What with Twilight giving us teen bloodsuckers at the cinema and True Blood going for the jugular on TV, vampires are all the rage just now – but the work that has given the undead the biggest shot in the arm recently turns out to be Swedish vampire thriller Let the Right One In.
Scandinavia hasn’t been a familiar haunt for vampires, yet Tomas Alfredson’s film makes their kind chillingly at home in early-1980s small-town Sweden. This is where we meet lonely troubled Oskar (Kare Hedebrant), a bullied 12-year-old who lives with his single mother on a decrepit council estate and spends his time fantasising about wreaking revenge on his persecutors. Then he encounters a fellow outsider, the mysterious Eli (Lina Leandersson), a girl who seems to be his age. She is actually a centuries-old vampire…
Let the Right One In couldn’t be further from either the Gothic gloom of the traditional vampire movie or from the teen melodrama of Twilight, but it still manages to combine the clammy terrors of the former with the latter’s surging emotions. Kudos to screenwriter John Ajvide Lindqvist (on whose novel the film is based) and to director Alfredson, whose control of mood is superb throughout, seamlessly fusing dark comedy and bloody horror, dank suburban realism and heady myth, and, above all, heart-stirring, magical first love.
Released 3rd August.
Did you know Tomas Alfredson has just signed up to direct a feature film version of John Le Carre’s spy classic Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy? Read more.