Monday, May 25, 2009

Let the Right One In

Let the Right One In (Tomas Alfredson, 2008) [5]

I really don't like horror movies. You've got to something extra ordinary to get me to really get over this. Let the Right One In almost does this in regards to atmosphere but ends up failing in the plot department. Alfredson blends genres here, a vampire film that could also be about pubescent outcasts with enough gore to give the people who frequent Dark Horizons a kick. Oskar (Kare Hedebrant) is a lonely 12 year old, bullied at school and a fractious home life in dismal early 80s Sweden. He meets Eli (Lina Leandersson), another social outcast with a good reason for her isolation, she's a vampire. The two actually a fairly good job in their performances and their relationship story is fairly well done. The problem here comes from the other genre playing against Oskar and Eli's relationship. The horror/vampire aspect of the story falls into a such a standard (or absurd depending how you look at it) plotline that it really kills the film for me. It's a shame because the film is much more an examination of how terrible being a kid can be. But for me, the gore and the vampire angle don't mean much. The film could have been just as good if Eli was a regular girl and not a vampire. Alfredson does a good job in the first half of the film injecting it with a dark moodiness that exploits the white, expressionless landscape Oskar inhabits. The second half of the film moves away from those visual strengths and more into a standard narrative that wrecks the atmospheric flourishes that made the film seem somewhat promising. Let the Right One In may a nice horror film but I am someone who wouldn't really care if that was the case.

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