Film: Let The Right One In (Låt den rätte komma in) Director: Tomas Alfredson Link: IMDB Swedish filmmakers never fail to punch above their weight in the gritty knockout title-fight that is feature film-making. Think As It Is In Heaven, Evil and My Life As A Dog. These are films which not only captured, perfectly, a genre but also contributed in some degree to the evolution of that genre. This latest contribution from heavyweight contender Tomas Alfredson is a fitting addendum to a repertoire of Swedish film spanning nearly 50 years in the international arena and which can count as its benefactor the master director Ingmar Bergman. Let The Right One In is a vampire film and a coming of age story. It tells of 12 year old Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant) who lives a lonely and isolated existence in a small flat with his single parent mother Yvonne (played by Karin Bergquist who is currently performing one of the roles in the Swedish stage version of the fabulous farce "Boeing Boeing"). Oskar has a close relationship with his Dad although he doesn't see him often enough and we think that he might object to his Dad being gay (although this is very much underplayed in the film). Oskar suffers terribly at the hands of bullies at his school and it's not until he meets new neighbour Eli (played by haunting thirteen year old Lina Leandersson) that he learns to stand up to them. Eli lives in a Lolita-style relationship with an older man. Eventually Oskar and Eli fall in what can only be described as a delightful, pre-pubescent love but Eli's condition as a vampire threatens to separate them. Like a lot of Swedish films, this one is slow-paced. I think we wait for over an hour before Oskar realises that Eli is a vampire. But I'm not complaining as a slow devolution of the story gives weight to a plot that could easily have seemed really tacky. Alfredson is typically known as a director of black comedy rather than straight-out horror but he has chosen this genre well - looking back to a "The Lost Boys" mix of vampirism, bullying and teenage-ism. Playing on one of the tenets of vampire folklore that a vampire needs to be invited into enter a premises, Alfredson has shown the theme of the uninvited guest not just through Eli but in Oskar entering her flat and in the intrusion of (presumably) a gay lover into Oskar's relationship with his father. He doesn't shy away from realism in this film, showing Oskar's snotty nose and Eli's bloodstained lips and dirty fingernails where necessary. And I love it when films have a theme that recurs cleverly throughout like the all-pervasiveness of the colour white in this one. Mmm, so an evolution of a genre, you ask?  Well... the vampire is one of the oldest themes in the history of film making.  Ever since The Devil's Castle was released in 1896 directors have been exploring the myth and legend of Dracula and film academics have written a lot about how vampires have appeared in films through the ages. Academics have identified a change in the image of the vampire - from the deeply menacing, Bela Lugosi style vampire in the early days to a more "erotic" style of vampire (often with female vampires) in the 70s and 80s and then to a "sympathetic" vampire. In "sympathetic" vampire films like "Bram Stoker's Dracula" we see some of the pain and suffering a vampire undergoes when they are torn between their feelings for a human and the requirements of their status as blood-drinking undead. Academics have now predicted a new cycle in the image of the vampire in film - a step beyond the sympathetic - where the vampire is the hero and has a close-knit, family-style relationship with other vampires. Kate Beckinsale's character in "Underworld" showed this and the recently released "Twilight" also had all these elements. In "Let The Right One In" we take "Twilight" and finish with a perfectly formed, symbiotic relationship between a living person and an undead. Sounds novel, I know, and its unclear in the film if this odd friendship lasts. But we can always trust the Swedes to take us to the edge of a genre and gently nudge us over into the abyss. Rating: 8/10