In addition to the usual reviews and comments you would find on a horror movie blog, this is also a document of the wonderfully vast horror movie section of the video store I worked at in my youth.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Sweet & Sanguine

The 3rd Annual Toronto After Dark Festival kicked off yesterday with a bang. The opener was the highly anticipated Swedish vampire film Let The Right One In. I finally got to see the movie that had been tearing up the Internet with positive buzz. Before the film, festival director Adam Lopez was very proud to announce that this was After Dark’s first ever completely sold out screening. We were also treated to Rod Gudino’s new short The Facts In The Case Of Mister Hollow, a fantastic art piece that overflowed with eerie detail that I can’t wait to watch again.

Twelve-year-old loner Oskar is a quiet kid, constantly bullied by the other kids at school. Then one night he meets Eli, a girl who just moved in next door and they strike up a friendship. Eli is strange. Oskar only sees her at night; she never wears a coat and says she is twelve “more or less”. He begins to suspect the impossible. Could she be a vampire?

I gotta say that I really liked Let The Right One In a LOT. I can see why people have warmed to this film on the festival circuit because it is something really special.

I’m so glad I stayed away from the trailer and just let the story unfold in front of me. Let The Right One In somehow manages to be unconventional and original, yet incredibly simple and dare I say, sweet. Like REALLY sweet. I think that’s what caught me off guard about this piece. It isn’t really a horror film at all. It’s more of a coming of age story between a boy and a “girl”… that just happens to be a vampire. The exchanges between the two leads (Kåre Hedebrant & Lina Leandersson) are an absolute joy to watch. And on the top of all that, the film is beautifully shot. There are numerous winter exteriors, yet the film has this warmth to it. It hits a few of the same notes as the dark fantasy works of Guillermo Del Toro, but somehow manages to stay even more grounded in reality. Everything about Let The Right One In just fits together so well, including a truly satisfying conclusion.

There is very little that I can find fault with. It is a very sedate film and a little slow in places, but that is easily forgivable considering the fresh ground on which it is treading. There was this odd sequence with CGI cats that seemed out of place, but other than that I can say this film had me one hundred percent.

It’s really difficult to describe a film like Let The Right One In. It’s not shocking or in-your-face, it hits you differently with a sincerity that I can’t believe has never been attempted like this before. It comes to the party with new ideas – including seeing what happens when you don’t invite a vampire in – which is a true rarity in this day and age.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was reading Mermaid Heathers review, an she pointed out yours.
Between the two of you, you have me really wanting to see this movie.
I think understatement works better than over statement, and it seems, from your descriptions that this is exactly what this film is about and how it was made.
I, as apposed to you am on my way to look for the trailer.