If you haven’t yet heard of the Swedish vampire film, LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, you will soon. Still enjoying a theatrical run in some major U.S. cities, this spectacular film is set for release on DVD and Blu-ray March 10th. If you get the opportunity to see this wide-screen treat in a theater, do so. If not, put it in your rental queue now.
LET THE RIGHT ONE IN is a wholly original entry to the genre. Not frightening in the way most vampire films are, RIGHT ONE is more a character-study/romance between two 12 year old kids, both outcasts in their own rights. Directed with grace and elegance by Tomas Alfredson and based on the best-selling novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist (who also penned the screenplay), RIGHT ONE understands that a story needs room to breathe. One of the things that most impressed me about this film, in addition to its tone, chilly locals and terrific casting, was the restraint with which Alfredson so economically uses his special effects. The handful that are employed are striking, fluid, and thrillingly effective; they are sparse, simple, and unsettling. Hollywood has a lot to learn from this Swedish storyteller. If only they’d stop blowing things up long enough to take notice. I can already see the American remake with its parade of prosthetic decapitations and its effects-laden finale followed by the requisite double-twist ending and cheap pre-credit scare. No such excesses here. While certainly gory at times (hey, it’s a vampire flick), RIGHT ONE never forgets the story it aims to tell and the audience it aims to tell it to. I’m honored to have been a member of that audience.