Quint from Fantastic Fest says LET THE RIGHT ONE IN is one of the best genre movies of the year!
Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. Holy shit! Fantastic Fest just started today and I’ve already found one of my favorite movies of the year.
Going into LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, I only knew that it was getting good word of mouth out of genre fests and that’s it. I didn’t know what kind of movie, what language, any details on plot, visual style or tone.
And that’s what I love about film festivals. I saw it only hearing that it was good and as a result I got to go into the film in a way that is almost impossible for me to do with any other: completely fresh.
So, what I’ll do is start out by saying that LET THE RIGHT ONE IN is a damn near perfect genre film and even go one better in saying it’s a damn near perfect film period. In terms of acting, story, tone, writing, cinematography, direction and atmosphere I think it’s going to be hard to top this film for me for the rest of the fest.
If you want to know more, I will go into detail below, but I strongly suggest waiting to be spoiled if possible. Magnet, Magnolia’s genre arm, has the film and I hope to God they get it out there because it’s awesome.
Alright, you chose to read on. I don’t blame you, I probably would, too, which is why uncovering films like this is rare for me.
Basically you follow a bullied young boy in Sweden who befriends the girl next door. Oskar (Kare Hedebrant) is a shy boy, a quiet boy and the story is his coming of age. We see his first romance develop with the pretty next-door neighbor, Eli (Lina Leandersson).
At the same time we meet Eli’s protector, an older man who we believe to be her father. He secludes her in the apartment by day and by night he goes out and traps young men. He knocks them out, hangs them upside-down, slits their throat and bleeds them.
We very quickly learn that this little 12 year old girl is a vampire and her father may not be her father at all. They never explicitly spell it out, but I really love what the inference is (can’t go that far into the plot… I’m not horrible bastard).
The heart and soul of the movie is the friendship and romance that develops between these two kids, but make no mistake about it this is a horror film. They treat Vampirism as a real deal. This isn’t romanticized emo Twilight vampires nor is it hickbilly True Blood vampires or monstrous Blade vampires or dull old school Carpathian vampires.
When the hunger strikes it’s downright animalistic. The world is real, so you believe it’s real. The main focus is character from the very first time we see Eli or Oskar. Character, character, character.
Take out the vampires and this would be a fantastic coming of age story, take out the murder and it might get a little more standard, but watching Oskar fall in love and begin his transition into manhood is enthralling thanks to a pair of “for the record books” child performances.
Tomas Alfredson is a director to watch. His visual style is a bit of a throwback in terms of pacing, shot selection and how he collaborated with the DoP. But what really sets him apart from the pack is where he puts the focus on some scenes. When we see Eli attack, for instance. I won’t spoil it, but every time it’s scary, brutal and interestingly told.
The shining example of this point of focus, though, is the amazing swimming pool scene, a climactic scene of the film that would have knocked me flat on my back if I wasn’t already sitting down.
He also avoids obvious CGI. I say obvious because I’m 99% sure that they digitally augmented Lina Leandersson’s eyes to make them bigger than they really are. Maybe I’m crazy and she just has massive eyes, but it struck me in an early, early scene that they altered her eyes much like Peter Jackson did for the Moria Orcs in FELLOWSHIP. I have to find out if I’m losing my mind…
There’s also one heavily CG sequence involving cats that is extremely well executed as an effect (even for me and I hate, hate, HATE CG in horror) even before it becomes flat out crazy-awesome the way it is told. And funny, too.
That’s the thing about this movie is that there is a lot of humor in it, too, but at no point do you ever mistake it for a comedy. The stakes are serious (yuk-yuk-yuk), the world is serious, you care about the characters… in short, it hooks you and doesn’t let you go.
LET THE RIGHT ONE IN is more than just a great horror movie title, it’s a great movie. I hate to build it up so much because that inevitably leads to disappointment, but I fell in love with this movie today. I have no doubt it’ll place highly in my Top 10 movies of the year. If you're attending Fantastic Fest, this one should be of the highest priority. It screens this Saturday (at 6:30pm) and again next Wednesday (at 1:15pm).
Got tons more on the way! Keep ‘em peeled for my continuing Fantastic Fest coverage!
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Sept. 18, 2008, 11:09 p.m. CST
...when this film is getting North American distribution.
Sept. 18, 2008, 11:11 p.m. CST
Looks like limited release October, so far just in New York. I hope they up that. I could see this flick being really strong if they platform it in October, doing a kind of The Orphanage release. You know, get it into a few hundred screens at least. I hope Magnolia can put this one out. It deserves it... Plus I see it's already been optioned for a remake (joy).
