Let The Right One In (Låt den rätte komma in) (2008)

Starring: Kåre Hedebrant, Lina Leandersson, Per Ragnar

Directed by: Tomas Alfredson

Rating: 1 2 3 4 and a half

Oskar waits to Let The Right One In

Let The Right One In was the surprise hit of last year's Edinburgh International Film Festival (so of course I missed it) and is now flying high on the independent cinema circuit. A curious yet skilful hybrid blend of slow-burning, poetic, arthouse coming of age film and visceral horror flick, this Swedish genre cut'n'shut – amazingly – works beautifully.

Fey, introverted twelve-year-old Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant) is bullied at school and lonely missing his divorced father. When a mysterious, hollow-eyed pre-teen called Eli (Lina Leandersson) moves into the flat next door, he finds in her an unexpected ally against the world. But as other residents begin to disappear, and then turn up dead, it's clear that there's more than meets the eye to this pale-skinned stranger who never appears during the day, is impervious to the cold and can't eat normal food…

Eli (Lina Leandersson) in Let The Right One In

Using vampirism to express the dangerous allure of burgeoning sexuality is hardly a novel concept, but Let The Right One In uses the idea in a totally new way. Through outstanding performances from the young leads, we see their relationship blossom gently, as Eli helps Oskar discover hidden strengths within, to stand up to his schoolyard tormentors and face up to the horrific truth about his new girlfriend.

At once both a sensitive portrayal of childhood emotion and a brutal revelation of dark desires that pulls no punches in its full-on goriness, this has to be the most moving and inventive vampire film since Near Dark, and triumphant proof that there's life (or undeath) in the old myth yet. Throw in a gorgeous soundtrack and some excellently under-stated early '80s styling and capture it all through delicate, elegiac snowbound cinematography and you have a very fine film indeed.

So don't be put off by the slightly dreary opening scenes (and the fact that it's in Swedish) and Let The Right One In to your life.

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