Old 12-27-2008, 07:53 PM
Let the Right One In

Let the Right One In (2008)

Here's a vampire flick that leaves all the other ones behind and takes a unique path all it's own. Gone are the crucifixes, the garlic, the stakes, and most of the other clichéd parts of the standard vampire tale. They have all been replaced by something you wouldn't normally see in a vampire flick. Something even more shocking than beings that drink blood.....character development.

Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant) is a 12-year-old living in Sweden who is constantly bullied at school. One night, a man and young girl move into his building. Soon after, Oskar and the young girl, Eli (Lina Leandersson) meet in the courtyard. After a couple of meetings, they strike up a friendship during which they get closer and closer to each other. However, this friendship encounters a very strange hurdle when Oskar discovers that Eli is a vampire.

This truly is a unique vampire tale. I can't recall a previous vampire film that actually allows you to feel sympathy for the vampire. The main focus point of this film is the relationship between Oskar and Eli, which is beautifully unfolded throughout the movie. Eli even begins by saying that they can't be friends, knowing that it could only end badly for both of them.

But both characters are in need of that special someone to open up to. Oskar doesn't appear to have any friends except his mother, gets bullied all the time at school, and spends most of his free time by himself. The only person Eli ever talks with, before meeting Oskar, is her "helper." They both long for a human connection and find it in the least likely of places.

She gives him the confidence to stand up to the bullies at school and he gives her the opportunity to have a relationship with somebody other than her helper. They both give each other the friendship that each has been seeking for a long time, but have not been able to find. As these characters develop throughout the film, we actually begin to care about them and where their relationship will go. So much so, that when the inevitable scene comes when Oskar finds out that Eli is a vampire, we hope that he can look past it and continue the relationship.

I was incredibly impressed by the performances of the two lead actors, Lina Leandersson and Kåre Hedebrant. They do a great job of bringing these characters to life on screen. These young actors were able to display quite a wide range of emotions throughout, especially Leandersson. Both of them are really able to emit the sense that they are just looking for somewhere to belong. I was even more amazed to see that this was the first film for both of them.

Another one of those vampire clichés that it leaves behind is the large amounts of gratuitous violence. That's not to say that this film doesn't have any, it certainly does; I can recall a neck being snapped, a severed head, and some bleeding. But the point is that the story doesn't make an obsession over it like many horror movies tend to do, because that's not what the movie is about. This film only uses the violence when necessary, and when it does, it doesn't really make a big deal out of it.

There were a couple of scenes that I thought were over the top though. At one point, one of the minor infected characters bursts into huge flames after being exposed to sunlight for about half a second. The second scene involves the same women, but from earlier in the movie, being attacked by about a dozen cats. The second one was so over the top that it even gave me a good laugh in the process. Neither of these scenes really hurt the film at all, I just found them to be very strange.

I was very happy with the ending as well. It is one of those endings that you can probably see coming from a long way away, but it is still very satisfying. Speaking of satisfying scenes, one of my favorite scenes had to be where Oskar finally has the nerve to stand up to the bullies that have been picking on him throughout the entire movie. Not that I condone violence or anything, it's just that the character had it coming to him.

Overall, this is one of the most original films I've seen in a long time. It is able to blend drama, romance, and a little bit of horror to tell the story of these two characters who were both simply waiting to let the right one into their lives. I'd like to close with a line that gave me a good laugh when this film was reviewed on "At the Movies": "If you see only one teen romantic vampire movie this year, make sure it's this one." 3.5/4 stars.

Last edited by Hal2001; 12-27-2008 at 07:55 PM..
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