Sunday, October 7, 2012

A Different Kind of Vampire Tale

Let The Right One In (2008) is a unique spin on the traditional vampire tale. The Swedish film (based on a novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist) is the story of Oskar, a quiet 12-year old, who lives with his mother in a Stockholm suburb. He’s bullied at school on a regular basis, but often imagines the revenge he would take on his tormentors. One night, while playing outside his apartment, he meets Eli, a pale young girl, who has recently moved into the complex with an older man, who Oskar presumes to be her father. The two chat, and eventually strike up a friendship. Oskar senses Eli is an outcast like himself, and starts to develop feelings for her.

Meanwhile, a series of strange murders is plaguing the area, and the police are trying to catch the killer. Eli seems to appear only at night, and as the bond between she & Oskar grows, he becomes curious about her origins. But Eli is harboring a mysterious secret, and it may threaten their relationship. To say more would give away the surprises in this well-acted, offbeat movie. Kare Hedebrant as Oskar and Lena Leandersson as Eli are excellent, and you really believe the depth of the bond between these two characters. Director Tomas Alfredson effectively conveys the cool, snow-laden, night-time atmosphere of Stockholm, which is almost like another character in the film. The eerie feeling you get is quite different from other horror films.

This is a surprising, inventive & out of the ordinary look at a vampire story, and is worth viewing even if you’re not typically a horror fan. The film inspired an American remake called Let Me In (2010), directed by Matt Reeves and starring Chloe Grace-Moretz & Richard Jenkins, with the story’s locale shifted to New Mexico. It’s a well done remake, but I would catch the original first. It’s truly one of the best horror films I’ve seen, with some good character development and a real emotional core amid the darker elements of the story. Let The Right One In and Let Me In are available on DVD and Blu-ray, as well as for online viewing. Both versions of the story offer effective, unpredictable takes on vampire lore. I'd also recommend the original novel if you're in the mood for a creepy, chilling read. Here is a link to the trailer for "Let The Right One In" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ICp4g9p_rgo.

Next up: The Halloween fun continues with House on Haunted Hill (1959)

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