DVD Review: Let The Right One In.

I want to prelude by saying this movie has been a long time coming for me. There’s a whole story to go with how I saw part of this movie a while back but didn’t get to finish it and whatnot, but I won’t get into that whole complicated mess. So instead, I just get to read about how this is a modern masterpiece, the best film of last year, and had one of the greatest endings to a film in quite some time. So with almost every review building it up and my own anticipation over the last few months building it up, I finally got to watch it on DVD. Needless to say, after all the hype around it… I was damn near under-whelmed. But before you grab the pitchforks and torches, let me give my review.

Let The Right One In is an almost by-definition “slow burn” film. If you’re not aware of what that is, a “slow burn” film is one that usually has thriller or horror aspects to it, but for the most part is about the characters and their interactions, making for quite a slow rise in tension. It builds all the way to the climax, giving you a couple short moments here or there, and then BAM, you have some kind of hardcore sequence at the end that you had been waiting for for the entire film. Another example of this type of movie is the Japanese film Audition. And as this is a Swedish film, you might catch the common denominator here: you don’t see these types of films very often as made in America.

But this film is about 12-year-old Oskar (Kare Hedebrant), a bullied child who dreams of vengeance and looks to be an up-and-coming school shooter. It’s also about Eli (Lina Leandersson), a vampire who looks to be 12 but is, in fact, much older. Eli has a helper named Hakan (Per Ragnar), as well. Oskar and Eli form a friendship, which the whole movie based upon. I don’t want to give much more than that away, because watching this film makes it seem like anything you say could be a spoiler.

There are other characters, too, but they really aren’t as important (so to speak), or as developed, as those main three. I’m really not too sure what to say about the film. It had great acting, of course. You really felt the pain from Oskar, and the uncertainty from Eli. The biggest compliment I can give is for the cinematography. The film is absolutely gorgeous to look at. If I had any major negatives for the movie as-is, it would be that I'd have liked to see more of Eli's past (as I've heard described in the book), which they were going to do in a flashback sequence, but cut it out because the director didn't want to slaughter a pig or something.

But what I loved the most about the film were the Eli moments. There are three moments I want to talk about specifically. First, of course, is the “invitation” explanation moment, where you find out what happens if a vampire enters a place without being invited in first. Second is an incredibly brief scene where if you blink, you’ll miss it. I actually had to rewind and watch it a couple times, just because I loved it so much. When Oskar takes Eli to the secret hangout place and it’s pitch black—you can hardly even see Eli’s face—if you pay close enough attention to Eli’s eyes right before Oskar turns on the lights, you’ll notice that they start to glow like they can see in the dark. It’s small attention to details like that which makes me love movies like this.

And then there was the third moment—the ending. Of course I’m not going to spoil it, but this is where I was under-whelmed the most. For months, all I heard was that this movie had one of the greatest endings to a movie ever. And then I finally see it, and I keep waiting, even after the climax, wondering if the awesome part is still coming like a major plot twist. And then the movie ends, and I’m going “Um… so where was that super awesome ultra ending of hardcore amazingness?” There’s no doubt that the climax was visually stunning. And I’m not blaming the movie for my let down, but the months of hype building it up before me finally seeing it. I think with much less hype around the ending, I might have enjoyed it so much more than I did. And I’d probably learn to love it more with future viewings.

However, as it stands now, the movie didn’t meet my expectations whatsoever. On the upside of this, though (and this is what I meant by waiting to grab the pitchforks and whatnot), my expectations were so high by the point of finally seeing the movie that I would have to have built on a new rating system had the movie actually met them. In other words, I had been expecting something like 20 stars out of 10 or something. So whereas it didn’t meet my expectations, my thoughts on the film were not bogged down to the point where I thought the film was bad. Instead, I felt the movie was merely ‘great’ instead of ‘stupendously outstanding orgasms'. Not to mention, it has a wicked awesome poster, and the Swedish title is freakin’ fun to say out loud. So with all of that being said, I can give my score.

Royale With Cheese

(P.S. Attention Stephenie Meyer - This is how you do vampires. That is all).

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