Monday, October 31, 2011

Let The Right One In (Låt den rätte komma in)

2008, R, 115 min.
The 73rd Virgin says... Here comes the belated Halloween post.

I haven’t read the book, or seen the American remake (Let Me In). This movie is a solemn and chilly, no, downright slow and icy exploration of the care and feeding of a modern-day vampire in what I thought was Sweden, but in one radio voice-over Leonid Brezhnev is mentioned, so maybe they were listening to Soviet radio. I dunno, but it kept me engaged despite its overwhelming Europeaness.

The vampire’s living caretaker is getting old and having trouble bringing home the blood, so to speak, but it’s also about a bullied boy, Oscar, who inadvertently comes under the vampire’s protection while offering a sympathetic ear and a strangely brave calm when he realizes what is up.

Watching the vampire twice struggle with the urge to feed on him is spooky and touching at the same time. For his part, Oscar is intrigued by this haggard looking twelve-year-old girl named Eli (pronounced Elee) who only comes out at night, smells funny, and gets sick if she eats candy.

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Anyway, this movie has some stunning visuals without too much gore, especially while solving the problem of removing a body frozen in a pond.

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The scariest scenes are shot at middle to long distance with that creepy unknown thing you see at the edge of the frame being what you should keep your eye on. It won’t work in my little-bitty clip box, so find out for yourself. Often we are just watching characters react to what we are afraid is there, or we know what is happening behind the tree or the door, so we don’t have to see it.

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Otherwise, the small special effects budget seems to have been spent on some very angry cats.

The final bullying and retribution scene is predictable in outcome, but not in execution. I won't spoil it with a clip, but imagine being underwater in a swimming pool and a slaughter that you can't see or hear is going on above you, but your only clues are the things that fall into the muffled stillness of the pool. Very effective. A really fine 2-hour art house horror movie right down to the subtitles. The "R" rating is achieved with one unpleasant shot.

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