Let the Right One In
(Låt den Rätte Komma In)

let the right one in

Let the Right One In (Låt den Rätte Komma In)
Made in: Sweden
Language: Swedish
Director: Tomas Alfredson
Starring: Kåre Hedebrant, Lina Leandersson, Elif Ceylan, Karin Bergquist, Per Ragnar, Patrik Rydmark, Mikael Rahm, Ika Nord, Peter Carlberg
Year: 2008

Based on the novel of the same title by John Ajvide Lindqvist.

Synopsis: The year is 1982. Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant) is a quiet, highly intelligent, but lonely twelve year-old boy who lives with his mother (Karin Bergquist) in Blackeberg, a suburb of Stockholm. At school, he is repeatedly bullied by a sadistic little sh*t named Conny (Patrik Rydmark).

One evening, Oskar meets an odd, pale-skinned girl named Eli (Lina Leandersson). Eli is about Oskar's age, and has moved into the apartment next to his. She is looked after by an older man named Håkan (Per Ragnar), who avoids socializing with the neighbors.

Eli turns out to be a vampire, and Håkan cares for her by murdering unsuspecting victims, slashing their throats, and draining their blood.

Eli eventually befriends Oskar, and gives him advice on how to stand up to the bullies. The two develop a close bond, but their relationship becomes complicated not just because of the emotional turbulence of adolescence, but because of Eli's recurring bloodthirst (which leaves an ever increasing body count).

The Good: Let the Right One In is an intelligent, emotionally moving thriller. There is nothing pretentious or self-indulgent about it.

With minimal special effects, the strength is in the performances of the actors and Tomas Alfredson's ability to tell the story through pictures rather than dialogue.

There are some truly frightening moments, but none of the scares are cheap. The story contains most of the hallmarks of vampire mythology (drinking blood, staying out of sunlight, having to be invited before coming into your home, etc), but the story unfolds in a way that sets it apart from most vampire movie incarnations.

Let the Right One In is a very well-made, realistic-looking film that does a good job blending horror, drama, romance, and even humor while maintaining a consistent, overall tone.

The Bad: Although director Tomas Alfredson has stated that the film was not meant to be a social commentary, the great effort taken to capture the look and feel of the story's setting (1982) made it seem as though it might have been. This might make the film seem ambiguous when it's not trying to.

However, I will say that the few shots that touch upon Eli's origin aren't very clear.

And although my last point has nothing to do with the film, I groaned when I found out that Hollywood is planning on doing a remake.

Who would like this film: Let the Right One In is for you if you're a fan of foreign films, in the mood for a good horror movie, and enjoy the vampire genre.

The thrills are solid, and the coming-of-age element is handled very well. The pacing is slow overall, but the intense moments are on par with anything you'd expect from a scary movie.

The violence isn't too far over the top, but it isn't for the faint of heart, either. This is by no means a slasher flick, but the killing scenes will stick with you. This is a film that will draw you in emotionally, but be warned that it is quite unsettling as well.

(3 out of 4 stars)

Review written by: Joe Yang

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