Good New Vampire Movie

John Ajvide Lindqvist’s 2004 debut novel Låt den rätte komma in came as a pleasant surprise. From a stand-up comedian of respectable but unremarkable standing, suddenly we had this excellent vampire novel set in a staid Stockholm suburb in 1982 — a time and a place I personally know quite well.

The novel is about adolescent friendship set against a thematic backdrop of forbidden thirst: the young vampire Eli craves blood, his paedophile handyman lusts for children, and the worn drunks upon whom they prey convene around their thirst for alcohol — and friendship. There are a few scenes of horror-flick grotesquerie (when were you last attacked by a brain-dead paedophile vampire zombie, Dear Reader?), but all in all it is a novel of great finesse.

Of this fine book has now come a similary fine film, directed by Thomas Alfredsson using a script by Lindqvist himself. The photography is top tier, unabashedly arty, the pacing slow, the set design understated but solidly period. The weight of the film rests squarely on the shoulders of two fine young actors, though I was confused to find that one of them has had her lines dubbed by a third actor. This is a vampire movie in the style of Kay Pollak, gory and beautiful and sad, another step in the inexorable mainstreaming and artification of genre culture. Look for it at your art house, not at a gorefest convention.

Those into Swedish pop music will be intrigued to hear a previously unknown Gyllene Tider song of unmistakable early 80s vintage played in the film. As I understand things, what we are actually hearing is a new track recorded by Per Gessle (of Roxette fame) in pitch-perfect imitation of his old band!

Comments

  1. #1 Sigmund
    December 28, 2008

    It’s getting very good international attention from horror fans (its already on the top ten list of best horror movies on the IMDB).
    1. Psycho (1960) 113,700
    2. Alien (1979) 141,883
    3. The Shining (1980) 136,053
    4. Aliens (1986) 135,055
    5. Diaboliques, Les (1955) 10,335
    6. Jaws (1975) 110,290
    7. Hadashi no Gen (1983) 1,000
    8. Låt den rätte komma in (2008) 7,691
    9. The Thing (1982) 57,222
    10. Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

    When did they film it? It looks too cold for last winter in Stockholm.

  2. #2 Moopheus
    December 28, 2008

    Hey, my wife and I just saw it a couple of days ago. It is indeed one of the more interesting and cool horror movies we’ve seen in a while. I thought it was set in the late 70s (the vintage Volvo cop cars), but then my wife remembered the Rubik’s cube was an 80s thing. Are the period cues more obvious to Swedes? And are Swedish kids all so durn cute?

  3. #3 Martin R
    December 29, 2008

    It was shot in Blackeberg, a suburb of Stockholm. Don’t know how they managed the snow!

    It does look 70s-like, but I believe the early 80s actually looked a lot like that.

    People in Sweden of all ages do tend to look pretty good thanks to universal health care and far less obesity than the US has.

  4. #4 Tsu Dho NIhm
    December 31, 2008

    I saw this film at a horror film fest in the fall. It was excellent!

    And I picked up on the time period due to a TV news broadcast in one of the scenes.

  5. #5 windy
    January 2, 2009

    When did they film it? It looks too cold for last winter in Stockholm.

    Most of the snow scenes were shot in Luleå.

  6. #6 Micke
    January 12, 2009

    Too bad the film makers are not as nice as their movie:

    http://www.svd.se/multimedia/archive/00402/L_s_hela_det__ppna__402521a.pdf

    /Micke

  7. #7 Martin R
    January 13, 2009

    Well, just because you like milk, there’s no reason to be friends with cows. (-;