Last night I attempted to conquer a debilitating flu that has plagued me this week by indulging in two remedies: a round of hot totties and a re-watch of director Tomas Alfredson’s terrifically eerie Swedish vampire thriller Let The Right One In. As you do.

The film’s most stunning achievement is to fuse vampire fiction with social realism. Its grasp of verisimilitude is second to none in the ‘I vant to suck your blood’ genre; indeed, such a line seems arbitrary and almost insulting to Alfredson’s classy take on fang-in-neck fiction.

It’s an experience light years away from the frothy trashiness of the Twilight films, which, in fairness, belong in the same broad genre but shoot for a very different tone and a very different audience. No candy bar t-shirt sales for Let The Right One In.

The scene in which two children lying next to each other in bed converse, one asking the blood gummed other if she wants to “go steady”, is beautiful in its emotional rawness and disquieting in ways that are challenging to articulate. It’s humane but otherworldly, indicative of the film’s slow moving sense of disquiet that grows and grows until it becomes baked into every frame of every scene.

The moment when a bitten woman gets attacked by cats is terrifying. One of the final scenes, based in a school swimming pool, is masterfully handled.

The American remake by Cloverfield director Matt Reeves arrives in Australian cinemas this week and has so far garnered surprisingly positive reviews. It has a great deal to live up to.

The details: Let The Right One In is available in Australia on DVD. The remake opens in cinemas nationally today.

Comment on this story over at Luke Buckmaster’s Cinetology blog

Peter Fray

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