Sunday, 5 July 2009

Vampires vs Cats [Review: Let The Right One In]

Let The Right One In is a superb, nightmarish Swedish vampire film based on a novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist. It's the story of the friendship between Oskar, age 12, and Eli, who has been 12 for rather longer than Oskar.

Oskar is effeminate and perhaps a little autistic, and fantasises about killing his school bullies. His school also seems to have serial killer psychology on the year 8 curriculum. Eli is both powerful and innocent; her treatment of her doting father is particularly chilling, yet perhaps because she and her father really do carry out some quite gory acts, her moments of guilt and insight ring true. In general Eli's character is particularly well thought out and she really does think and act like a 12 year old might in the circumstances.

The film is set amongst harsh landscapes in which light and dark spaces are equally creepy, a little like Insomnia, and the plot is just as harsh and uncompromising. Oskar and Eli are played by Kåre Hedebrant and Lina Leandersson, both give utterly convincing, intense and unworldly performances.

In one sense this is a traditional vampire film - there's no real deviation from the accumulated vampire mythology. However the portrayal is also thoughtful and inventive. Some aspects, such as fangs or the power of flight, are never shown on-screen but are cleverly implied; and the film actually provides answers to some important vampire questions:

1. What happens when a vampire eats pic-n-mix sweets - it's grim.
2. What happens if you don't invite one in but she comes in anyway - grimmer.
3. Who would win in a fight between a vampire and a houseful of cats - that's a bet I would have won.


free classified said...

nice :) where can i buy it?

Sci-Fi Gene said...

I saw the film in the cinema - it's still showing at Panton Street and Prince Charles cinemas in London, and in a few other places in the UK. I've seen the book in lots of bookstores and it shouldn't be too hard to get hold of.