Let the Right One In (review)

You’ve never seen a vampire movie like this before — that I can promise you. There hasn’t been one like this before. Swedish filmmaker Tomas Alfredson, working from an internationally bestselling novel by by John Ajvide Lindqvist [Amazon U.S.] [Amazon U.K.] (who also wrote the screenplay) posits befriending a vampire as the cure for what ails lonely, beat-up-on 12-year-old Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant)… sort of. His new neighbor, Eli (Lina Leandersson), who’s also 12 (and has been for a really long time — she’s undead), is full of ideas about how he can defend himself against bullies, though they’re probably not the wisest defenses he could be deploying. Meditative and mournful, this unexpectedly poetic film punctuates its serene atmosphere with shocking moments of unexpected gore, some of which are almost funny in their wildness — cats, it turns out, really don’t like the bloodsuckers — and others of which are so disturbing that they’re gonna keep me awake at night, especially a few moments that highlight how very much normal humans are prey for vampires. This one is slated for a Hollywood remake, so catch the overseas original now, if you can, and see how it’s supposed to be done.

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