Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Let the Right One In (Låt den rätte komma in)

--Reviewed by Lindy Loo

Plotline: Oscar is a young boy picked on by his classmates. He entertains himself with his knife and fantasties of stabbing things. Eli is a young girl who moves into his apartment building. They take a shine to each other, but will Eli's secret come between their friendship and love?

Scariness factor: It's not a jump in your seat type movie. So though I'm going to say it's low on the scariness scale, that's not a bad thing.

Gross-Out Factor: Nothing overwhelmingly horrid. Some throat-slittings and a few attacks.

Complaints: Honestly, this movie is amazing. So I'm more than willing to overlook this singular complaint. Nonetheless, it needs to be said, as the movie would've been flawless if they hadn't kept this one scene in: The cat scene. CGI out the ass. And terrible. I like the idea. And it could've been done subtly. But instead, they jerked out a bit of CGI and just made it look silly and incongruous in comparison to the realistic cinematography in the rest of the movie.

High Points: Jesus. Where to even begin?
  • This is THE best vampire movie I've seen. Hands down. It perfectly captures what's so haunting about the folklore of the vampire and doesn't vamp it up (no pun intended) with the sexy-vampire twist that seems to be all the rage nowadays.

  • The acting is amazing. The young boy is wonderful, and the young girl: Jesus. She will knock your socks off.

  • It's a love story, and a beautiful love story at that. The funny thing is that this came out at about the same time as Twilight, and yet, this flick is what Twilight only WISHES it could be. I haven't seen a love story this great (horror or no) in a long long time.

  • It's delicate and tender, which is all the more strange given that it's a horror flick.

  • It's haunting. The story itself is haunting. And some of the scenes will just blow your mind with how haunting and strange and surreal and spooky they are.

  • I could go on and on. Really, it's an amazing film, horror or no. N/A and I saw it in the theater, and it was funny because it seemed like every 10 minutes or so, I'd find him just looking at me with this look like "I cannot even believe what I am seeing and how good this is." And during the car-ride home, he called at least three people JUST to tell them to go see the film. And he remarked to me, "I think that movie is in my top 6 films OF ALL TIME."

Overall: I had high hopes for this film since the trailers were so promising. And normally, I end up disappointed when that happens. But not with Let the Right One In. This movie is amazing, and not even just as a horror flick. It's a love story like none you've ever seen. It's beautiful. It's haunting. It's spooky. It's fantastic. I'd have to agree with N/A: This is definitely high on my list of Favorite Movies of All Time.

Grade: A+



At 12:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found this site through your vegan blog, which I follow pretty regularly. As I'm reading through the last 3 or 4 movies that you have reviewed, it's like you're reading my damn mind! I'm going, 'Yeah totally! That's exactly what I thought when I watched that!'

And then it hits me that these are all HORROR movies (yeah, a bit slow I know- sorry).

I think I have the biggest girly girl-on-girl crush ever! Vegan AND loves the horror????

We're so much alike!

Which means we'd totally fucking hate eachother in real life....

Anywho I'm going on to comment on some of those movies now...

At 12:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ooooookay, forgot to start with this one!

The cats! What the hell?!?!? It totally ruined the flow of the movie to see these stupid-faced CGI cats when it could have been done so much better with props, or even just suggested that they all went mental, like seeing it through the window more (which they did do a bit if I recall).

I hate when movies do this. Another one where this happened was Boogeyman ( Don't know if you reviewed this one yet, and SPOILER if you didn't, but the 'bad guy' was SO horribly done in CGI that you were left thinking 'What the----??' rather than 'OH SHIT!'

At 1:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You lurve me! You wanna have my babies! Woot!

At 7:24 PM, Blogger Joanne said...

So this is the movie you were recommending in a previous comment, huh? Sounds intriguing. I did see Twilight which I found good...only good. Nothing to rave about. So you're saying this is incredible and awesome. Well, I'll take your word for it and check it out. Funny, I haven't seen this movie advertised as a recent release in theaters. I had not heard of it before your review.

At 3:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know! I hadn't heard of it until one of my friends mentioned it, but it was out in the theater a few months ago (two, maybe three). Well worth it though. Kicks TWILIGHT'S ass I'm sure.

At 11:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mega spoiler alert. The following comment is nothing but spoilers.

I mean it, mega spoilers ahead.

I'm surprised you thought this was a love story. The way I understood it, the vampire - young in appearance but mentally sophisticated - knows that her old familiar is, well, old, and can no longer serve his purpose as a hunter-gatherer (lol).

So she cultivates a new familiar - the boy. She identifies him as a loner with huge unfulfilled emotional needs; she draws him into a friendship / love relationship; she tests his loyalty by exposing him to her dark side, essentially saying you can be with me and deal with this, or you can go back to your wretched loneliness; and she seals the bond by making him complicit in her actions.

By the final scene, the boy has taken the place of the old man we saw at the beginning of the film, and in all likelihood he will stay loyal to her until he, too, gets too old to perform the requisite tasks and must be replaced.

