Let the Right One In

Let the Right One In, is a Swedish vampire movie based on a book of the same name by John Ajvide Lindqvist (he also wrote the screenplay.) Set on a Swedish council estate in the dead of winter, it’s a gritty, grim tale – full of alcoholism, bullying, pedophilia, broken homes and long, long nights. So when bullied 12 yr old Oskar meets his new neighbour, a neglected girl-child called Eli, they strike up an sweet and tentative friendship that takes them away from their miserable lives for a while. Except for one problem; Eli is a vampire. “I am twelve,” she says, “But I’ve been twelve for a very long time.”

The movie doesn’t pack quite the same punch as the book – its pacing seems a little slow, and I thought I would have missed some stuff if I hadn’t read the book first – but it’s chilling, and thrilling, nonetheless. Although the story takes place in Blackeberg, a suburb of Stockholm, principal photography took place in Luleå (in the north of Sweden) to ensure enough snow and cold weather. (Luleå was built around the same time as Blackeberg, and has similar architecture; I was immediately struck by how similar it was to the imagined world conjured up in the book.) Due to the extreme cold, many of the outdoor close-up scenes were shot in studio.

Incidentally, I see that Matt Reeves (who directed Cloverfield) is making an American version of the movie, set in Littleton, Colorado in the Reagan era. Hm.