Sunday, May 31, 2009

Horror Movie Review - "Let the Right One In"

This 2008 Swedish movie was one I’d heard people referring to, but never considered what it was really about. The name made it sound like some kind of independent film about relationships. Well, it kind of is…and it’s kind of not.

Believe it or not, this is a Swedish vampire movie. I didn’t think there was anything about vampire movies that could move me anymore. Been there. Done that. Not true anymore. Apparently, my Swedish relatives are very good at storytelling. The movie is done in the Swedish language with subtitles, but don’t let it put you off at all. Their language sounds as if you can understand it and many of their words correlate with ours so it feels like an English-speaking film in a spooky kind of way.

The setting is amazing amongst months of snow and snow and then more endless snow. The perfect backdrop for a housing tenement with a vampire issue. My father described his similar Norwegian childhood and the winters as being very stark, very bleak, and very long. Yeah, it really is. The director used this kind of hopeless weather to his advantage in putting across his message.

This movie has a twist on vampire stories like none I’ve ever seen. There’s great humanity in it and the characters are so well developed that you can’t help but be caught up in their story. At times, the fact that it’s about vampires was forgotten. It was really a story about doing what you have to do to survive and hopefully finding someone to share the journey with.

I suppose if I had to classify this fantastic award-winning film, I’d probably call it an adolescent vampire story. I can guarantee you haven’t seen something quite like this before and it’s absolutely worth the watch. I caught it on instant watch on Netflix and I was so riveted, I wouldn’t even pause it to use the restroom.

Definitely give this a watch. This movie is unbelievably surprising. If you liked “30 Days of Night,” “The Thing,” or even the remake of “Halloween” by Rob Zombie, you’ll like this. It isn’t a graphic and horrifying on-the-edge-of-your seat kind of film, but it’s very disturbing, very unsettling, and very strangely beautiful and emotionally sensitive.

I promise you’ll walk away from it looking at the horror genre in a new light.


  1. I just saw the book at Borders and was considering buying it. I will now.
    Where did you find the movie?
    Thanks for the great post

  2. I saw this movie about a month ago in our local University cinema. I agree with the review. It's like a classic horror movie that disturbs you rather than having you grab the arm of your chair every five minutes or so.

    By the way the Matt Reeves of Cloverfield fame is already working on an English language remake. Why I don't know.

  3. It's funny how the small budget movies can be the better ones to watch. Thanks for the review.

  4. I saw it last night. I had guests over and we wanted to watch something scary on the big screen, so we pulled up Netflix and cruised through it and they went, "hey!" when they saw the title. Somehow, I had heard the title when it was winning awards, but assumed it wasn't horror since horror so rarely wins awards. It was a definite thrill to find it. The story was the most unique twist on the vampire theme that turned vampirism into a kind of metaphor. It was so beautifully filmed and the characters were so unusual that they defied a time period or a country. I'm very impressed. I think I'd be worried that like Japanese movies, if they make an American version it will lose a lot in translation. The bleak surroundings of Norway and the strange culture made it perfect for this movie, as well as unknown actors. Of course, I'll probably have to see it just to compare, but most things shouldn't be taken out of their original context--they really lose substance and credibility. I wish someone else would just come up with an original take on the old themes. I've always wanted a Bigfoot movie that really makes you question if he's human or not and where we stand on harming such creatures and where they can fit into our world or if they can. I can't imagine anyone having a delicate enough hand to do that without making it campy, maybe M. Knight could do it, that is if he could get back his Midas Touch

  5. Nice review but were did Norway come from. This movie is Swedish. They speak Swedish and Blackeberg is a suburb of Stockholm, the capital city of Sweden.

  6. I thought it was Swedish too because of Stockholm, but in IMDB, it says it's Norwegian. I suppose it's like us doing a film in Canada...

  7. Update: I did some further research, and although some people consider it a Norwegian film online and on radio interviews, this film is Swedish. In the film, there is a scene that mentions Stockholm and the book it was based on was written by a Swedish writer. I'll disregard all reports it's Norwegian and assume it's Swedish. My father spoke Norwegian around the house and it sounded much like the Swedish language, except he spoke the "old" language from the 1920s, perhaps there were more similarities. I should have realized by some of their words that it was Swedish, but the dialect was nothing like I'm used to which is Lapland Sweden. Thanks for clearing that up, Wavesoflight.

  8. But you don't have to do a research. You'll have all the answers on IMDb. When you look on IMDb, you'll see the release date, after Writers and Contact. Many people think this is the country were the film was produced, but it has nothing to do with that.

    This movie was released the same day in Sweden and Norway. Norway is before Sweden alphabetical, so maybe that's why you saw Norway there. But as I said, you should not look there. Further down, after the cast, you'll see Runtime: 115 min, Country: Sweden (this is the one to look for) Language: Swedish.

  9. Thanks. My friends actually told me it was a Norwegian film and so I went into it believing it was Norwegian. Had they scrolled the words in Swedish, I would have known right away it wasn't a Norwegian film because I have Swedish and Norwegian family and do geneaology. Then, when I checked IMDB it sort of verified what they told me. I straightened them up. They were wondering alongside me why the "father" was in Stockholm for his last attack.

  10. My sentiments precisely … my wv is "noevol" for "no evolution". LOL … hey, my husband, Sequoia, an Oglala Lakota, taught me about Wakan Tanka, "The Unknowable", not a personal saviour god like in Christianity, but an Intelligence that prevades all things & yet transcends them.

    THANK YOU, Autumn, for putting this heads-up on this Swedish cinematic gem out there. I shall be sleuthing around for it … vampires & elves, so says Nicholas deVere, author of "The Dragon Legacy: The Secret History of an Ancient Bloodline", share a common ancestor … the Anunnaki! Hey, who am I to say uh-uh to THAT?!

    A fan of supernaturally themed films,
    Anadæ Effro (•:-)}(•:-)}

  11. Anadæ;
    I love that concept of Wakan Tanka. I'm surprised more cultures didn't come up with a concept such as this. Of course, Native Americans do have a step up because of their ties to the Earth and sky. That's where all the real magic is. To me, the Wakan Tanka could even fulfill the needs of the "intelligent design folks." No matter what way a person looks at our origins (God, evolution, happenstance), we have to all agree that the design of the world and the people and creatures upon it are way too specialized. At any moment, one aspect could have gone wrong and then it all wouldn't have worked. Even if you believe in evolution and natural selection, there is intelligence behind that--because there is always the need for survival that supercedes all else and creates and adapst the next generation.

  12. Awesome, Autumn, just awesome … thank you! (•:-)}

  13. I wasn't sure how I felt about this movie after I saw it, but your summary is good. I think I was disturbed most of all, but also oddly enchanted by the characters. It's a very different movie. One that sticks with you and sort of digests over time...