Let the Right One In Tomas Alfredson

Let the Right One In Tomas Alfredson
Though 2008 saw the vampire rise up from a long slumber, grouping Tomas Alfredson's adaptation of the John Ajvide Lindqvist with Twilight is as prudent as Coppola casting Keanu Reeves in Bram Stoker's Dracula. Let the Right One In may involve a bloodsucking adolescent but the drama bleeding from Lindqvist's script is far from Stephenie Meyer's soap opera fluff, or any vampire film you've seen before. Set in a snowy, working class Stockholm suburb, the picture opens with mysterious father and daughter-like figures moving into an apartment complex. They quickly catch the eye of Oskar, a 12-year-old trying to deal with societal alienation, torment from the school bullies and various inner demons. Hesitantly, Oskar befriends his new neighbour Eli, a young "girl" who's "more or less 12" and even more peculiar than he is. Simultaneously, a series of murders occur, putting the town on edge, but when Oskar learns Eli's responsible, he discovers that friendship and even love are deeper than a biting case of vampirism. Let the Right One In never defines itself as "vampirical"; though the title does speak to the myth, the word "vampire" is only mentioned once and rejected immediately by the vampire herself. Instead, Lindqvist depicts the struggles of surviving adolescence, both temporary and permanent, as the real horror story, using the complex relationship between Oskar and Eli as the defining theme in his denouement. Alfredson shows remarkable self-discipline by not focusing on the obvious vampire clichés (fangs are simply teeth and there are no mirrors or garlic in sight) while building a breathtakingly wintry setting, vividly accentuated by the blackened blood. Fiercely subtle, while both touching and chilling, Let the Right One In reinvents a tired old genre with one of the most unforgettable and innocent love stories you never saw coming. The extras seem a bit sparse for such an absorbing film but nonetheless are still meaningful. Deleted scenes show more of the bullies tormenting Oskar (and the "piss sponge," which was cut from the film entirely), as well as Oskar teaching Eli to play "Hickory Dickory Dock" and an intimate moment between the two. A look behind the scenes features an interview with Alfredson, who mentions that it took over a year to cast the two lead roles, but I would have liked more of an in-depth look at how they refined the script, which left out some important developments from the book. Still, there's enough to please even the most ferocious appetite. Just be sure you don't watch the default English dubbed version — save the disappointment for Matt Reeves' (Cloverfield) American remake. Plus: photo gallery, theatrical poster gallery. (Mongrel Media)