Sept. 18, 2008, 11:46 p.m. CST
Sometimes those limited releases also make it up here, but I'm not holding my breath. I was actually pretty disappointed that it didn't get picked up for TIFF. Seems like an ideal title for Midnight Madness OR Contemporary World Cinema.
Sept. 19, 2008, midnight CST
by Boba Fat
Not sure when but were gonna get it and I can't wait!
Sept. 19, 2008, 12:57 a.m. CST
AICN is too busy squandering any credibility it's got left with articles pimping properties it has a financial stake in for me to believe for a second that this (or any other) movie i've never heard of that suddenly pops up on AICN is something that i ought to get really excited about seeing. We're smarter than this, dudes. Get back to reportage of the event itself, not your transparently specific pimpage of individual moneymaking opportunities for the site.
Sept. 19, 2008, 1 a.m. CST
What properties do we have a financial stake in that we're pimping? If we're doing so, I wish someone would have told me and at least cut me in on it...<BR><BR>I know, it's impossible to think that someone who sees a movie at a film festival might actually enjoy said movie. It's a big stretch, but I hope you take that leap of faith with me.
Sept. 19, 2008, 1:16 a.m. CST
by Horace Cox
Fuck man, the Hollywood Suit Monkeys didn't waste any time on this one. Sounds like it's worth a look.<p> And by the way, last time I checked this is a site about MOVIES and the love of cinema so I don't understand why anyone would get a hair up their ass over a contributor giving a shout out to a flick they discovered and enjoyed at a film festival and wanted to point it out to the readers' attention. Sounds more like a PoleSmokingAlien to me. Thnaks for the heads up Q.
Sept. 19, 2008, 1:17 a.m. CST
by Horace Cox
Sept. 19, 2008, 2:46 a.m. CST
by drew mcweeny
The film's set for release in the US in October through Magnet/Magnolia, part of a six-film series that also includes DONKEY PUNCH and TIMECRIMES. <P>Pot, shut up. Seriously. No one at AICN has any financial stake in this film. It's part of the festival and I'm with Quint... when I saw it today, I was floored. It's great. Genuinely great. Transcends the genre to just be a remarkable human story about childhood. If you haven't heard about it, that doesn't mean it's not good. It just means you haven't heard about it yet. And that's EXACTLY what this site is for. Check it out in October for yourself, then come back here and apologize to Quint for being a douche.
Sept. 19, 2008, 3:03 a.m. CST
This is why I love this site. I live in BFE, if it weren't for AICN I wouldn't hear about these films.
Sept. 19, 2008, 3:09 a.m. CST
But I'm really looking forward to the film version. It's taking fucking forever though!! Didn't it win something or other at Tribeca a while back?
Sept. 19, 2008, 3:24 a.m. CST
Dude - you want reality? How's this? For 11 years I've done hundreds of screenings at the ALAMO DRAFTHOUSE. I'm a co-founder of this festival. I have not earned a SINGLE CENT from a screening or this festival. I work all year on this and all the other events and not ONCE have I ever had a paid participation for any of these events. My share of the event funs either goes to CHARITY or back into the events themselves. <BR><BR>Why do I do these events? Because I can. Because I love sharing a love for film. Because we discover movies like this and a film like ASTROPIA today. Films that I'VE NEVER SEEN until they played today. <BR><BR>You can be an asshole fuckhead that doesn't believe me, or you can realize that I'm that Eagle Scout do-gooder that people just don't believe anymore cuz folks too often can't imagine doing hard work and promotion for something that they only get a sense of accomplishment out of. I do this to find these films, share them and to personally enjoy the fuck out of the ones worth enjoying. Same with Quint, Moriarty and the rest of the AICNers.
Sept. 19, 2008, 3:32 a.m. CST
It's good but it's more of an arthouse than a genre film, meaning it emphasizes character over thrills and has quite a lingering pace. Which isn;t necessarily a bad thing of course, but I'm hard pressed to call it a horror film. It is beautifully shot and acted, but this is one of those films I respect more than enjoy. Really cool ending though.
Sept. 19, 2008, 3:39 a.m. CST
...And I actually just found out that it's playing the Toronto After Dark Film Festival next month. Something that AICN is connected with, according to the TADFF website. I've been waiting for months to see this! Huzzah!
