It’s tempting to think that everything that comes from ‘world cinema’ is just the bee’s fucking knees. Compared to the American and British drivel that adorns the screens of multiplexes throughout this land of Eng, Johnny Foreigner can kick our filmmaking balls from here to Brussels. It’s tempting to think this, but not completely accurate.
The reason why it appears so, is that we lucky bowler hat wearing chaps just get the best pick of ALL of the myriad of foreign movies. But then the counter-argument to this is that because most of the world (outside of US, UK and India) makes films as art rather than commerce they have a much better chance of making something breathtakingly original and painfully great. ‘Let The Right One In’ helps the latter argument considerably.
Set in Sweden during the ’80s, ‘Let The Right One In’ tells the tale of two 12-year-olds. Oskar (Kare Hedebrandt) is a fresh-faced blonde (he is Swedish after all) with impossbly white skin whose having a hard time with his parents split and an even harder time with the school bullies. Eli (Lina Leandersson) is an exceptionally beautiful young girl who has just moved into Oskar’s building and looks set to make him her new best friend.
The trouble with Eli is she’s a vampire. And not one of these twee ‘I go sparkly in the sunlight and play baseball with my family’ kind of vampires. But rather a ‘rip your neck out and cover her face in blood’ kind of vampire. During one particularly enrapturing scene where Oskar attempts a blood bond it’s all she can do to stop herself tearing her new friend to bits.
This perverse yet exceptionally beautiful love story is the heart of this movie and while it works fantastically well as a horror piece (save maybe the CGI cat attack which errs on the laughable) it’s watching this boy and girl fall in love because they need each other that stays with you long after you’ve left the cinema and sat down to write an ill-contrived yet well-meaning review.
And it’s this that makes it not only the best horror film for a while or the best foreign movie of the year (so far) but quite possibly the best vampire movie of all time. It gives the bloodsuckers something that cinema has taken away of late. These creatures of the night aren’t inherently ‘evil’ (30 Days Of Night) or ‘cool’ (Twilight). They just need. They need blood to live. And preferably someone to get it for them.
And just to bring the opening ‘them versus us’ argument about who’s the better film-making community full circle, an offensive English language remake is already in the works. For idiots who can’t read.