Still racing to finish The New Horror Handbook, but I had to weigh in on Let the Right One In now that I’ve finally had the opportunity to see it. Good heavens, where to begin.
Yes, it’s been hyped to death; yes, it’s been all but hailed as the Second Coming of horror films. And I’m afraid that, cynic though I am, I absolutely adored this movie.
People occasionally ask me what I mean by “the new horror,” what this blasted book is all about. Now I finally have one solid movie to refer them to.
Granted that adoration didn’t exactly come to me during the screening itself, though I liked it well enough at the time. No, it was more of a slow burn kind of thing — one of those flicks where you keep ruminating on it on the drive home, at breakfast the next morning, and for the next week thereafter.
There are several horror movies where you identify with the characters, or at least like them well enough that you don’t want to see them hurt by the movie’s Big Bad, but if they do get hurt, meh. This is the first movie I’ve ever seen where I actually grew to love the characters, including what by rights should’ve been the Big Bad — the vampire Eli. And it has one of those endings that makes you want to jump out of your seat and howl “Yes!” Sober!!
Product of Sweden that it is, there is the strong compulsion to say that this is the movie Bergman would’ve made had he gotten around to dabbling with the undead. The truth is that’s not very wide of the mark. The much-talked-about cinematography doesn’t exactly live up to the hype — how could it? Yet it does what it’s supposed to do — it manages to make the Stockholm suburb look as drab and depressing as it does the main characters Oskar and Eli radiant.
One can already feel those who are working on the US remake distilling the easiest to understand bits and siphoning off the subtle complexities for the slop bucket. Best to see the original any way you can — the DVD is rumored to be coming out sometime in March — before the Diabolical Power of the Remake compels you to renounce the original. And make no mistake, it is original. Hurry before the next cinematic regurgitations come sluicing down the pipeline.