ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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

Starring:
KĂĄre Hedebrant/Oskar
Lina Leandersson/Eli
7 10
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 (KĂĄre 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
KĂĄre 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 KĂĄre Hedebrant's and Lina Leandersson's first film role.

VISIT THE LET THE RIGHT ONE IN SITE HERE

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