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Let The Right One In(2008)
A fragile, anxious boy, 12-year-old Oskar is regularly bullied by his stronger classmates but never strikes back. The lonely boy's wish for a friend seems to come true when he meets Eli, also 12, who moves in next door to him with her father. A pale, serious young girl, she only comes out at night and doesn't seem affected by the freezing temperatures. Coinciding with Eli's arrival is a series of inexplicable disappearances and murders. One man is found tied to a tree, another frozen in the lake, a woman bitten in the neck. Blood seems to be the common denominator--and for an introverted boy like Oskar, who is fascinated by gruesome stories, it doesn't take long before he figures out that Eli is a vampire. But by now a subtle romance has blossomed between Oskar and Eli, and she gives him the strength to fight back against his aggressors. Oskar becomes increasingly aware of the tragic, inhuman dimension of Eli's plight, but cannot bring himself to forsake her. Frozen forever in a twelve-year-old's body, with all the burgeoning feelings and confused emotions of a young adolescent, Eli knows that she can only continue to live if she keeps on moving. But when Oskar faces his darkest hour, Eli returns to defend him the only way she can.
For more about Let The Right One In and the Let The Right One In Blu-ray release, see Let The Right One In Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on March 12, 2009 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.5 out of 5.
Starring: Kåre Hedebrant, Lina Leandersson, Per Ragnar, Henrik Dahl, Karin Bergquist (I), Peter Carlberg
Director: Tomas Alfredson
» See full cast & crew
Let The Right One In Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, March 12, 2009
A heavily atmospheric film about a young boy who befriends a vampire, Tomas Alfredson's "Let The Right One In" (2008) delights with a terrific script and brilliant performances. The story is graphic but never overly disturbing. Courtesy of US-based distributors Magnolia Pictures.
Twelve-year-old Oscar is lonely. He doesn't have any friends, his divorced parents ignore him and other boys constantly pick on him. One night, Oscar encounters Eli, a skinny girl who smells strange and likes walking in the snow without shoes. Eli is also lonely and without any friends. Oscar immediately falls for her and asks if she would like to be his girlfriend. Eli agrees, but not before she reveals to the boy that she is a vampire. Would Oscar mind? No, not really.
At school, a few bullies decide to teach Oscar a lesson. They beat the boy up and later on attempt to drown him in a swimming pool. Visibly upset, Eli tells her new friend that he has to fight back. She also makes sure that they won't bother Oscar again. Ever.
I love seeing films that manipulate my mind as well as my senses. I also like seeing films that do not reveal all of their secrets. This is why I am often disappointed by Hollywood producers – the element of surprise in their works stopped surprising me a long time ago.
Let The Right One In (2008), a low-budget Swedish film based on the novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist and directed by Tomas Alfredson, however, did. As you could see from the synopsis above, this is a film where there is plenty of blood and vampire talk, yet it isn't a typical "vampire film". Let The Right One In tells a story about two lonely kids who like each other.
There are a number of reasons why I liked this film aside from the fact that it caught me off-guard. First, it reminded me a lot about Spanish director Victor Erice's classic The Spirit of the Beehive (1973), which tells the story of a seven-year-old girl who is severely traumatized after she sees James Whale's Frankenstein (1931). The girl starts having all sorts of hallucinations where ghosts would talk and play tricks on her. Yet, The Spirit of the Beehive isn't a film about ghosts, it is a brilliant condemnation of General Franco's regime.
Second, the two young actors playing Oscar and Eli - Kåre Hedebrant and Lina Leandersson – are fantastic. They introduced me to the strange world their characters share in such a convincing fashion that by the time the film ended, I felt like there was nothing unusual about it. And, believe me, this is quite an achievement, given some of the more graphic scenes in Let The Right One In.
