Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Let The Right One In (2008)

Greetings one and all! I have been on hiatus for awhile but hopefully I can divert some more attention to the coffin. I apologize for not updating my blog for such a long time and hope that all my readers (all 5 of them) will stick around for my ramblings!

Let the Right One In (2008) is a very interesting tale of a young boy named Oskar and his newly found friend, a young girl named Eli. Oskar is a quiet kid who is bullied at school. He tends to be a loner and seemingly has no friends. Oskar spends a lot of his time outside in the courtyard of the apartment complex where he lives with his single mother. Oskar spends time pretending to take revenge on the bullies at his school. One night, while playing outside, he meets the new tenant Eli. Eli is about the same age as Oskar but is rather peculiar. She spends her time outside, in the snow with no shoes and only dressed in a pair of pants and shirt. Hardly the type of clothing to be wearing in the cold weather of Norway!

Eventually we learn that Eli is a vampire. She lives in the complex with her “father”. I’m not even sure if it is really her father but he is her guardian. Her father helps her feed by finding victims, draining them of blood and bringing it back to give to Eli. Eventually this task goes awry and Eli is forced to feed on her own to survive. Oskar and Eli become friends. It takes Oskar some time to figure things out but is very accepting of what Eli is. With Eli’s help, Oskar is able to over come his fear of bullies and stand up for himself. He takes revenge into his own hands but in the end it comes back to bite him (no pun intended).  The final confrontation with the main bully’s older brother is quietly shocking as is the entire film to be honest. 

Oskar the troubled loner

The film is shot with little to no musical score and there are music “shock stabs” to make the viewer jump. This lack of musical accompaniment mixed with the film being shot in the dead of winter gives the movie an incredibly eerie mood. The movie transfixes you to the development of Oskar and Eli but also the story line that is unfolding.

There are several scenes which depict Eli for what she really is, a rather old vampire. Several times she mentions that she is old but she either doesn’t want to let on how old she is or she honestly doesn’t pay attention to the passing of time. In a scene in which she hungrily laps up blood from the floor, we get a glimpse of what might be a long tongue scouring the floor for every last drop of satiating crimson. Her facial features change as well almost revealing that she is older or either unearthly. This example and several other scenes are more suggestive than point blank. This again adds to the incredibly thick atmosphere created throughout the entire film. 

Eli the cute innocent
Director Tomas Alfredson and screenwriters John Ajvide Linqvist (who wrote the original novel), weave an interesting mix of childhood nostalgia and fantasy with vampire mythology in a modern world. There are no stakings or vampire hunters but sunlight does pose pretty potent in the movie in several scenes. So there is a bit of vampire mythos that is still held onto but blatantly trotted out like an old Universal or Hammer film. 

Hmmm....need to retract that innocent statement.
In 2010 the movie was remade into an American version with director Matt Reeves () and screenwriter Linqvist. I have not seen the remake so I cannot comment on how it holds up to the original. The original is so well done that I actually have no desire to check out the remake! I would hope it is as good if not better than the original but normally remakes can never quite catch what the original has to offer. Maybe one day I will check it out.