Sept. 19, 2008, 4:21 a.m. CST
I'm reading the book now and it's downright awesome. The picture it paints of Sweden in 1982 is chillingly accurate and it's scary as hell. John Ajvide Lindqvist show wrote the book has written some other horror books that also seem great, hopefully his "Handling the Undead" and "Harbor of Man" will be made in to films too!
Sept. 19, 2008, 4:26 a.m. CST
Enjoy that smackdown?
Sept. 19, 2008, 4:27 a.m. CST
Dakota Fanning gotta eat...
Sept. 19, 2008, 5:15 a.m. CST
Can you smell the ownage?
Sept. 19, 2008, 5:20 a.m. CST
...and loved it. If the film is half as good as the book it's going to be fantastic. <p> I also spent a few of my early teen years in Sweden at around the same time (1981-1982) and can vouch for the fact that the book eerily captures the feel of the time very accurately.
Sept. 19, 2008, 6:45 a.m. CST
Sept. 19, 2008, 7:03 a.m. CST
by Jonah Echo
Actually, the movie is pretty much everything they are saying it is. And it's a strong enough adaptation of the novel, that I think the two stand alone a bit. Both are great in their respective ways. As a real fan of the vampire mythos, I haven't enjoyed a film in the genre for years. The last time a truly great one came along? Near Dark, Fright Night. The last one was Cronos and it was so revisionist as to be "sort of" about vampires. No, LTROI is a great drama that actually does something few vampire stories since Dracula have really done-they delve into the actual nature of the vampire. No, I don't mean they make the vampire relatable in human terms, but rather they show how the vampire in it's current state only LOOKS like a human. It may still have feelings and memory and perhaps even love, but it isn't a human. The vampires in this story are not just there to be heavies or macguffins or special effects. This story is about what it would mean to be a vampiire. To live that immortal life, and be drawn to it's sickening urges and to watch everything through a filter not limited by time. And yet, it's also a story about a friendship. Sounds corny, but it isn't. Not in the least. Right now, this and The Fall are at the very top of my 2008 bests, followed by Wall-E and Dark Knight. <P> Inevitably, many of you will feel this is overrated when you see it. There are bound to be many raves for this, but take them in their context. These people are coming to the movie(Harry and co. included) with little expectation, and that's a very different thing from being inundated with info, being on the set, reading the script, viewing clips. It's walking in fresh. And that makes a difference. No conspiracies here. It's a great film. <P> Also, Mori, part of a six film series? Is that going to be rolling out everywhere? Is that like the 8 Films to die for or whatever? Is it possible, we will be getting these things down near Baltimore. I'd love to see LTROI again and I want to see Timecrimes.
Sept. 19, 2008, 8:05 a.m. CST
it blew my mind. the most distinctive take on genre material i've seen in years. sensitive & shocking.
Sept. 19, 2008, 8:07 a.m. CST
I caught this one at the Los Angeles Film Festival over the summer and I was very impressed. It's more creepy than scary but the story is engaging and the film plays out like a dark fairy tale that reminded me a little bit of Guillermo del Toro's CRONOS.
Sept. 19, 2008, 8:08 a.m. CST
The movie maintains the book's time period, yes? Because I HATE when they change shite like that.
Sept. 19, 2008, 8:12 a.m. CST
I think of the Morrissey song everytime I see this title
Sept. 19, 2008, 8:30 a.m. CST
That's because it actually IS based on a Morrissey song. John Ajvide Lindqvist is a huge Smiths and Morrissey fan. In his latest book there are two homicidal ghosts who do nothing but speak in Smiths lyrics.
Sept. 19, 2008, 8:31 a.m. CST
Damn guys. That was an AICN rite of passage for me, thanks.<P>Harry: I have a ton of respect for you and several of the writers who contribute here. I visit this site very often and I have for years and the last thing I would ever suggest is that you don't feel very passionate about the world of cinema. What is unfortunate is that for every movie like this that you guys (apparently) genuinely love and get taken by complete surprise by at a festival and want to let the world know about, there is a "Zack & Miri Make a Porno," or a "Knocked Up" or "Transformers" or "Hostel 2" or "Grindhouse" or "Inglorious Bastards" or "Wall-E" that you hype the living fuck out of for at least a year before its release. Call me cynical (or an asshole fuckhead, if you prefer) for jumping to the conclusion that the reason you do that is because you've got something to gain from it... but it's the internet, man. I'm a conspiracy-minded dude. I'm gonna connect the dots where I see them. All y'all jumping on me at once like that doesn't do much to convince me that I'm wrong.<P>Mori: I'm sure you can appreciate the irony in telling me you have nothing to gain by promoting this movie, then telling me to go buy a ticket to it when it comes out. (Don't get me wrong, I believe from what Harry said that you have nothing to gain from talking this particular film up, but I thought that was funny.)
