At it’s worst “Let the Right One In” is far too subtle and slow and nothing like typical horror movies, (if it should be considered one.) At its best its one of the better films we’ve seen in the last decade. As a foreign film it should see wider American distribution and publicity than any such film since ”Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.”
Our hero here, who is just twelve, is so perfectly likable and so well played he is the sort of boy you’d want to raise, or the sort you’d want your child to end up with. He’s richly contemplative and caring, lonely, but not broken, cool, but not pretentious, precocious and yet without arrogance. Who knew that he would fall for a vampire?
It’s a story more like “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” than ” The Lost Boys.” It’s more about asceticism and existentialism than blood and gore. I won’t give any details away, but this film is neither convoluted nor cliché. Sure, it’s not amongst the best stories. It’s not a formula film, but it’s intelligently written and doesn’t start anything it doesn’t conclude, (well not too much).
Beautifully shot in a snowy and desolate Swedish town, the film very much carries on a world of its own. The film as an entirety is subtle, even slow. Likewise the effects are far from showy, making tasteful use of CGI with kitties or watching our vampire climb seven stories.
The sound does not rely on a creepy score, nor attempts a hip or ambient soundtrack. Instead, it successfully amplifies the sounds of its fictional and isolated universe, (which is far away from reality and amid somewhere in the early 1980s.) For the most part we only hear what the characters or the world around them, gusts of wind, the brushing of teeth, The Clash. Though most notable is all of the silence, all of the stillness that creeps about keeping the viewer mystified and engaged.
What the film does is allow adequate time for the viewer to develop a consciousness about the situation of the story. It allows us to make our own determinations without being told what to conclude. Throughout the entire movie I could only count one legitimate flaw, a tiny divisive issue, which I’m sure was mulled over by a brilliant director and screenwriter.
It certainly won’t be for everyone. It’s not for those who can’t read. It’s not for kids. And it’s not for those who can’t bear non-traditional story telling. For me, the film was a breath of fresh air in an increasingly tiring and rehashed film industry. At least this film is rehash of a different kind.
This film should have seen a slew of Oscar nods and it seemed to me this film could have had a wide release. Nevertheless it will turn out to be a classic.