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Blood sucking in Stockholm
Let The Right One In (DVD)
Member Name: sunmeilan
Let The Right One In (DVD)
Advantages: Beautifully filmed, intriguing
Disadvantages: Some will find it too slow
Oskar is played by Kare Hedebrant, who is really quite superb in the role, simply because he comes across as being a complete innocent. The fact that he has pale yellow, almost white, hair and very white, milky skin just adds to the picture. He doesn't actually do very much during the course of the film, apart from look sweet and at the mercy of his peers, yet this is exactly what is required. This is definitely a case of less is more. Lina Leandersson is also excellent as Eli. Much of the time, she looks dirty and unkempt, but the odd time she does clean up, she is very beautiful with big green eyes, which makes her seen very other worldly and again, perfect for the role. Child actors can be very touch and go, often coming across as precocious, but these two have been taught well to control their actions, yet really manage to create an impact.
The other actors that I feel deserve a mention are Peter Carlberg as Lacke and Ika Nord as Virginia, Lacke's on/off girlfriend. Lacke is a friend of one of the murdered men and is beginning to piece the truth together. Virginia is attacked by Eli, but lives because Lacke arrives on the scene just in time. Neither of them are pleasant characters, both being over-fond of alcohol, but they really manage to make an impression on the film, despite not having particularly wide-ranging roles. I think it was a combination of disgust at their behaviour and real hope that they manage to survive that drew me to them.
I don't think I have ever seen such a slow-moving, actionless horror film - especially when compared to Hollywood horror that seems to hold our attention with as much gore as possible. That isn't to say that there aren't unpleasant parts to the film, because there are - but they really are few and far between. The most gruesome moment probably comes towards the end of the film when body parts are flung asunder - yet even that is seen from a distance. If you're expecting something along the lines of True Blood, then you could be disappointed. There's a rating of 15 on the film, but to be honest, it would probably be fine for younger teenagers, provided that they are monitored.
The film is set in Stockholm during the winter, which makes for an attractive setting with all the snow. The buildings are otherwise rather mundane-looking, reminiscent of Aki Kaurismaki's Helsinki, but the snow does help to brighten things up, particularly when the story moves out to the woods. Of course, as a Swedish film, it is subtitled, but I doubt anyone would find this a real problem - the action is slow and there aren't any fast-moving speeches to follow. According to wikipedia, there is an English language remake scheduled for 2010; personally, I don't think it is necessary, but then there are those who don't like subtitles.
I really did enjoy the story. Despite the fact that the two lead characters are children, it doesn't come across as a children's story. And although there isn't a huge amount of action, there is enough to make it intriguing. The pacing is actually very well done because there aren't long periods of nothing at all happening - just as things seem to be slowing down, something happens to draw the viewer's attention again. I enjoyed the bullying angle that was taken - it makes Oskar seem that bit more approachable and interesting - and it provided a point of focus. Those who prefer more gore and action may be disappointed, but I think that would be a shame, because the film's stillness is its strong point, as far as I'm concerned.
There are a couple of extras with the DVD. Firstly, there is an audio commentary with the director, Tomas Alfredson and the author of the book on which the film is based - John Ajvide Lindqvist. Then there are a few deleted scenes, and a trailer. No doubt the English language version will have more extras if behind the scenes documentaries and the like appeal.
I enjoyed this film. It felt different and original, and it seems as if it is a rare feeling these days. I think anyone who enjoys horror and vampire films and doesn't insist on lots of action, noise and gore will enjoy this film. The subtitles really aren't a problem, so the fact that the film isn't in English shouldn't be too much of a bother. And visually, with the white snow, it is very pleasing to watch. I certainly recommend it. Four stars out of five.
The DVD is available from play.com for £5.
Running time: 115 minutes
Summary: Vampires, Swedish-style