Sept. 19, 2008, 8:53 a.m. CST
I can't imagine how hard it is to program this festival but why oh why do i have to choose between this and Fears of the Dark?! (I work during the day, btw.). Plus: Deadgirl + Feast 2 + Tokyo Gore Police all playing at the same time. My head is asplode.
Sept. 19, 2008, 9:30 a.m. CST
Had no idea, will have to check out his work.
Sept. 19, 2008, 9:37 a.m. CST
If I had known everybody else was going to jump in, I wouldn't have added on to the pile, dude. I think you're forgetting that AICN is about passion for film. Sometimes those films are studio films, sometimes arthouse films, sometimes foreign films. What we gain by being enthusiastic is hopefully turning people on to the kinds of movies we love. I can't speak for the others, but I believe they approach their work here the same way I do, treating not as a job where I'm forced to have an opinion on everything, but rather as a discussion with film fans. I write my reviews the same way I'd tell my opinions on these things to my friends (albeit in a little more detail). I get a paycheck through AICN for my work, but I'd get the same money if I was bashing everything I saw, too. I understand conspiracy thinking, but I'm telling you it's not that crazy here. We love movies, sometimes to a fault, but that's where we're coming from.
Sept. 19, 2008, 9:43 a.m. CST
our pal THE NORTHLANDER, who's reviewed a few things here mailed me a copy months ago. As soon as it went to English-language printing. I met him at BNAT last year and I still haven't read it. Loaned to someone right out of the package, and she's given it to someone else! Hopefully I'll get it back soon, this review, (which I skipped parts of) makes me want to read the book... finally. If I can get it back.
Sept. 19, 2008, 9:51 a.m. CST
by Dwide Shrewd
She is not human, and she needs to be loved. Just like every other vampire teen does.
Sept. 19, 2008, 10:19 a.m. CST
Thanks for the straight up and levelheaded reply. I sincerely do appreciate the fact that the three of you took the time to respond, each in your own way, so I'll stop posting about this suspicion of mine from now on.<P>Got a question for you though (and I don't mean to insinuate anything further by asking this, I'm genuinely curious). Since you brought up how you yourself are paid, I'm wondering from what Harry said in his post how he makes his living? Sorry if that's an inappropriate question, but if all the money from FF goes to charity, is it just revenue based on the ads the site puts up? Or does he have another job? Seems like that the ad money wouldn't amount to enough to live off of...
Sept. 19, 2008, 11:25 a.m. CST
It's a flippin' Swedish film. Unless the Texas-based AICN guys are spending a lot of time taking their private jet back-and-forth to Stockholm and humping hot blondes in the fjords your accusations are just flat-out ridiculous.
Sept. 19, 2008, 11:43 a.m. CST
by Mike Hawk
I called one of their reps by looking up the Magnet Releasing site and they told me that. Fuck, that's a long ass time. It's times like this that I wish a screener would leak so people can actually see something en masse rather than have another awesome film be shadowed by a piss-poor American remake.
Sept. 19, 2008, 12:16 p.m. CST
by Mike Hawk
I hate waiting so long to see something. Somebody release this movie in Northern California!
Sept. 19, 2008, 12:22 p.m. CST
Apparently, Hammer Films acquired the remake rights to Let The Right One In earlier this year. I used to love some of the old Hammer classics, but I'm not sure what to make of this as I always prefer the original foreign language versions to the remakes. www.unofficialhammerfilms.com/news/2008/Jun20_04.html www.variety.com/index.asp?layout=festivals&jump=story&id=1061&articleid=VR1117985082&cs=1
Sept. 19, 2008, 12:26 p.m. CST
I was on the Critics Jury at the Natfilm Festival in Copenhagen, where we gave this film the statuette. I however was part of a minority, that wanted to give it to another film. Let me be frank, I loved the film. The use of colour and light is fantastic. As Quint points out the acting, especially the two children is superb and generally the cinematic style is great, but it does also have a few serious drawback from my perspective. The horror scenes, that Quint cites as the high point of the film, I found to be its major flaw. To me, they just don't fit the tone of the film. The scene with the cats in particular becomes almost a caricature of B-horror, which intentionally or unintentionally just didn't sit right with me. I feel the movie should instead have focused on the relationsship between the two chldren and the wonderfully subtle treatment of "forbidden sexuality" from the perspective of a pre-pubescent boy (I especially liked the scene where his father, who is living alone, has a visit from his "friend" and leaves the boy to himself). Most of the horror elements are good but the few that go over the top (the cats, the flaming bed, the swimming pool ending) ruin the theme and mood of the film for me.
