Having recently got round to re-watching one of last years best films and allowing my self to be completely engrossed within its narrative and utterly chilling but supremely gorgeous use of location and photography, I have grown fonder of Tomas Alfredson’s Let the right one in. Adapted from John Ajvide Lindqvist’s novel of the same name, there has been some controversy over exclusions of several of the books subplots, but I myself think this leads to a better more concise story, focusing more on the relationship between the two main protagonists. The basic story of let the right one in concerns a young boy called Oskar in Stockholm who is being bullied and tormented by a group of boys at school, his home life is not much better and he spends most of the time alone thinking of ways to get back at the bullies. That is until a mysterious young girl by the name of Eli arrives next door to him and the two quickly become close as they share common interests and both feel equally alone, but something is not quite right with Eli and it quickly becomes apparently why she sleeps all day and only comes out at night.
“Let the right one in” is the only film along with “Waltz with Bashir” which has genuinely made me shed a few tears over just how emotional a good well made piece of film can grab hold of a viewers emotions and truly make it a worth while experience. First and foremost it is a coming of age drama with a true and unbridled sense of adolescent loneliness at its core and by being wise (the author also wrote the script) to exorcise some of the more detailed subplots to allow the audience to really get to grips with the blossoming and heartfelt friendship between Oskar and Eli. But it also manages to hook myself in, yet further still by being as equally chilling, terrifying and downright creepy allowing for the scenes of violence (for when they come) are even more shocking and surprising because of it. It is because the film manages this balancing act of two equal complex emotions (specifically to get right within the same film narrative) that it continues to succeed and improve with each and every new viewing.
This is quite possibly the best (anti) vampire film I have ever had the pleasure to watch and get completely absorbed in, there are so many sequences and scenes which instantly come to mind when reflecting over it again and again. Such as an explanation as to what could happen to a vampire when they are not invited into an individuals household, the fact that Oskar and Eli communicate at times through taps on each others joining walls, the subtle use of Eli’s eyes being able to see in the dark. The scene at the hospital between Eli and her “Father” (as that is left ambiguous as to whether he is or not) is probably the most chilling scene I have seen within a film for quite a while, not to mention the various ways he goes to retrieve the blood for her, the locker room sequence is just as chilling as some of the more horrific sequences. While the cat attack on one of the newly turned vampire female is genuinely surreal and freaky due to the quick cutting and use of wider angles (which could have easily lead it into farce thankfully was not the case) has an air of a Hitchcock suspense scene all of round up into a uniquely gripping piece of filmmaking and certainly one of the best foreign films seen for quite sometime.
There has been an avoidance of listing too many spoilers within this post purely because of what I believe to be a must see experience for those who enjoy atmospheric and engrossing films which admittedly become better and better with each and every new viewing. By listing to many of the better points it would distract the newly introduced viewer from truly appreciating the scope and structure of a masterful piece of filmmaking both in terms of narrative and direction, although I will say that the swimming pool sequence is what could be considered the use of honed directorial skills due to the suspense and lack of what unfolds, truly masterful and along with the two leads unbelievably compelling because it is again a case of subtle nuanced performances which when combined together produce a piece of art which needs to be appreciated and seen as the best use of the medium. Thought provoking, heartfelt and at times utterly chilling, “Let the right one in” for all of its minor faults is one to invest both your time and emotions in, I for one look forward to seeing what director Tomas Alfredsons next ventures unfold into.