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Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Vampire > Sweden > Let The Right One In (2008/MagNet DVD/Horror/Vampire)

Let The Right One In (2008/MagNet DVD/Horror/Vampire)


Picture: C-     Sound: C+     Extras: B-     Feature: B+



I was lucky enough to see the Swedish film Let the Right One In in its extremely limited theatrical release and I can tell you that straight-up, hands down, no doubt this is the best Horror film of 2008.  Whatever you do, do not buy it yet.  This movie is damn near the epitome of subtlety on every level, not the least of which is the dialogue.  And yet, on the DVD release MagNet decided to use an alternate English translation than was used in the theatrical release.  This new translation robs the dialogue of all the subtlety and macabre humor that makes this film so charming.


And yes, I said charming.  This film about a twelve-year-old vampire that features murder, dismemberment, decapitation, bursting into flames, and disfigurement via acid is also unexpectedly and unapologetically charming.  The story is told through the perspective of Oskar, a twelve-year-old boy who gets bullied at school.  When a young girl and her guardian move in to the apartment next door, they become friends and eventually “go steady.”  Never mind that she’s a vampire.


The insight that the filmmakers have into the world of children is astounding.  The portrayal of childhood is neither condescending nor nostalgic; it’s simply honest.  The insight into what causes children to be violent is present, but never spoken aloud in either translation.  Even the bullies are portrayed with certain degree of depth.


If at all possible, I would suggest getting this film on Blu-ray rather than DVD. Like the subtitles, the DVD release of this film mars one of the film’s great accomplishments in subtlety.  The color in this film is astounding, an opus of understated blues and greens and grays with an occasional pop of red.  But the overall picture quality within the 2.35:1 frame is lacking.  The audio, in Dolby Digital 2.0 or 5.1, is better again displaying an impressive subtlety in the mixing.  There are dialogue tracks in Swedish and English, but my policy is to always always always use subtitles with the original dialogue.


The extras on this disc are sparser than I would like, but still good.  There are four deleted scenes that were wisely cut, and a “Behind the Scenes” with director Tomas Alfredson.  Plus, there are two of the very few photo galleries that I was ever glad to see included on a disc.  One is a gallery of promotional stills that just as photographs are fantastic.  The other is a gallery of the various posters used in the US and Sweden.  There is also an alternate subtitle option called “English Narrative Subtitles,” but for the life of me I can’t figure out what they do.


The bottom line is, this movie is amazing.  If you can manage to catch in one of the few theaters where it is still playing, do so.  If you cannot, MagNet has promised to re-release the DVD and Blu-ray with the original theatrical subtitles.  This is, without a doubt, one of the best vampire movies ever made.  It tows the line between haunting and heartwarming, a line that I didn’t know existed but I’m glad it does.  It is precisely because this movie is so good that it’s so important that you wait until you find a copy that says “Subtitles: English (Theatrical)” in the bottom left-hand corner of the back cover.  Seeing a version that has the dumbed-down translation is a disservice to yourself and an otherwise astounding film.



-   Matthew Carrick


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