ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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Let the Right One In (2008)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Tomas Alfredson

Starring:
Kåre Hedebrant/Oskar
Lina Leandersson/Eli
PLOT-CRUNCH
In a remote corner of Stockholm the 12 year old albino school reject (Hedebrant) befriends his newly moved in neighbor Eli (Leandersson). Catch is she’s a vampire and she be thirsty! This is their story.
THE LOWDOWN
LET THE RIGHT ONE IN has been getting a great buzz on the Festival circuit, so much so that the remake rights have already been acquired by the good old US of A. I missed the thing at the Cannes Film Festival and at the Sitges Film Festival but finally got to sink my fangs into its sweet ass last week. So is all the hoopla deserved?

LET THE RIGHT ONE IN was definitely a breath of dead air for this horror fan, especially when taking into account the present pathetic “remake-remake-teen-teen” state of North American horror. Although the picture had two pre-teens as leads, it was without a doubt a horror picture for adults. There was a magic going on with this film, a handful of elements coming together to spit out something, well, special. The morbid striking look of the picture was one of them fundamentals. With its cold and icy setting, director Tomas Alfredson’s “painting” like use of wide shots/stillness and Hoyte Van Hoytema's eerie cinematography, this puppy looked macabre gorgeous.

Substance wise, the core relationship between Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant) and Eli (Lina Leandersson) shined bright. Not only were the characters credible in their pre-pubescent awkwardness and interaction, but they were also layered which for me always makes movie characters more appealing. Is Oskar a good kid? Well yes and no. Is Eli a villain? Yes and no. It was that grey zone coupled with the endearing “coming of age” angle and the genuine affection the two kids had for each other that made watching them so engaging for me. The sly and inventive use of horror elements  that beefed up this “two outcast against the world” opus hit the spot as well. Being that the film rolled out in such a restrained fashion, suggesting non stop, when something supernatural WAS shown, it hit me like a stray cat kissing the windshield of a moving car.

Moreover, I grooved in seeing one vampire “rule” finally brought full circle onscreen; a vampire cannot come inside your pad unless its invited. I always wondered what would happen if a bloodsucker would just stroll on in with no invite. Well now I know and it wasn’t pretty. Dug it the most! Tag to that some masterfully put together set pieces (the pool sequence in the end was one for the bloody books of GREAT HORROR SCENES), an able supporting cast, a tantalizing ambiguity as to the vampire’s keeper (father, lover, pedophile…who knows?), a rich attention to details and a score which supported the poignant images on hand faultlessly and you get a vamp film that’s without a doubt superior to the norm.

Now that’s not to yap that the film didn’t lose me now and then. One particular scene having to do with cats attacking somebody was so poor in execution that I couldn’t help but giggle like a toddler overdosing on glue sniffing. I was also iffy with the “beer guzzling” patrons subplot which kept promising more to it but that in the end didn’t lend much to the whole. It didn’t feel thought out enough. The “bully” subplot had me on the fence too. Too much attention was on it. I would’ve dug something meatier in terms of character arc. And what was up with that “father” dude’s shitty killing schemes? Dumb-dumb kept doing trite moves to serve the plot. How about choosing your victims in NON populated areas? Kill some bums or something! Easier to get away with it that way bubba!

All in all although I didn’t feel it was the “masterpiece” that everybody says it is, LET THE RIGHT ONE IN was still a solid watch. I’ll take ambitious and flawed over safe and by the numbers any day. You going to let this one in your home to tug at your veins or what? Your move pilgrim!
GORE
We get bites; slit throats, an acid destroyed face, severed limbs and blood.
ACTING
Kåre Hedebrant (Oskar) and Lina Leandersson (Eli) gave outstanding performances. Grounded, believable and likeable in their unlikeablility, they truly rocked it and made this film happen.
T & A
Nothing erotic here unless you're Victor Salva. There is one "yowzer" genetalia reveal though that gave me the brrrs(no not Sleepaway Camp style - something else - some I've never seen on film).
DIRECTING
Tomas Alfredson showed off stand-out shot compositions and mucho creativity when it came to his execution of horror elements. Armed with a brilliant cinematographer the result was one of the more visually arresting genre pictures of the year.
SOUNDTRACK
Johan Söderqvist’s grim and affecting score so hit the spot!
BOTTOM LINE
LET THE RIGHT ONE IN was a touching blend of drama and horror that spanked hard due to its incredibly competent young lead actors, hypnotizing visuals and a handful of clever and hard hitting “horror” bits. Granted the script didn’t fully do it for me when it came to the undercooked or overcooked subplots and that cat scene shouldn’t have made me laugh that hard but overall; I recommend you see this flick, specially if you’re in the mood for a character driven genre jamboree. My work is done here. All the best, love and kisses.
BULL'S EYE
The film was based on John Ajvide Lindqvist's novel of the same name. He also wrote the screenplay.

This was Kåre Hedebrant's and Lina Leandersson's first film role.

