Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Swedish Suburban Vampire Killers

I must be the last person in Dublin to see the utterly brilliant Let the Right One In but better late than never! If there is a soul apart from me who's been living under a rock or something, a lonely, bullied 12-year-old old boy, who lives in 1980s Stockholm with his mum, notices the strange family who've moved into the apartment next door. It consists of an old man and a little girl - but it soon becomes obvious that the old man is not the child's father. In fact, he's terrified of her. The little girl's predilection for blood (for yes, she is a vampire who may be centuries old) is kept in check for a while as the man brings home the blood of victims for her to drink. But soon she's out on her own - and no one on the suburban streets is safe.

The relationship between the boy and the little vampire, Eli, is brilliantly done; both lonely and willing to do anything for companionship even though their friendship is doomed. There is little in the way of extreme gore but nevertheless there are scenes that stick in your head for days after - a woman bursting into flames in a hospital bed when exposed to sunlight, a nightmarish school field trip to a frozen lake, not to mention what happens when a vampire walks across your threshold without being given permission...

Let the Right One In is a masterclass in tension-building and could teach Hollywood a thing or two about subtly creating a movie that engenders terror without ever being repulsive. Plus the child performers act the likes of Dakota Fanning off the screen. Nevertheless, I lay twenty to one that she will play Eli in the (inevitable) Tinseltown remake.

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