The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Magnolia HE - 2008
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 115 Minutes
Disc Format: BD-25
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Audio Format(s): English/Swedish DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Kare Hedebrant, Lina Leandersson, Peter Carlberg, Ika Nord, Henrik Dahl
Directed by: Tomas Alfredson
Music by: Johan Soderqvist
Written by: John Ajvide Lindqvist
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: March 10, 2009
"To flee is life, to linger, death"
Lonely, 12 year old Oskar is regularly bullied by his stronger classmates. A new friendship develops when Eli - a pale, serious young girl who only comes out at night moves in next door. Coinciding with her arrival is a series of inexplicable disappearances and murders. As Oskar becomes more aware of Eli's tragic plight, he cannot forsake her. However, Eli knows that to continue living, she must keep relocating. But when Oskar faces his darkest hour, Eli returns to defend him the only way she can....
Let the right one in is based on the novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist who also wrote the film's screenplay. The story takes place in 1982 Sweden and opens with Oskar who is a 12 year old loner type who lives with his mother in a modest apartment. His parents are divorced and he sees his father on occasion. Oskar is the favorite target of a small group of bullies at school. They are lead by Conny who seems to take particular pleasure in tormenting Oskar. One night a cab pulls up in front of the building and Oskar sees a man and a young girl get out. They move into the empty apartment next door to his. He notices that the man puts up brown paper and posters over the widows but doesn't think much more of it. Several days later while playing out in the courtyard at night the girl appears. They talk a little and afterward she informs him that they cannot be friends. The next evening she comes out again and Oskar shows her his Rubik's Cube. She has no idea what it is but seems interested in it so Oskar shows her how to use it and lends it to her. He notices that she is not wearing a coat or shoes. Since it is the dead of winter he asks if she is cold and she tells him she is not and that she doesn't remember what being cold was like. He subsequently asks her name and she says it's Eli and they exchange proper greetings. Eli looks like an average 12 year old but Oskar can't help but notice that there is something different about her. Their evening meetings continue and the two become friends.
Oskar shows up with a cut on his face received courtesy of Conny and his minions and Eli asks what happened. He tells her and she advises that he fight back and that he should hit them harder than he dares to in order to get them to stop. Oskar hesitates and asks her what if? She tells him that in that case she will help him as only she can'. The local paper begins to report strange goings on. A boy is murdered and drained of his blood and a witness sees a local man attacked under an overpass bridge by what appears to be a girl but later his body cannot be located. Oskar and Eli become closer and he tells her he has feelings for her. She hesitates but can't help what she feels for him too. Her father watches from a distance and warns her about seeing that boy. Things escalate for Eli and Oskar when her father is arrested and Oskar follows her advice and stands up to Conny at school. The events that follow lead them on paths that don't go in the same direction. Oskar knows the truth about Eli and ends up coming face to face with it. Eli has been down this road before and knows that to flee is life, to linger, death. She says goodbye to Oskar and leaves. Several nights later Conny and his friends set Oskar up by luring him into the school at night in order to exact revenge on him for standing up to them. Things begin to spiral out of control but not before Eli fulfills her vow to Oskar as only she can.
This film was all that I hoped it would be. When I saw the press announcement I had never heard of it but it sounded intriguing. This isn't a perfect film but all of its ingredients give it a bittersweet flavor that is inspiring. This is unlike any other genre film in that it's horror based elements take a backseat to the relationship between these two characters. On the other hand the story doesn't work without the fact that Eli lives on the blood of others. Certain aspects go unexplained but if you read between the lines you can surmise most of the answers. There are aspects of this film that some may feel are inappropriate but remember that this isn't a Hollywood production so keep an open mind. This is a movie about friendship (and a little romance), courage, trust, and of course vampirism which makes it a little bloody/violent. Lina Leandersson is simply amazing as Eli and Tomas Alfredson's tight pacing and clever direction entices the audience so that we bond with these characters regardless of their misdeeds. The ending was what I hoped it would be and is a bit ambiguous depending on how you want to look at it. I thoroughly enjoyed this film as it offered a rewarding and fresh spin on an age old horror genre concept.
The rating is for bloody violence including disturbing images, brief nudity and language.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Let the right one in comes to Blu-ray Disc from Magnolia HE featuring 1080p VC-1 encoded video that has an average bitrate of 24 mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bit rate of 2.3 mbps.
This is a dark film both in tone and visual design and this video presentation capably conveys that. The color palette uses lots of pale secondary colors that give the film a stark visual aesthetic that coincides with the cold climate and dreary subject matter. When brighter colors such as shades of red or yellow are present, they pop with a vivacious, and inviting quality. Fleshtones seem to accurately reflect the often lighter and sun starved complexional tones of the cast. Detail in dark areas and low lighting is above average which provides discernible but limited visible structure within backgrounds. Blacks are respectable but not definitively deep enough to add dynamic punch to dark scenes. The varying levels are gray used in backgrounds has excellent gradational highlights which enhances depth perception. High definition resolution is satisfying as close ups are well delineated and long range visuals are reasonably sharp. This film was obviously shot on a limited budget but I found little to complain about with the overall quality of this video presentation.
Magnolia HE seems to be right at home in offering DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks on their Blu-ray Discs (which is just fine with me). Both the English dubbed and Swedish language tracks are included. I utilized the Swedish soundtrack with English subtitles as I don't care for using dubbed audio. This isn't an overly complex sound design but its wide dynamic range, and superior clarity work very well within the scope of this film to create an invigorating experience. The music score is played back over the entire system as it sets the stage by building suspense, punctuating its release, and creating a subtle musical presence that can denote endearing moments. At times the beautiful instrumentation takes center stage with equal balance from both front and rear speakers as only it can heard in support of the events occurring onscreen. Other than that it maintains an open, frontal perspective with rear channel ambience that broadens dimension. LFE is effectively used throughout the presentation to heighten suspense so that it culminates in a low frequency crescendo that fills the room with deep, authoritative and multi-layered bass that is impressive.
An example of this occurs with the attack under the overpass. Directional spacing and off axis perspective across the front three channels is excellent. The blend of ambient and discrete sounds that join both the front and rear soundstages is cohesive and spatially proportionate. This is evident in a scene where a potential victim is caught in a school locker room. He begins to scream for help as his friends try to gain access to the locked room he is in. The dull echo within the room as well as the discretely located sounds of their pounding on the door and calls at the widow have realistic near field proximity within the acoustic environment. This entire sequence which is highlighted by his seemingly unending (and unnerving) screams sounded great. Dialogue is crisp, has defining vocal intonation and is centrally focused within the sound field so that it is infinitely intelligible. This lossless encoding enriches the fidelity inherent in the recording and brings it to the surface. I thought it sounded superb.
** CIH users can note that the subtitles are contained within the picture area.**
- 4 deleted scenes
- Behind the scenes featurette - 7 minute making of
- Photo gallery
- Theatrical poster gallery
I really enjoyed this film. It offers us a chance to see another perspective on the vampire genre. What it might be like for a young girl trying to survive, how she affects the life of a lonely boy who wants acceptance, and finally what they come to mean to one another. I thought that the cast, specifically Lina Leandersson as Eli, Director Tomas Alfredson and screenplay writer/author John Ajvide Lindqvist painted a vivid portrait of this story bittersweet tale of violence, trust, friendship and sacrifice. Magnolia HE brings it to Blu-ray Disc day featuring solid audio/video quality but a light dose of bonus supplements that left me wanting. That is a minor complaint in the grand scheme of things as the film more than makes up for it. If you can find this one and enjoy genre films like this I highly recommend it.
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