Director: Tomas Alfredson
Starring: Kåre Hedebrant, Lina Leanderson, Per Ragnar, Ika Nord, Peter Carlberg
Let the Right One In is more than just a vampire story, it’s a coming of age story, about love and friendship. On the outside this could be mistaken as a horror film, but it’s far from it. Sure there are some gruesome moments, a few killings and some horrific and striking images, but beyond that it is the sweet story of two children on the verge of becoming teenagers who are lonely and desperately seeking friends.
Oskar is a twelve-year-old who is horribly bullied at school. He pushes it off, telling his mum that he slipped and cut his face. He doesn’t have any friends and is completely isolated from the people around him. One day, when fantasising about revenge and notably stabbing a tree, Eli approaches him. At first she tells him that they can’t be friends, but over time they bond. She tells him to stand up for himself and he starts taking weight training after-school.
Eli has just moved into the apartment next door to Oskar, and everything is not what is seems. The old man that has moved in with her is killing people in the local area, stringing them up and draining them of their blood.
Let the Right One In is an exploration of the point between childhood and adolescence. It’s a romance between two outcasts, a vampire and the bullied kid and the extent of their friendship. It’s a moving and sweet masterpiece with moments of terror and truly horrific images. It keeps you in the dark about what’s going on for a long time, slowly dribbling information so you can piece everything together. The two leads relationship is innocent and pure, even with the darkness and death that surrounds them.
From the poster and images online it’s easy to mistake this as a horror film, but there’s no point in watching it to be scared, it isn’t scary. Instead, you will be investing in their relationship and care about the characters.
Visually this film is dark, somehow even the white snow seems muted and dark. The tone matches this, with the intentionally slow and sombre narrative and the melancholic score acting as a foundation for every scene. It’s a beautifully constructed film that envelops you and drags you in. The performances are all excellent and believable.
Tomas Alfredson directs a captivating, moving story of youth, love and alienation. From brilliant performances, dark and gruesome moments and a stunning score, Let the Right One In is a modern classic.