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I sold the idea of this movie to Hilden and Moe by saying, “Hey, you wanna go see a Swedish vampire flick?” Of course they said yes. But by the time we came out of the Riverview (best theater in town, by the way), we realized that Let the Right One In is more than merely a Swedish vampire flick, it’s a surprisingly deep and compelling story about a bullied kid named Oskar and the relationship he develops with the mysterious new girl in his apartment building. Most vampire movies tend to be blood-fests consisting of gory kills and dramatic plot points about the high cost of immortality. And while LTROI does contain those themes, the way in which they are presented, and the performances of the brilliant child actors brings this movie to the top of the genre.
As mentioned, the story centers on a twelve year-old kid named Oskar who must face a bully named Conny, and his cohorts, each day at school. And each night, Oskar fantasizes about exacting revenge upon his aggressors, but knows that he lacks the courage to act. A girl named Eli moves next door to Oskar in his apartment building, and he slowly, over the course of several evenings, develops a relationship with her until the ultimate realization that she is a vampire. It’s the development of this relationship, its effect on Oskar and his confidence, and Oskar’s coping with the fact that Eli must murder to survive that makes this movie so special. Lina Leandersson is simply brilliant in the role of Eli, a being who is much older than her twelve year-old body suggests. But if great acting doesn’t do it for you and you just like your vampire movies bloody, there are some great kills here as well.
In a year that’s seen an odd resurgence of vampires (True Blood, Twilight, Underworld: Rise of the Lycans), it’s a shame that Let the Right One In will probably be the most overlooked. It’s easily the most original take on the genre in years and the movie most worthy of your cash. If it’s not playing near you, the DVD and BluRay releases are right around the corner on March 10th, and I really can’t recommend this movie enough.
If you need more convincing, a great review of this film was posted at Ain’t it Cool News here. Give it a read.