I saw an advance screening of the Swedish vampire film Let the Right One In on the weekend. It is getting rave reviews (it’s in the 90s on the Rotten Tomatoes review aggregator) and a huge fan base (it’s in the all time top 250 for imdb.com, based on user ratings).
The film opens with a black screen in silence. Then snow starts falling. It’s an icy setting appropriate to the film. One review said that it will warm your heart as it chills your blood, but I only got the second feeling. A bullied 12 year old boy, Oskar, makes friends with a strange 12 year old girl named Eli as a series of gruesome murders happen around the area. It’s in the awkward adolescent friendship of two outsiders that we’re meant to have our heart warmed, but I didn’t connect with them. Oskar is too dazed and passive for me to care about him much, and, to heighten the suspense, the director holds us back from learning too much about Eli.
It’s a strange and chilling story and a final twist is still resonating with me (but only after my wife explained it to me). The direction was original, with constant defamiliarisations, throwing us into scenes we don’t immediately understand. (An effect heightened by reading the dialogue off subtitles.)
The best vampire film I’ve ever seen, but that’s not saying much.