What do ‘Border’ and ‘Let me in’ have in common? Apart from being two (three, actually) of the most interesting horror films of recent years, both stories share a creator: John Ajvide Lindqvist.
The Swedish version of ‘Let Me In’ is available on Amazon Prime Video and on Filmin
Horror and Fantasy
John Ajvide Lindqvist is a Swedish writer very popular in his country. He was born in Stockholm and, before being a novelist, he was dedicated to stand-up comedy and was a magician. He mostly writes horror novels and short stories.
‘Let me enter’ (‘Let the right one in’) was his literary debut and narrates the unlikely friendship between Oskar, an introverted boy, and her neighbor Eli, who turns out to be a vampire (and as such it needs to feed to survive). The book had an unparalleled success and two film adaptations: in 2008, directed by Tomas Alfredson (‘El Topo’) and with Linqvist handling the script, and in 2010 by Matt Reeves (‘The Batman’) and starring Kodi Smit-McPhee (‘The Power of the Dog’) and Chloë Grace Moretz (‘Kick-Ass’).
To these two recommended versions we must add a third one that is on the way: after a failed pilot commissioned by TNT in 2017, the project was resurrected by Showtime, which gave the green light to this television adaptation headed by Demián Bichirwith a release date of October 7, 2022.
Going back to the ‘Let me in’ novel, he had a sequel in short story form titled ‘Let the old dreams die’. This story gives its name to an anthology of stories published in 2005, which also includes the story of ‘Border’.
‘Border’ (‘Gräns’) tells the story of Tina, a customs agent who has the peculiarity of recognize by smell the guilt in people. Her life, marked by a clear isolation due to various unusual characteristics in her, changes the moment she meets Vore, in whom she recognizes a scent similar to hers.
This story with touches of fantasy (which is worth approaching without knowing much about the “nature” of its characters) was adapted in 2018 by Ali Abbasi (‘Shelley’), scripted by himself, Isabella Eklöf and Lindqvist. It won the Un Certain Regard award at Cannes and was nominated for an Oscar in the Best Makeup and Hairstyling category.
Both ‘Let me in’ and ‘Border’ are good examples of metaphorical terrorin which fantastic and supernatural elements are used to talk about the psychology of the characters: loneliness, isolation, bullying, what is socially accepted, how personality is built… intimate stories with a leisurely pace that, however, they don’t skimp on really disturbing images.
The case of Lindqvist is especially particular, since it is not usual for a novelist to also be in charge of scripting the film adaptations of his works (and for things to turn out so well on all three occasions, we don’t even talk anymore). It turns out that Lindqvist can also boast of having taken his first steps in audiovisuals, because I had experience as a screenwriter on TV having participated in the scripts of the Swedish series ‘Reuter & Skoog’, ‘Detta har hänt’, ‘Räkfrossa’ and ‘Kommissionen’.
Apart from ‘Border’ and ‘Dejame entar’, the author has not repeated himself as a screenwriter in the medium, although his work has received new adaptations: his short stories ‘Vertical Village’, ‘Majken’ and ‘Pappersväggar’ have seen the light in short film format and there is a movie underway for ‘Handling the undead’, his second novel.