LET THE RIGHT ONE IN (Tomas Alfredson). 114 minutes. Subtitled. Opens Friday (October 31). For venues and times, see Movies. Rating: NNNNN
Vampires are the most overused villains in horror, with zombies lumbering close behind.
But just when it looks like there's no life left in Drac and his bloodsucking brethren, along comes Let The Right One In. It's unlike any film - vampire or otherwise - you've seen in a long, long time.
Based on the novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist (who also wrote the screenplay), this is a strange, stunning and surprisingly sweet Swedish film about childhood friendship and first love. Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant), a lonely 12-year-old who's bullied at school, has a new best friend, Eli (Lina Leandersson), the mysterious girl who moves in next door.
Of course, things go helter-skelter when Oskar discovers his puppy-love interest is a member of the undead. But she's no dollified Kirsten Dunst à la Interview With The Vampire, and their story never goes quite where you expect.
While the premise vaguely resembles a certain teen-lit phenomenon, Let The Right One In deftly avoids the Twilight zone and injects a little life into the previously anemic sub-genre.
Puns aside, this is a film that should cross over to mainstream audiences who ordinarily avoid bloodletting. It never goes for shock scares or gore for gore's sake, and it handles the story's startling subtext about prepubescent sexuality with remarkable restraint and maturity.
Ultimately, Let The Right One In is beautiful, chilling and has two amazing performances by Hedebrant and Leandersson. Hollywood's planning a remake, so see it before they fuck it up.