Film: Movie number two in our SIFF series, Let The Right One In is a dark fantasy from Sweden that goes wildly off the mark and completely wastes any potential it had to tell a good story.
A young, wispy boy is alone and friendless in his apartment complex until a dark-haired girl and her father move in next door. A series of murders immediately occurs afterwards, and it's revealed that the girl is really a vampire. The young couple (both about 12 years old) go through a brief getting-to-know-you phase, and the story goes on from there.
This charming as the idea may be that a cute vampire could move in to you next door, the film absolutely fails to make any of the characters real or relatable, and of the series of events make precious little sense. The film's bloated two-hour running time consists mostly of moody, pensive shots with very little dialogue, and at no point is there ever any tension or mystery built up. The film makes it pretty clear that the girl is an actual vampire within the first 20 minutes, so there's nothing really to resolve afterwards... and if the director thinks watching these two 12-year olds get into bed with each other and share bloody kisses is somehow charming or touching, he's woefully mistaken.
The worst part was that the film had creepy, pedophilic overtones. The wife and I kept commenting to each other that what was happening on film would be vastly more appropriate with teenagers or young adults as the leads, not kids who haven't even started puberty yet. The worst moment came when the director found it necessary to flash a shot of the girl's vagina for no other reason than, what... shock value? His own satisfaction? We both felt slightly dirty.
I'm not a huge vampire fan, but I've read more than my share of the books and I certainly enjoy a good fantasy tale. Unfortunately, Let The Right One In feels pretty nonsensical and amateurish when dealing with the vampire issues, and comes off like some sort of inappropriate self-gratification remedy for I-was-an-unpopular-kid syndrome the rest of the time. There was plenty of snow and tons of inexplicably silent scenes, but the movie fails to rise above the level of "rough sketch" in terms of storytelling.