Third, this is a deliciously subversive film with a number of different overtones in it. For example, there is a strong gothic flavor which has been achieved by effectively draining the color-scheme of its colors (even fresh blood looks almost black). Furthermore, as Tomas Alfredson notes in the "Making Of" supplied on the Blu-ray disc, the story also reveals an intriguing period look – the dreary apartment complex, the empty and poorly lit streets as well as the sense of being unwanted, excluded from the other world that follows Oscar and Eli's relationship is very much reminiscent of Sweden and its role in global political events from the early 80s. Finally, there is that old man (Per Ragnar) who lives with Eli. We assume that he is her father, but just the thought that he may not be makes Let The Right One In that much more eerie.
Let The Right One In Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.39:1, encoded with VC-1 and granted a 1080p transfer, Tomas Alfredson's Let The Right One In arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.
This recent Swedish film reveals a unique look that most definitely enhances the eerie atmosphere its story instills. For example, its color-scheme is very intriguing – blues, whites and blacks are well saturated but exceptionally cold. This being said, contrast is notably pleasing. There are large portions of the narrative that take place at night, but the VC-1 encoded transfer handles them just as well as it does the daylight footage. Furthermore, edge-enhancement is not an issue of concern (the snow scenes in particular look very strong). More importantly, however, the transfer Magnolia Pictures have provided is totally free of DNR. Finally, I did not detect any debris, scratches, or stains to report here either. To sum it all up, Let The Right One In is definitely one of the better Blu-ray releases that I have seen courtesy of Magnolia Pictures (together with The World's Fastest Indian and The War Within). (Note: Even though this Blu-ray disc is marketed as Region-A, it is in fact Region-Free. Therefore, you will be able to play it on your PS3 or SA regardless of your geographical location).
Let The Right One In Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There are two audio tracks on this Blu-ray disc: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and Swedish DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1.
I opted for the Swedish DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track (should you want to experience the film as envisioned by its creators, I insist that you do so as well) and, frankly, I could not have been any more impressed with it. Well, here it is folks – a rich, incredibly nuanced and very well mixed audio track that does not test the muscles of your audio system…yet, it is absolutely perfect. The Swedish DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track captures the dark aura of Let The Right One In so well, during large portions of the film I was actually far more pleased with the terrific audio than I was with the story. Simply put, the balance is perfect, the sound incredibly rich (with a good dose of surround activity, though nothing excessive) and the dialog crystal clear and very easy to follow. For the record, Magnolia Pictures have provided optional English, English SDH and Spanish subtitles for the main feature (the subtitles appear inside the image frame).
Also, I quickly tested the English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track, but there is absolutely no basis for comparison between the Swedish DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track (the emotions the main protagonists reveal are totally lost in the English dub, and so is the very impressive ambient tone of the film) and the English dub. Once again, I strongly recommend that you opt for the original audio.
Let The Right One In Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
In addition to a theatrical poster gallery, on this Blu-ray disc you will also find four deleted scenes (480/60i) - Bullies, Eli & Oscar Exterior Scene, Virginia Vomits, and Eli & Oscar Interior Scene - that have been given only English subtitles (optional Spanish subtitles are not included). There is also a gallery of stills as well as a "Behind The Scenes" featurette (480/60i) where the director of the film, Tomas Alfredson, talks about the production history of Let The Right One In as well as the type of message it delivers (the featurette is in English). I strongly encourage you to see this rather short piece as it explains very well why Let The Right One In isn't a "vampire movie". Finally, this Blu-ray disc offers a very neat feature (that will operate only on Profile 1.1 or 2.0 players) which allows you to bookmark scenes from the film (you have to press the green button on your remote control) by utilizing an on-screen keyboard.
Let The Right One In Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
What a terrific film! Its story is both disturbing and uncharacteristically beautiful. As far as I am concerned, Let The Right One In will probably become something of a cult classic as time goes by. The Blu-ray disc herein reviewed, courtesy of Magnolia Pictures, is excellent. I was particularly impressed with the Swedish DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track, which proves that quality should not be confused with volume. Very Highly Recommended!
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Let The Right One In Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Magnolia Announces Let the Right One In - January 2, 2009
Magnolia Home Entertainment has announced that they will bring the Swedish vampire film 'Let the Right One In' to Blu-ray on March 10th, day-and-date with the DVD release. No technical specs have been announced for this award-winning film, which features a story ...
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