Thursday, 29 August 2013

Let The Right One In / Låt den rätte komma in (2008)

A fantasy story with vampires that doesn't make you want to cut yourself.

This 2008 Swedish language film came as part of the little wave of Scandinavian culture that got hijacked by the Anglo-sphere in the last few years. This, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Wallander and The Killing are all things that we've nicked and made, sometimes better and sometimes worse, our own versions of.

Let The Right One In (remade recently as Let Me In) bucks the trend of recent fantasy love story (looking at you Twilight) and doesn't take a glamorous brush and paint the undead as cool, moody and mysterious romantic beings. LTROI is pretty old school in it's approach to vampires, despite the two main characters being 12 year olds.

Oskar is a lonely kid living in a Swedish council estate (although it could double for any eastern bloc hellhole) jumping between his divorced parents and being bullied at school, when a mysterious family moves in next door. He and Eli, the new neighbour's daughter become friends despite their common awkwardness and start themselves off on a quirky little pre-teen love story that seems like a really messed up version of Moonrise Kingdom. Obviously things get a little complicated when secrets start to come out and the blood starts flowing.

This is a great film that pulls no punches. The violence is visceral and gory. The vampires are cursed with horrific lives, not blessed with superpowers and sparkles. The kids are awkward, and not in that cutesy hipster fashion but like properly awkward kids. To put it in a way that sounds really stupid: it's a vampire love-story that feels very grounded in reality.

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