Oskar is a 12-year-old outcast who is frequently picked on by his classmates. He dreams of getting his revenge but he never stands up to the boys. With the arrival of his new next-door neighbour, 12-year-old Eli, Oskar may finally have found a friend, ally and first love. But Eli is no ordinary girl: she must keep her pale skin out of the sunlight, she can perform inhuman physical feats and she has thirst for blood. The bodies begin to pile up but Oskar can't stay away from the girl who has finally given him courage. Based on the novel by John Ajvide Linqvist (who also wrote the script), "Let The Right One In" is the best kind of horror film: one that transcends the tropes of the genre to become something new.
So there is that other vampire movie that is taking the world by storm. Sure, that certain Edward Cullen may be making girls swoon (what’s so attractive about looking pale, anyway?) and that certain Bella Swan may be someone every girl wishes to be, but you have to admit it – the story is standard teenage fantasy fare. If you are interested in a grippingly told vampire love story, we would highly recommend this Swedish film instead.
At least we don’t get a vampire and his love interest flying gliding in the air through forest trees ala Chow Yun Fatt and Zhang Ziyi in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000).
Enough bashing here, let’s move on to this critically acclaimed film based on a 2004 vampire fiction novel written by Swedish author John Ajvide Lindqvist. The vampire in this film is a 200 year old who has been looking like a 12 year old for the longest time. She (it doesn’t have to be a male vampire all the time, you know) develops a relationship with an often bullied 12 year old boy. The bond between the two kids (at least, that’s what it appears to be) becomes a touching and sincere love story between two lost souls.
Marketing considerations aside (let’s not go into which movie is benefiting from the other one’s theatrical release in Singapore), this one clearly is made with more heart without cashing in on the teenage fan base’s, err, fanatical behaviour. During its 115 minute runtime, there are many aspects of the movie worth admiring. First, it delivers some real scares which will send chills down your spine. Whether it’s the bloody image of bodies being torn apart or a possessed victim catching fire, these images are truly shocking. Second, its masterful storytelling will engage you without feeling its almost two hour duration. Given its genre, the movie could have conveniently narrated its story in a predictable manner – but its innovative structure will prove otherwise. Third, the stunning cinematography will leave you astounded. Watch out for several eye catching images which will have you sit up and look (this being a DVD, you can actually rewind and watch it in motion again).
There is also something about watching actors whom we are not familiar with in this part of the world. While the young actors Kare Hedebrant and Kina Leandersson hold their forts nicely as the young human and vampire couple, other Swedish actors like Per Ragnar and Peter Carlberg (ever heard of them, no?) deliver intensely impressive performances as well. Most importantly, the film succeeds in catching your attention and having you care about the story and its characters – without employing your usual vampire scare tactics.
SPECIAL FEATURES :
This Code 3 DVD only contains only a Theatrical Trailer.
The visual transfer is chillingly beautiful. The movie is presented in its original Swedish audio track in 5.1 Surround.
by John Li