Monday, January 7, 2013

Let the Right One In

Review of "Let the Right One In" (book and movie) and; "Let Me In" (movie) and; "Let the Old Dreams Die" (short story)

Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist (English translator: Ebba Segerberg 2008)

I read an incredible and gripping vampire novel, one of the best books I've ever read in the genre, Let the Right One In, the international bestseller by Swedish author John Ajvide Lindquvist. Five out of five stars.
Amazon Link:

Before I read the novel, I watched both the Swedish and American versions of the movie, and then had to read the book to learn more about the fascinating characters. I was captivated and obsessed after watching the movies, both in the same night. I rented them from Blockbuster Video on Blu-ray, and they are available for purchase on Amazon as DVDs, On-Demand or Blu-ray.

The translator (Ebba Segerberg) did a fantastic job and I highly recommend this to Stephen King fans and vampire fans. Overall, the book is in the same vein as the Anne Rice vampire novels, but with a great new spin that I shall not spoil here. Lindqvist has a fresh take on the vampire mythos, but gives many nods to the traditions of the modern genre. It's a horror novel, and it is quite gory and scary at times, but in reality. There is also a fair amount about pedophilia, and murder. Few of the characters are at all likable, but they are fascinating. Lindqvist is a master at characterization, and this book truly about finding great love. Yes, it's romantic. I swear!

Let The Right One In (Swedish movie 2008)

The story is set in Sweden in 1981, and is about a 12 year old boy, Oskar, who is bullied and has some serious psychological issues. Oskar has a tough life and often fantasizes about killing his tormentors. He's going down a dark life path when a strange girl moves in next door. Her name is Eli. She does not go to school and appears to live with her father, and has absolutely no problem wearing a t-shirt and no shoes in the bitterly cold winter night. Makes you wonder what sort of person is immune to cold. Is she a little girl at all, or something more sinister?

Swedish movie trailer (English subtitles). Five Stars

Let the Right One In (Swedish movie 2008) here.
Eli and Oskar become friends and the story goes from there. The novel has a lot more than the movies, as it has several other story threads from many different characters. It's really a milieu story, showing a lot about the world and the people who live in the Stockholm suburb of Blackberg. There are some really dark and depressing characters, especially Hakan, who appears to be Eli's father. He's a very sick man.

I blasted through the novel and read it in only a few days. It scared the crap out of me a couple of times and Let the Right One in is an instant classic. It's easy to understand why they made two films (Swedish and an English version) from this novel.

The ending of the book was good, but the movies did it even better. I'm glad I had seen the movies first and I think seeing the movies first is the better idea, as the book is always better, so you won't be disappointed in the movies, as they do leave out a bunch.

The ending was not my favorite, because I think Lindqvist wasn't sure what to do. The fantastic news is that he wrote an epilogue to the epilogue! He put out a short story collection with the epilogue to Let the Right One In, called Let the Old Dreams Die. That is the title of the story about what happens to the characters in the novel. It's a brilliant short story and fills in the gaps and explains what happened. I loved it. The short story gave me chills and I've been thinking about it for days. If you do read the book and enjoy it, you must, must, MUST, read the short story: Let the Old Dreams Die. It was a little slow, but masterfully done and you will love the ending. The most important questions are answered.

Let The Old Dreams Die by John Ajvide Lindqvist

Amazon Link for the book: here
I give the short story four and half out of five stars.

let me inPoster.jpg

The American movie is also great, though I liked the Swedish one better, Both were awesome, don't get me wrong. Both should be viewed. The Swedish one is slower, more contemplative, and the characters more likable, I think, especially Oskar. Consider watching the Swedish one first, as it's more pure and closer to the source material. The screenplay for the American version is terrific, though, and the actors top notch. The American version is faster, scarier, has more Hollywood effects, and you can tell you're watching a Hollywood horror movie.


Chloe Moretz in Let Me In (2010)

The American version, Let Me In (2010) stars Chloe Moretz (she was in Kick Ass) and Kodi Smit-McPhee. These young actors deliver astonishing performances. View it on IMDB:

Here's the movie trailer for the American version. Four and half out of five stars.

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