5 stars
8/12/11 jiropan best vampire film 4 stars
6/05/11 mikie best film iv ever seen i was those kis when i was 12 eli n oscar are magic 5 stars
1/12/11 Matt Stilwell What a vampire movie should be. You hear that, Twilight ? 5 stars
11/21/09 FrankNFurter Overrated, incredibly boring & pretentious. "Foreign" does not = "deep." 2 stars
10/18/09 daveyt Don't do Hollywood remake, PLEASE!!!!! 5 stars
10/17/09 Joise Cotton is a goddess Might be the best horror/drama hybrid since 'May' 5 stars
8/10/09 Benny Lava Atrociously slow and drab and without a redeeming plot to keep one awake. So dull... 1 stars
7/10/09 art A NIFTY FABLE! 4 stars
6/08/09 Man Out 6 Bucks This and Martyrs are best of 2008 5 stars
5/29/09 anthony A thoughtful, fresh approach; while staying true to vampyre lore! 5 stars
5/13/09 Matt great performances, great cinematography, great film. boycott the remake 5 stars
5/10/09 Darkstar Excellent! 5 stars
5/06/09 jeanne The two kids were beyond amazing - all right, everybody into the pool! 5 stars
4/16/09 Mark Just a great film. 5 stars
4/04/09 Sevarian Easily the best vampire film of recent years 5 stars
3/20/09 Baloney Reveals a horror paradox. The more the monster's humanity shows, the less monstrous she is. 5 stars
2/10/09 ES It was good, a preteen romance that makes one hope for as happy an ending as possible 4 stars
1/21/09 sidd dis movie rox.. XD 4 stars
12/27/08 mr.mike Recalls both Herzog's Nosferatu and Warhol's Dracula. 5 stars
12/16/08 damalc maybe best vamp film ever, since 'Near Dark' at the least 5 stars
12/08/08 brian c. The best horror film of the decade, and the best film of 2008 so far. Very beautiful. 5 stars
11/22/08 Jack Sommersby Overdeliberate and enervating, it's more bark than bite. 2 stars
11/14/08 Dan Feeney Yeah, that's how I felt too. My favourite film of 2008 so far, including The Visitor. 5 stars
11/09/08 stephen goodridge scary, but i loved it 5 stars
10/29/08 tiffany pettey movies like this that are realistic keep me enthralled and dont suck need a good review go 5 stars
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  24-Oct-2008 (R)
  DVD: 10-Mar-2009


  DVD: 10-Mar-2009

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