Mon
Nov 17 2008 12:39pm

Let the Right One In: not your ordinary Swedish vampire film

This is still playing in NYC and L.A. with other cities rolling out—go see it!

Let the Right One In*, a subtitled Swedish movie directed by Tomas Alfredson and based on an acclaimed novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist, is a vampire/horror movie that defies all expectations.

Snow blankets a working class suburb of Stockholm. At night, a 12-year-old boy feigns stabbing someone with a hunting knife. Oskar has no friends, school bullies torment him, and his divorced parents play distant roles in his life.

An odd unkempt girl moves in next door, and everything changes. One day, she jumps on top of the jungle gym in their apartment complex; on another day, Oskar shows her how to work a Rubiks Cube.

People have called this a horror movie, a vampire film, a supernatural thriller, but it is not really any one thing or even about vampires. One of those slow, quiet, disturbing, beautiful, and quite possibly brilliant category-elusive films, it is part coming-of-age, part horror, and part …something like a love story.

Someone once said that all vampire stories are love stories.

Let the Right One In doesn’t bother with history, exposition, or even dialogue. One scene—brief, dialogue-less, and easily overlooked—speaks more about the girl Eli’s age than any number could. Right One does use some of the tropes of vampire lore (sunlight, immortality, etc.), but in such a spare and singular way as to make each one carry the weight of an entire movie. Without giving anything away, I will say that the film’s title captures one of the final and most devastating scenes in the film.

It also brings up the question of how many of one’s ideas of vampires come from the supermodels found in Hollywood/ Twilight, True Blood and even Buffy the Vampire Slayer, or the decadent glamour and history found in Bram Stoker and Anne Rice-type novels.

The less said about plot, the better. Let the viewer be surprised (don’t even watch the trailer). This is definitely not a kids’ movie, despite its ability to be both enchanting and horrifying at the same time.

The film’s been racking up awards on the film festival circuit, so already, Hollywood has come knocking to hatchet another quality foreign film (no offense, J.J. Abrams, blame My Sassy Girl), and the Swedish director is not happy. Something about why remake something that’s … already good? Rätt på,** Tomas!

* Also the title of a song by Morrissey
** Literally, “right on”

9 comments
Hannah X
1. h4nn4h
I read the book (in Dutch translation) and loved it. I hear the movie is equally good, so I'm looking forward to see it. I hope there won't be an American remake, that always seems so insulting to the makers of the original movie, and a bit to the public too.

ps: I think you have the author's name wrong, though, it's Lindqvist.
Dot Lin
3. fangirl
thanks, Torie!

of course, I got the Swedish words right at the end (literally), but not the poor guy's name.
Jordan Summers
4. Jordan Summers
I absolutely loved this movie. There is something haunting about it. I thought about various scenes for days afterward. It's definitely one of the most interesting vampire movies I've seen in years. I understand why it's winning awards. I am a little disappointed that it's going to be remade into an American version. I think it's going to lose a lot in 'translation'.
Jordan Summers
5. P O N O R
Just found my way here and spotted this post. (Think I'm gonna be back, Tor.com looks interesting.)

I'm a Brit but read Swedish. Read the book when it first came out but have not yet seen the film; your description makes me want to... Don't really see why there shouldn't be an English/American version, but have never quite understood why sub-tiles might be difficult to follow. However that the Swedish director is not over the moon is understandable.
Michael Cassidy
6. barnowl66
WooHoo... Hits CT late November in New Haven... Going to need to see this... been waiting since I saw the advertisement for this a while ago...
Dot Lin
7. fangirl
wow, I would have loved to have read this in the original language.

if "Let the Right One In" isn't playing in your area, there's always "that other teenage vampire movie" to watch ;)

better-looking vampires and less blood! Just beware those screaming teenage girls in the theater with you..
Erika Nelson
8. Odessa_3
I enjoyed this film so much I saw it twice in the theater -- something I almost never do. I am not too nervous about an American remake, mostly because the American director, Matt Reeves, was at the helm of Cloverfield, a movie I love. I'm interested to see what else he can draw out of what I have heard is a very rich novel. I only wish the original were playing at more theaters in the U.S. Americans are indeed subtitle-phobic!
Dot Lin
9. fangirl
I can't believe you saw this twice in the theater! I was actually considering that, too (and same with you- rarely ever do that). Down with subtitle phobia!

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