VISIT THE LET THE RIGHT ONE IN SITE HERE

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9:32PM on 10/06/2010

Nearly perfect Vampire movie.

This is certainly one of the most impressive horror movies around. This has beautiful performances by Hedebrant and especially Leandersson. The movie certainly looks great in Widescreen.

Strikingly beautiful, moving, scary, touching, quiet horror movie that should not be missed. Remade in 2010 as "Let Me In".
This is certainly one of the most impressive horror movies around. This has beautiful performances by Hedebrant and especially Leandersson. The movie certainly looks great in Widescreen.

Strikingly beautiful, moving, scary, touching, quiet horror movie that should not be missed. Remade in 2010 as "Let Me In".
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11:16PM on 12/12/2009

Beautiful

This film is a personal favorite of mine. The first time I saw the film, I instantly fell in love. I found the movie to be beautiful and sweet. I fell in love with the two main characters and their awkward but sweet romance. Everything about their romance was so sweet and innocent that when something violent would happen it would shock me even more.
The directing was like watching a moving painting and the soundtrack was powerful. The two main kids might possibly be the two GREATEST
This film is a personal favorite of mine. The first time I saw the film, I instantly fell in love. I found the movie to be beautiful and sweet. I fell in love with the two main characters and their awkward but sweet romance. Everything about their romance was so sweet and innocent that when something violent would happen it would shock me even more.
The directing was like watching a moving painting and the soundtrack was powerful. The two main kids might possibly be the two GREATEST child performances I have ever seen.
I did have a couple flaws, pretty much the same ones Arrow picked out. The only real flaw that kind of annoyed me was the underdevelopment of the bar patrons. I feel like so much more could have been done with them...and a CERTAIN person who was transforming. But the flaws don't even bother me because the story between Oskar and Eli tugs at my heart so much i forget about all the flaws.
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9:31PM on 08/31/2009
An intriguing coming of age, vampire tale/drama with hints of horror thrown in. What I liked the most about this movie was the story and the unbreakable relationship between the young boy and girl, it will definitely draw you in and you won't want it to end. I thought the acting was believable and the filming was subtle and captured a chilly and grim atmosphere that was perfect for this vampire flick. I thought it was a little slow moving but it never bored me and once when you're really into
An intriguing coming of age, vampire tale/drama with hints of horror thrown in. What I liked the most about this movie was the story and the unbreakable relationship between the young boy and girl, it will definitely draw you in and you won't want it to end. I thought the acting was believable and the filming was subtle and captured a chilly and grim atmosphere that was perfect for this vampire flick. I thought it was a little slow moving but it never bored me and once when you're really into the movie it ends, so I think they can possibly do a sequel. Overall it's a solid vampire tale that might disappoint gorehounds but if you like your movies story and character driven this one is probably for you, I for one liked it and I recommend it! I have to say that I'm not that mad that they are doing a remake of this movie because if they put the right people behind it they can easily improve upon it, lets just hope that they don't water it down and make it PG-13!
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8:42AM on 08/04/2009

Terrific Acting and Directing.

I agree that some of the subplots were a little slow, but those two kids are incredible actors. Lina Leandersson will win an oscar one day if she continues at her craft. There were times in that movie when the camera focused on her eyes that she looked a hundred years old. Easily the best child actors I've seen since the very underrated Frailty. Great job directing too.
I agree that some of the subplots were a little slow, but those two kids are incredible actors. Lina Leandersson will win an oscar one day if she continues at her craft. There were times in that movie when the camera focused on her eyes that she looked a hundred years old. Easily the best child actors I've seen since the very underrated Frailty. Great job directing too.
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6:48PM on 03/23/2009

Disappointed

I had read the novel about e year before the movie was released and it's the scariest book I have ever read, so my expectations for the movie were very high. Unfortunately, about 80% of the story was not in the movie. Most of the subplots actually had a meaning in the book and the "caretaker" figure stayed on to terrorise the main characters throughout the whole book, long after he had "died". I can only recommend people to read the book. I don't know if it has been translated to English, but
I had read the novel about e year before the movie was released and it's the scariest book I have ever read, so my expectations for the movie were very high. Unfortunately, about 80% of the story was not in the movie. Most of the subplots actually had a meaning in the book and the "caretaker" figure stayed on to terrorise the main characters throughout the whole book, long after he had "died". I can only recommend people to read the book. I don't know if it has been translated to English, but if it has, READ IT.
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10:43AM on 01/07/2009
I'm a sucker for Nordic cinematography. There's something so bleak and sterile about it. I actually liked the cat scene, though I can understand it didn't quite work. We keep seeing animals afraid of vampires but never doing anything about it. So about time.
I'm a sucker for Nordic cinematography. There's something so bleak and sterile about it. I actually liked the cat scene, though I can understand it didn't quite work. We keep seeing animals afraid of vampires but never doing anything about it. So about time.
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7:17PM on 12/01/2008
Glad you dug it Arrow. Great flick.
Glad you dug it Arrow. Great flick.
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