Sept. 19, 2008, 1:04 p.m. CST
by Mike Hawk
And I wish the distributors would just stop doling it out in such a limited market and just put it on as many screens as possible. I'd buy myself tickets right now if I had a screening near me.
Sept. 19, 2008, 1:18 p.m. CST
But the plot does kind of sound like my own film 'DAWN' that Tempe Video put out in 2006. http://tinyurl.com/2xstdt I have to see it though. It's about time vampires were made frightening again.
Sept. 19, 2008, 2:10 p.m. CST
Was dawn on DVD before the book this movie was based on was published... Hmmm??
Sept. 19, 2008, 3:28 p.m. CST
by Mike Hawk
Stop peddling your garbage on this website, you moron. Your username screams "spammer" and reading the synopsis for this poor excuse for a movie makes your comparison to LTROI laughable. The only similarity is that the vampire is a little girl with a human father, and everything said about LTROI would lead one to believe that the father in LTROI is ambiguously so. Anyway, nobody cares about your trash. This topic is about LTROI, which I am dying to see.
Sept. 19, 2008, 5:40 p.m. CST
Originaly this movie shold have premiaired in march in sweden. I still havn't seen it. Its nice to see a swedish getting praise abroad but a domestic release would be even better... The book is a work of art and i recomend it to anyone interested in genre fiction. I'm not sure if Ajvide Lundqvist's second book, The handling of the dead, is translated but if it is you should pick it up right now! Its the saddest zombie story you'll ever read. It made me cry at least five times whilst reading.
Sept. 19, 2008, 7:59 p.m. CST
I live in Australia and I recently watched "Inside." I had to download the fucking thing (which I honestly hate doing) because it appears no one is interested in releasing it. Anyway, the film destroyed me, in a good way. I found out about that film from talk-backs. Is "Them" the shit? How about "Martyrs"? I dig any nationality, and it can be heavy on atmosphere or gore, just as long as it is rocking and kinda under the radar. I would appreciate the heads-up.
Sept. 19, 2008, 8:45 p.m. CST
by Star Hump
You lost me right there.
Sept. 19, 2008, 10:24 p.m. CST
Argh! Nobody in Australia is halfway competent at distribution. I only just got to watch WALL-E for fuck's sake and The Fall isn't ever coming out apparently. <p> I'm also beginning to wonder if the human population explosion means it's going to be impossible for me to keep an eye on the works of all the great current and up-and-coming film-makers. I'm starting to feel stretched people!
Sept. 19, 2008, 10:36 p.m. CST
It is pretty shit here. I saw WALL-E yesterday and was blown away. I hate seeing glowing reviews of MAINSTREAM films (let alone independents)and having to wait fucking ages to see them. The only relief I get is when screeners from my shitty blockbuster job. I got [Rec] the other day. It owns. I showed all my mates and they dug it. Fuck this, I'm starting a company.
Sept. 20, 2008, 3:29 a.m. CST
Them is pretty good, not mind-blowing, but well done. I see Martyrs in a couple of days. Watch for the review...<BR><BR>In the meantime, THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE WEIRD is one of the most awesome movies ever and REPO: THE GENETIC OPERA is surprisingly not shitty. Full reviews coming as soon as I can get them pumped out.
Sept. 20, 2008, 11:26 a.m. CST
Quint you had me until "Repo the Genetic Opera" is surprisingly not shitty. How can anything with the smell of Paris have any redeeming value?
Sept. 20, 2008, 11:43 a.m. CST
Let The Right One In was written in 2004 I believe. But I never suggested anyone was ripping anyone off. I merely suggested if you liked one film you might want to check out the other, because of similar themes. I apologize if it's taken as shameless promotion.
Sept. 21, 2008, 1:53 a.m. CST
I will hit up The good, the bad and the weird as soon as possible! It has always perplexed me why people don't pick each others brains in these TBs. Instead they bitch. I say more shout-outs from the man in the (virtual) street.
Nov. 9, 2008, 2:34 a.m. CST
BELIEVE the hype folks. Manolia, please release it wide NOW!
Nov. 11, 2008, 1:31 a.m. CST
The pool scene at the end is one of the best shot sequences of film Ive ever seen...Its so disturbing but oddly moving in the moments that follow.
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