Hence - its good to be open to friendship and love, but you have to make sure you don't let the wrong person into your heart (because that person could be a manipulative, creepy vampire who will take advantage of you and ultimately suck you dry). Its not a love story; its a cautionary tale about falling in love.

I haven't seen Twilight but it sounds like the opposite - a true enduring romantic love sort of thing.

Whaddaya think?

At 2:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting. I can definitely see that. And I just finished the book as well, and the book delves into the old-man character more and in a way that actually backs up your argument.


I still think it's a love story. Her relationship with the old man character in the book is far different from that of hers with Oskar. She seems to find a kinship with Oskar that she doesn't feel with the old man (and definitely Oskar towards her). And I think that aspect is also brought out in the movie. THOUGH I actually do agree that your argument is a convincing one.

My gut though overridingly wants to argue that it's about two misfits who find something they need in one another and in doing so, find a love that they're looking for (and I don't mean "love" as in cheesy Hollywood romance, but a love that isn't contingent on sex but on understanding). I think they fill a hole in one another, and in that regard: love.

At 11:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was torn on this point while watching the movie. I was all, "Love story, love story, love story!" until about 2/3 of the way through, and then I started panicking for Oskar. But not immediate panic: it was panic for his future -- his far-away future -- which is going to mirror the old man's. Based on the movie alone (I didn't read the book), I think the old man had the same relationship with the girl when he was young -- his devotion was clear, to the point that he'd fully lost himself in her and her needs. But my gut says that *as he aged and she didn't* he naturally morphed into a father-figure, and out of his role as a young lover. He became less head-over-heels, but more compassionate (to her anyway, hehehe); less charming, but more nurturing; and the clincher -- less and less connected to the world and more and more dependent upon the bond between the two of them. As beautiful and tender as Oskar's relationship with the vampire is, I think it is doomed to follow the same path.

Disturbing, yes -- but isn't this idea of the absence of aging another facet of vampire lore that most stories ignore, or do little justice to? Sure, you live forever; sure, you miss the people who don't. But what about the tenuous bonds of human connection that we only understand as beings who age *together*? What happens when you're stuck at twelve and your fierce, tiny passion watches the equivalent of your first love out-age you and die, over and over again? You're wise, sure, but you're adolescent-wise. You're in love, sure, but you will not grow old with your death-destined lover, who will inevitably become world- and killing- and body- weary. And you KNOW this. So on and so forth.

All of which makes me love the movie, of course... but not necessarily as a love story. Well... I take that back. I think it's a terribly bittersweet and fleeting love story -- the "love story portion" of a doomed relationship, which in itself is just a portion of the vampire's "life" as a whole. And I think THAT is why I enjoyed it -- the film recognizes that it's just *tiny*, and it's shining its *tiny* light to make a *tiny* glimmer peek out from this devastating blackness of a story it knows it cannot tell.

And yes, the cats were craptastic.

At 12:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ha ha ha.

And psst: the old man, in the book, is a pedophile actually. =) Which puts an entirely DIFFERENT spin on everything. He also meets her as a dirty old man who's trying to deal with his pedophilia, and not as a young lover.

How you like THEM apples?

So yeah: I'm glad they left it vague in the movie, because it allows for a little bit more romanticizing. In the book: she's using him, and he's using her (though there aren't any actual ACTS of pedophilia).

At 1:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gar, them apples is rotten!

I guess I can only stick to my last paragraph, then, hehe. I still think those two are ultimately destined for tragedy, but the little window we get to peek into is the love-story-flicker of that.

I had said something more clever when I *thought* I'd left you a response yesterday, but I don't remember what the cleverness was.

Meh. Oranges.

At 8:56 AM, Blogger asenath said...

I loved it too, Lindy. Now we all get to sick back and see what happens to this film in the American re-makes. (*groan*) Hopefully not directed by Michael Bay.

At 10:44 AM, Blogger asenath said...

Ha. We all get to "sick" back. I like the way that sounds.

At 2:32 AM, Anonymous Party Rentals said...

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At 11:27 AM, Blogger Just Another Girl said...

One of the best movies I saw last year!

At 5:19 PM, Anonymous movie scary said...

High grades for this movie.

At 4:30 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I just watched the trailer for this movie, and I love good foreign films, and this looks like a movie that I will definitely have to get sometime. It looks fantastic. Thanks for the review!

At 3:22 AM, Anonymous movie scary said...

This is one great site you have here. Keep it up!

At 11:48 AM, Blogger 0xC said...

I agree completely with your assessment of Let the Right One In. Beautiful dark romantic horror film. I also like your A+ Movies list and am going to check out the ones I haven't seen (the two from the 70's). Let the Right One In immediately reminded me of Guillermo del Toro's movies we well, which I love. I'm going to search your site now to see if you've reviewed another del Toro horror movie that I really liked, The Devil's Backbone. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend checking it out ASAP.

At 6:42 PM, Anonymous Party rentals said...

I hope the remake does it some justice


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