(Although I tried to refrain from spoilers, the review includes one for a main plotpoint)
With so many remakes nowadays, this is a common question in my mind. Which one should I see first? the original or the remake? It's tougher when the time span between them isn't much, and both films have received positive criticism. It happened to me earlier this year with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. In that case, I decided to go with the remake because I'm a fan of Fincher. This time, I chose to let the original in first.
Let the Right One In is set in a Stockholm suburb, and follows the unlikely friendship formed between two teenagers: 12-year-old Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant) and umm, 14-year-old Eli? (Lina Leandersson) The former is a shy, introverted, kid who is being bullied at school. When Eli moves to the apartment next to him, they develop a strange but cute friendship. The only problem is that Eli is a vampire.
Despite this premise, this film is nothing like a vampire film, which is probably its strongest point. Despite following the typical guidelines regarding vampires, the film behaves more like a drama/coming-of-age film with some thrills sprinkled around. As Oskar and Eli befriend each other, she encourages Oskar to stand up against his bullies. Meanwhile, she has to deal with her bloodthirst with the help of her father, Håkan (Per Ragnar).
Another strength of the film is the performance from the two teens. They have wonderful chemistry and their friendship feels true to the audience. Despite the circumstances, it is really an innocent and charming relationship between two teenagers facing the same problems (isolation, loneliness?). The rest of the cast is effective, led by Peter Carlberg. Carlberg plays Lacke, a local that has lost his best friend to Eli's thirst, and is looking for answers. The aforementioned Ragnar is also pretty good as Eli's guardian.
Also, most of the technical aspects of the film are top notch. The directing is solid, the cinematography is pretty great making the most of the snow-filled environment and dark settings.In the end, I can say that the film wasn't one to blow me away, but it was still a unique and charming take on the vampire genre. I enjoyed it a lot. Grade: B+