Let the Right One In [Låt den rätte komma in] (2008)

Starring Kåre Hedebrant, Lina Leandersson, Per Ragnar, Henrik Dahl, Karin Bergquist, Peter Carlberg, Ika Nord, Mikael Rahm, Karl-Robert Lindgren, Anders T. Peedu, Pale Olofsson

Directed by Tomas Alfredson

Expectations: Low.

I think it’s safe to say that I’m not a Tomas Alfredson fan. I recently tried to watch his most recent film, Tinker Tailer Soldier Spy, and aborted it after about an hour. I was getting absolutely nothing from its dry, boring tone and Gary Oldman’s Oscar-Nominated performance literally consisted of him just staring thoughtfully at the camera while people talked at him. He probably said four lines in that entire hour despite the film basically revolving around his character. Whatever. Despite this bad experience, I decided to try Alfredson’s earlier film, Let the Right One In, as nearly everyone had hailed it one of the greatest vampire films of the modern era, if not of all time. OK… it’s definitely unique, but “greatest” is a far sight from the truth.

Perhaps if you didn’t care for vampire films, then this would be the case. Let the Right One In is more a coming-of-age romantic drama than anything else, and while it does feature some incredibly horrific imagery at times, it mostly trades in the fears of junior high everyday life. It’s an interesting mix of realistic, bully-based horror, and the supernatural horror we’ve come to expect from the vampire film. It’s also stunningly well-shot, with many of the images suitable for framing in some artsy painter’s loft. For me, though, these elements never came together to form a film that I really cared about. While the film definitely succeeds in bringing vampires and genre films to the arthouse crowd, it does so by sacrificing a lot of the genre thrills… and damn it, that’s all the fun bits!

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