Let the Right One In (Swedish) (Tomas Alfredson, 2008)

The legacy of vampirism are flourishing, continue to self-reinvent in big screen and TV all these years, Bram Stoker will be proud. This Swedish feature was adapted from the same name novel, Låt den rätte komma, literally translated as Let the Right One In. The author, John Ajvide Lindqvist was also hired for trimming the 480 pages bestseller into the script. The movie title is refer to famous vampire folklore, which a vampire cannot enter a residence unless being invited by the owner, or else the vampire will face the consequences as devastated as say, sprinkled with holy water or exposed to sunlight. I do not know whether the myth has been depicted in a movie before, but that key moment where a vampire breaking the said rule and what happen next is oddly heartwarming and powerful at the same time.

The setting is early 1980s, with the backdrop of cold landscape seemingly forever cover with snow in a small deserted suburban of Stockholm. Very often the calmly panning camerawork captured the serenity of under the roof. By using minimum editing, the gracefully waltzing camera movement soothe us with heaps of beautiful shots despite the occasional (mostly offscreen) grisly, bloodletting acts.

It is not a through and through horror movie. It is essentially a story about the relationship of two lonely souls. The pale looking blond boy, Oskar, has been bullied constantly by his peers, for reason I do not know, the introvert did not seems to fight back, he vented his frustation by himself, just like Robert De Niro did a "Are you talking to me?" monologue. They are destined to crosspath each other when Eli the little girl moved in to his next door. Eli said she is "more or less" 12 years old when Oskar asked her about her age. She also told Oskar to "hit back harder" on his bullies. From Morse Code-ing each other divided by party wall, they end up sharing their first kiss. Their relationship throughout the movie is ambiguity yet poignant. It is not an understatement to say the two young leads, Kåre Hedebrant (Oskar) and Lina Leandersson (Eli) gave a performance that will put most of the movie celebrities to shame.

By judging the superiority of this movie, the coming soon redundant american remake called Let Me In (helmed by Matt Reeves) will have a steep mountain to climb to match its undead sibling. To be able to survive from the embarrassing comparison with the original one will be a major triumph. Please take note that the subtitle is the heart and soul of the movie if you do not understand Swedish, please make sure the subtitle you are getting from Blu-ray or DVD are in English theatrical subtitle, such as Region 2 DVD from Momentum Pictures.

The ending keep me ponder whether it is tragic repeating cycles or happiness-in-the-making. To be honest, it work either way. Let the Right One In is a tale of adolescent friendship and love with vampire, it never hide the fact that the unspeakable horror seeps into the melancholic storyline, it is the testament to the masterpiece of moviemaking, much images from the movie stayed with me long after watching it. Flawless, unfathomable poignant, uncannily beautiful. Simply unmissable.

1 star = Pathetic, SowYau feel ashamed of watching it
2 stars = Off the mark material, approach with caution
3 stars = Generally good, you should watch it if it's your favourite genre
4 stars = excellent, strongly recommended
5 stars = A classic status? only time will tell. But it is definitely in SowYau's Hall of Fame List

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