It’s only natural that now we should have an image of vampires as a commercialised object of most teenage girls desires, after the Twilight craze. There was a time when the vampire was a noble sexual horror creature, a bloodsucking nightmarish figure that haunted the dreams of anyone who dared to read such books and watch such movies. In that sense, in the over one hundred years of cinema, they have been bastardised one way of another; they used to be monsters, then they became people with feelings, now they are obnoxiously over-sentimental, to the point where all that happens if they come out in the sunlight is their skin goes all…glittery. A Swedish film portraying such creatures serves more as a purification of the wrong portrayals (or supposed wrong, do vampires really exist anyways) of the figure of the vampire. Let the Right One in (the English title), the the eyes of the rest of the world is not a commercial flick. It stars two children (one really a child the other really not) as the main characters. To the rest of the world, this film is alienated, and it may seem strange to quote Bergman in a vampire film, but it seems like Bergman defines Swedish cinema so well, that one cannot help but mention him in the reviews of just about any Swedish film.
The action, or sentimentalism is not exploited. The way the story is told and executed would srive any Holywood producer mad. This is also not the type of film that would start a franchise. It would have been so easy, however, to turn this into a film about children Vampires, but in the end, although the main characters are children, it’s not at all even a children’s movie, as it certainly does not shy away from the cruel and vivid gory and bloody scenes, that too seem cold, slow and poetic. How sad it is in fact to see a little girl ill when she does not drink human blood, and when she does kill a man, looking down at the victim the the innocent mortified eyes of a little girl who kills because she has to.
The dramatic ingredient that really adds to it is Eli (the girl vampire) and her relationship with Oskar, a twelve year old child. Although Eli looks twelve, she tells him she has been twelve for a very long time. Oskar is a misfit, and one can already see some similarities in the story of this movie and the Twilight saga. But if one were to see the slow, mellow pace and the cold setting, the gory sequences, the genuine emotions, and that beautiful feeling of alienation, one will see that the two movies couldn’t be more different. In fact, the first people I would reccomend this film to would be people that have seen Twilight and thought it was a load of bollocks.
Tomas Alfredson seems to have found a great way to turn the vampire film into a Swedish epic. Being a vampire movie nonetheless, the film would have had a worldwide market regardless of the quality of the film. But Alfredson seems to want to turn the vampire figure into a childlike cute figure we could never hate, we could never be afraid of, but that comes out as shocking in the short outbursts when she must dring the human blood of her victims. If there is one thing that is a little too strange is the way they become friends in the first place. A recluse and a loner like Eli doesn’t seem believable as someone that would find the company of a twelve year old kid pleasing. The answer to why she would could be found in the way that she perhaps has never been a twelve year old kid, and is finally able ti be one thanks to Oscar. Another one is that Oskar is the only kid that could ever be like her. But another, that I noticed in the ending of the film, is that perhaps she needs someone else to take care of her, as the man who is has become somewhat insane, and thinks that Oskar is a good investment for the future. It’s as if she wants to look after him only if he will be some sort of an assistant to her. This starts to become clear when she offers him money towards the end of the film, and it finally becomes clear, if ever there was any need to be any clearer, that she is quite responsible for herself.
Easy to see how Alfredson, hence, is the one to be credited for the way in which this film does not become the horrible film that it could well have been. He does this by never exploiting the aspects of the movie that could have been exploited; aspects that could even have made him a rich, but forgotten man. Alfredson seems to be a man with some talent, but I would not give him so much credit as much as I would give the Swedish school of filmmaking that has such a definite style that makes a Swedish film more unmistakable than the ones of other Scandinavian countries. It has a style that can also be worked around a vampire movie (or perhaps especially in a vampire movie). To screenwriter Linqvist goes the credit of putting two children as main characters. Having children as main character exaggerates everything they do. If they had been older, even teenagers, we could have expected them to have fallen in love, even to have had a scene where they made love, and the whole thing would have revolved around a love story…once again, much like Twilight does. When children do the things they do here, they are exaggerated, overblown. Seeing the little girl drink human blood is the obvious image that comes to mind, but it’s also just the bit where Eli takes off her clothes and crawls into bed with Oskar, it’s also when Oskar hits the bully who is bothering him with a stick on the ear.
When I first sought out to watch this film, I really knew nothing about it, and also wasn’t expecting much. By the end, I thought I thought it was the most believable, genuine vampire drama I had ever seen if there ever was one. Now, I hear that there will be a hollywood remake, and I can literally see the way it will turn out, and god forbid me ever laying my eyes on a single frame of that movie.
WATCH FOR THE MOMENT – Oskar proposes a blood pact with Eli and cuts his hand.