Let me tell you, it's sooo worth the hype.
Let the Right One In stars Lina Leandersson as Eli, a mysterious young girl who moves into the apartment beside Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant) and warns him on their first meeting that they cannot be friends.
Yeah, I guess that does sound a bit like Twilight at first, eh? (LOL)
But things are not what they seem.
This movie is based (quite faithfully I might add) on the novel by Swedish author John Ajvide Lindqvist, who thankfully adapted the screenplay as well. The starkness of a 1982 Swedish winter that director Tomas Alfredson brings to the screen is only part of the fantastic atmosphere that surrounds and envelopes this entire film.
And yes, people, it's a Swedish movie so there are subtitles. You can also set up the movie to be dubbed with American, but I prefer to watch people's mouths actually match what the words coming out say, so I use the subtitles with no problem at all.
Oskar, we learn right off, is being bullied at school and as a 12 year old with divorced parents, he is a fairly lost and forlorn pre-adolescent when he meets Eli at the small playground outside their apartment complex. As I said, she tells him they can't be friends, but they end up bonding over a Rubik's cube, which sets in motion a series of events. It is puppy love at its finest, yet there are reasons that Eli and Oskar should not be together.
Spoiler here (as if you hadn't heard): Eli has been 12 a very long time. She is a vampire.
Eli has a father figure, Hakan, that helps keep her deadly secret by procuring her meals.
It is never said how or if they are related, but it is obvious he is having more and more doubts about the nature of his duty. When Hakan meets his end, Eli is left alone to try to survive.
Eli and Oskar become close, and he eventually does come to figure out she is not like him.
(Took a bit of time though - guess the pale face smeared with blood finally gave it away.)
Then again, who'd think a 12 year old vampire was living next door?
But Oskar loves Eli despite this inconvienience.
Oskar enlists Eli's advice as far as dealing with his bullies, and being the natural predator she is, Oskar learns from her and starts to take matters into his own hands...
But when Eli's secret is threatened to be exposed, she decides she must leave.
I won't mention the end because it is the most powerful (and bloodiest) part of the film.
Suffice it to say, retribution comes just in time.
By the way, the title of the movie (and book of course) comes from the legend that explains that a vampire must be given permission to enter a house first. This is the first vampire movie I can remember that actually delves into that myth... and shows what happens if they are not actually invited in'...
So, in essence, you have to let the right one in...so to speak.
All in all, this is a slow-moving, bleak film that speaks to the more discerning horror fan. I don't think I've been as impressed with filmmaking in quite some time.
The last few minutes of the movie: sublime.
Unfortunately, word on the street is that come 2010, an Americanized version of this movie will slosh its way into theaters thanks to the money hungry Michael Bay team of hacks. Ugh.
But we'll always have the original to look to for a real look at cinema done right.