So after much talk and hype and I decided to watch Let the Right One In. the original Swedish film that the recently released Let Me In (Starring Chloe Moretz) is based on. This is about a vampire, a real one, that doesn’t sparkle in the sun or emit nauseating waves of angst. Nor are there any half clothed wolfmen running around in the woods although there is a really furry poodle at one point.
What there is however, is a twelve-year-old girl, named Eli, who has a very bad blood habit that needs feeding. There is also, one incredibly pasty, pale blond boy named Oskar, who the local school bullies have a fondness for.
Eli and her guardian father like figure are forced to move around a lot, as dead people tend to draw suspicion, and so it is that they move into the apartment of lonely Oskar. Without a father to teach him how to fight, Oskar is left to his own dark thoughts about how to deal with the bullies. Eli watches him practicing with his knife in the courtyard and decides to talk to him.
They hit it off, in a quiet, awkward, creepy kind of way, and soon they adopt Morse code as means of communicating between the walls of their rooms, each becoming the others only real friend, with Eli even teaching Oskar to defend himself. When something happens to Eli’s guardian, she is forced to hunt and feed for herself and soon chaos ensues, as people start to get suspicious.
I won’t spoil the movie for you, but let me just say that as former scrawny, nerdy kid who was picked on, it made me wish that I had a vampire girl friend to help me out.
Supposedly this movie is a “study in evil.” Trying to force the audience to deal with the issues of the necessity of Eli’s killing for her survival versus Oskar’s desire to kill the bullies out of revenge. We also witness Oskar’s decent into his own darkness as see just what he is willing to do for Eli.
While there are elements of this in the overall story I never felt the issue was presented very strongly. If this was the intent of the director then I would say the movie is a failure from that standpoint. My mind was never engaged with the moral struggles nor shocked by the darkness presented.
That being said, I nonetheless enjoyed the movie. It is a little slow, and there isn’t a lot of dialogue, but considering it is all in subtitles, that actually works in the movies favor. It has the feel of a low budget movie, which it probably was, and some of the shots and editing are a little off, but I think it actually adds to the faded, dark feel of the film.
Let the Right One In is not a horror film per se, but at its heart is more about a very dark friendship. I enjoyed this movie, but I admit it is not for everyone. If you need constant action, don’t go see it, and if you don’t like dark stories with mixed endings, don’t see it. Otherwise have at it. Now that I have seen it I want to see the American version to see how they compare.
I give this film 3.5 Babbles.