One sign of a great movie is the images it leaves with you. My favorite visual from Let the Right One In occurs in a swimming pool near the end of the film … but describing it would be a spoiler, so I’ll refrain.
Another indicator that a foreign film excels is when Hollywood announces plans for a remake. Sadly, just such a plan is in the works for this brilliant Swedish movie from 2008. But for now, we can still appreciate the original.
So how does this movie stand apart from the glut of other vampire films? It is certainly not the scariest vampire movie you’ll ever see, but it might be the best. A lot of the credit goes to Lina Leandersson’s performance as Eli, the young heroine with a taste for blood. I’m not sure why, but prepubescent females make for some of the most frightening characters in horror. I’m thinking of Linda Blair in The Exorcist, and the girl climbing through a television in The Ring. Maybe it’s because in real life, young females are the least threatening members of society, and so when they do turn on you ….
Let the Right One In has more than strong performances; it has Swedish atmosphere, always cold, quiet, and creepy. And director Tomas Alfredson does not rush things (I’ll bet the American remake won’t pause for a second). Oh, and did I mention that this film is also a haunting love story? Grade: A-
Director: Tomas Alfredson Cast: Kare Hedebrant, Lina Leandersson, Per Ragnar, Henrik Dahl, Karin Bergquist, Peter Carlberg, Ika Nord, Karl-Robert Lindgren Release: 2008
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