Review: Let The Right One In
Tomas Alfredson’s Let The Right One In breathes new life into the vampire genre with a tale of survival and coming of age. If Twilight was the fast food of vampire films, then this is fine dining.
Directed by: Tomas Alfredson
Written by: John Ajvide Lindqvist
Starring: Kåre Hedebrant, Lina Leandersson, Per Ragnar
Released: 2008 / Genre: Horror/Drama / Country: Sweden / IMDB
Have you ever been bullied to the point that no amount of retribution is enough to make them stop? Have your parents neglected you and forgotten that you exist most of the time? Have you ever fallen in love with a girl…who happened to be a vampire? Let the Right One In explores the complex relationship between a young boy and what appears to be a young girl.
The first impression is always the most important. Oskar is working on his courage, imaging the kind of revenge he would like to get on the boys bulling him at school. With his butterfly knife in hand, it would seem this boy would have no trouble defending himself. Sadly, the numbers are against him when it comes to the bullies and he just sits there and takes it.
On a cold winter night, Oskar meets a young girl outside on the jungle gym. The girl looks to be dressed in PJ’s and isn’t wearing any socks. Apparently she’s used to this sort of thing. What Eli isn’t used to, is making friends. She starts to visit Oskar frequently and the two develop on bond. Oskar is used to being picked on and put down, so when a girl starts paying attention to him he quickly falls for her.
What Oskar doesn’t understand is that Eli isn’t human. She must kill humans in order to survive, draining the blood from their bodies. She doesn’t always do it herself because she has a man who looks after her. Hakan does the dirty work. He will go out in the dead of night and look for the next victim for Eli to feed upon. There’s a great sense that Hakan is really the villain here, but if you look at Eli as the protagonist in this story, the killing he is doing is essential to her survival.
Eli and Oskar must discover what their bond means to each other. Whether it is strong enough for Oskar to handle Eli’s greatest secret. If Oskar can’t defend himself from the kids at school, how could he ever manage to protect Eli?
Thomas Alfredson does an incredible job with the story. Adapting the story from Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist, Alfredson makes it hard to believe the story was passed over for film adaptations. Let the Right One In has excellent pacing, with the only downfall being the attention given to the neighbors. I never really cared for any of those characters or the plight they were put into and their inclusion to the only mis-step in a fine film.
Let the Right One In isn’t your typical horror film. While it features its fair share of blood and violence, it also has a young romance between two unlikely creatures. This is how a vampire love story should be done. Classic movies always have scenes you remember from them. I will never forget that late evening by the school pool or the school ice skating function. ‘Let the Right One In’ elevates itself from being just another horror film and should be regarded in the same class as other horror greats that transcended the genre.
This review is part of 31 Days of Horror: