Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Let The Right One In (2008)

Want to play a game? Let’s say you’re at the mall, and someone approaches you about attending an advanced screening of a film. They cannot tell you the title but they describe it as: an adaptation of a popular book about a relationship between an adolescent and a vampire. What do you do? If you say yes you might have just condemned yourself to 2 hours of allegorical abstinence schmaltz. Say no and you could be missing out on a highly nuanced film about love and loneliness. What do you do?

Like most great genre films Let The Right One In is about much more than blood-sucking. This restrained creep-fest could also be at home on a shelf next to Harold and Maude. Two characters, both decidedly out of step with “normal” society, coming together as an off-beat couple for the ages. No matter how weird or unlovable you might think you are, there is someone out there for you. Did I mention the title comes from a Morrissey song? Who would have guessed?

So what about the scares? Is this just touchy-feely stuff about lost souls finding each other? Oh no no no. This film delivers the chills too. Shot in a very objective and utilitarian manner, this film allows the scares to really creep up on you. Many of the most gruesome moments occur either out of frame or in wide shots with cleverly placed shadows and branches. Mood and sound provide a starting point from which your imagination can run wild.

Sadly this film was overlooked by the Golden Globes and The Academy. Genre always has to battle a hard road for acceptance. But trust me, it is no fluke that this film has won 18 awards worldwide. A film like this is something to be treasured. So the next time someone invites you to go see a vampire movie - agree without reservation. It could be shit, but it could also be gold.

There's a remake that I haven't seen but hear is pretty good. See the original first though. It's streaming on Netflix!

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