For most of us cinephiles, we remember the first time we saw a movie, whether it be in the theater, or at home. If the film shakes you, positively or negatively, there’s a residue left that seeps into your memory and makes it challenging to let go. Well, I don’t want to- so I’m going to highlight some Kristy horror history for this wonderful, special, month of October.
From the moment I first saw Let the Right One In, I was completely in love. The sub-genre of vampire films is one that struggles the most with originality, but also heart. Many have tried and failed (some tried and somewhat succeeded) but this is one that nails it on the head. You leave this film with such a fluttering array of emotions: fear and empathy, that it makes it really stand out. I mentioned this previously with Evil Dead, but I will say, that while I’m not going to deeply touch on it, Let Me In is one of those rare American remakes that does it justice. It maintains the best parts, while introducing some new, and also features terrific performances. While I prefer the original, I am very much on board with Let Me In, and I’d honestly suggest everyone see both. Quality films, deserve quality appreciation.
Directed by Tomas Alfredson with a sreenplay by John Ajvide Lindqvist, (based on his novel) Let the Right One in takes the cake on a variety of levels, from behind the camera, in front, and from its origins: the page.
When you’re dealing with stories about vampires it isn’t easy to be bold and new. But, if you can find a story of two children (one not truly a child- only in appearance) you get a disturbed, but also, meaningful take on friendship, and falling in love. It happens in many different ways, this is one, and while it’s not ideal, or…necessarily safe, you feel for them. Connection is, well, just that. And it should never be tossed aside. It’s rare when we find it.
Shy, Twelve year old Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant) struggles with loneliness, both at home and at school, the latter of which is where he is victim consistent bullying. When he meets his new neighbor Eli (Lina Leandersson), Oskar finds the meaningful relationship he’s been yearning for, but, Eli has some bloody secret, appetites. The what and who of Eli doesn’t matter much to Oskar, as he begins to learn more. To him, he’s found his missing piece.
Yes, I wane poetic about this film, deservedly so, but at the end of the day it’s also a wonderful horror. There are times when we are very much reminded of the “monster” that Eli can be. She isn’t a child, and she’s responsible for gruesome murders. It can be sinister, it can be lovely, and it is always enchanting. An atmosphere is built early on that never leaves you, like one can feel the cold in your bones as you watch these characters amid the wintry landscape.
There’s something truly beautiful about Let the Right One In, from the look to the moody soundtrack, to the care used when creating these characters. Isolation can be felt by all. Kids are sometimes forced to grow up too soon, deal with issues beyond their years, all while feeling inherently, alone. Coming of age isn’t easy. The film is peculiar in all the ways it should be, and it’s one that is exquisitely imagined. It feels realistic, especially the two lead’s bond, and that’s a rarity among the genre. By the time the credits roll, Let the Right One In, really sinks its fangs in, and you are happy it did.