It’s hard to imagine a film surviving the kind of effusive praise lavished upon Tomas Alfredson’s adaptation of John Avijde Lindqvist’s novel about a lonely pre-teen boy’s encounter with a young, ostensibly female vampire. It’s equally difficult to think of a film adaptation which so skilfully transcends its source material, whilst appearing more faithful than it actually is. (No Country for Old Men comes to mind).
A combination of marketing and reputation would have you believe that Let The Right One In is a horror film, and it certainly delivers its share of sophisticated chills. Yet the film’s most haunting aspect is arguably the tendresse of a pre-pubescent love story whose innocence is contrasted with the everyday horror of a vampire’s unholy existence. The young leads, Kåre Hedebrant and Lina Leandersson, make for compelling hosts, both for their unique physical characteristics, and their precocious acting skills: trained actors with decades more screen experience could learn from their uncanny ability to act with their entire bodies, right down to their fingertips and eyelashes.
High definition is a gift to Hoyte Van Hoytema’s exquisite cinematography, each shot of which as breathtaking as the last. You may well find yourself playing it on a loop with the sound turned down, just to appreciate its beauty.
EXTRAS: The English dub and iffy subtitles from the US Blu-ray are (mercifully) absent, but the DVD extras are all here: four brief deleted scenes, a photo gallery (artful enough to display in an actual gallery), and an English-language commentary by Alfredson and Ajvide, the tone of which is set by its opening salvo: “We tried to create the sound of snow falling, which was quite complicated because snow doesn’t make any sound when it falls, but inside your head it has a sound.”