Pros: atmospheric; better than Twilight movie; horrific images for horror lovers
Cons: characters; story; bloody kiss; dissatisfying ending...
The only good vampire, in my opinion, is one who is decidedly disposed of and not allowed to keep killing hundreds, if not thousands, of innocent people. A good one also does not look like a harmless twelve-year-old girl nor ruin a young boy's life who is 'seduced' into helping her to kill throughout Sweden circa 1982 (I learned the date in the DVD's Behind-the-Scenes from, it seems, an anonymous, geeky, American promoter who crows that he thinks the movie ends happily). 2009's Let The Right One In, dubbed in English as well as with subtitles, only ends happily if you're sympathetic towards vampires and believe (consciously or subconsciously) that the movie symbolizes how our hapless, violent youth are killing society and draining it of life.
Yes, it's horror, I realize, but encouraging sympathy for vampires? This movie was the one of the most disgusting, dissatisfying, disappointing movies I've seen in a long time. I don't watch much horror, but recently I was thrilled by the silent horror film Nosferatu (notably from Germany) and another Swedish flick, Ondskan or Evil, as well. Maybe it was the somewhat-choosy love affair with gore in the 2009 flick I detested. I'm still feeling a bit green from the image of the very bloody kiss...
There's not much else to the story besides an undeveloped, perpetually twelve-year-old girl losing her inept, um, father (?) who killed for her and even though we see that she's perfectly capable of killing innocent people, she manages to lure her twelve-year-old neighbor, a loner boy who gets bullied at school, into a platonic relationship (with one disgusting, long kiss and a deathly cold body to lie next to). She finally must admit to him that she's a vampire when it becomes obvious and his reaction is simple curiosity only. He doesn't mind that she must kill to live or that she'll need his help to do it. The adults in Let The Right One In are not positively portrayed, either. All are easily disposed of as the screw-ups they are, one having become a vampire after the girl is interrupted during her meal (and not reported to the police) and wisely choosing to kill herself with sunshine.
If you're looking for some horrific images, this movie does provide them. An unforgettable image, besides that blasted kiss, is that of the vampire's supposed father who poured acid on his face in a suicide attempt and lived in the hospital long enough for the vampire to visit him and drink the blood he offered. I'll probably never erase the image of half a dozen cats attacking the new vampire with bared fangs. The climax, however, where the boy was being held underwater didn't do anything for me. The message was that the boy and vampire needed each other and he couldn't stand up to the bullies by himself. Compared to the film Evil where the protagonist did learn to defend himself without becoming like his bullies, that's pretty depressing as well as dissatisfying.
I'm sorry, but I don't know the name of a single actor or filmmaker on Let The Right One In and have no desire to discover them (what was with the infinitesimal print during credits?). I didn't find much of the acting engaging or compelling, not simply because of the disgusting story and characters, but the boy needs more acting lessons. Call him subdued, but he had as little life in his expressions as the vampire. If the filmmakers were going for weirdness, they didn't pull that off, either, for me. It felt like a con job.
The popularity of this bad movie confuses me because the usually young audience receives the message that violence and murder is really cool and justified to keep a vampire alive. So maybe I'm taking this too seriously, it only being a movie, but the media has been a strong influence on vulnerable minds for generations. While the movie is R-rated, young adults are also vulnerable and less critical than older people. I can gladly recommend a R-rated film like Evil or the unrated Nosferatu, but not this 2009 flick. Part of the initial problem was the ridiculous English dubbing I listened to at first, so go for the subtitles only. I didn't get much out of the Behind-the-Scenes except that in 1982 Stockholm life was still depressed by the Soviet machine, a very different time than today's Sweden. Did I realize this while watching the flick? While it was atmospheric and brooding, no, but an older Swede most likely could. Are they another target audience? Hmmm.
I've seen much better movies than Let The Right One In and wish I'd never watched it. I had high hopes for it after enjoying Evil, but it failed to deliver in the same way. At least it's far better than the movie Twilight where vampires are sensationalized and much less convincing; however, both move slowly with vague background offered to answer my questions.
This is another entry to the Texas-Sweden write-off. For more entries check out http://www.epinions.com/user-texas-swede