Let the Right One In

Let the Right One In is currently available on instant Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Let the Right One In (2008) – Rated R

“Twelve-year-old Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant), the constant target of bullies, spends his time plotting revenge and collecting news items about the grisly murders plaguing his town. But things change when he meets a new girl named Eli (Lina Leandersson), a misfit vampire who steals his heart. As a serial killer continues to prey on teen boys in their small Swedish village, Eli helps Oskar find the courage to stand up to his tormenters.”

“Just so you know, I can’t be your friend.”

“I’m twelve. But I’ve been twelve for a long time. “

Tomas Alfredson is a superb actor’s director. He gets fantastic performances out of everyone in the film. Alfredson would go on to direct Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy coaxing an Oscar-nominated performance out of Gary Oldman and great supporting performances from Benedict Cumberbatch, Mark Strong, John Hurt and Tom Hardy

John Ajvide Lindqvist insisted on adapting the script from his own novel. He did a marvelous job of paring away extraneous characters and subplots and distilling the heart of Let the Right One In. That is the story of Oskar and his wonderful new friend and how she teaches him how to deal with bullies. The vampirism is very much downplayed.

Let the Right One In would not have succeeded unless the leads of Oskar and Eli were well cast. Casting took a year and the two actors picked were each eleven years of age. Kare Hedebrant is charming, scared and vulnerable as Oskar. Lina Leandersson is properly sensitive, vicious, aloof, and enigmatic as Eli.

The omnipresent snow in Sweden is practically a character in the film. The endlessly similar brick apartment buildings are quite depressing and the winter does nothing to liven them up. The utilitarian nature of the school is similarly depressing.

Let the Right One In is lyrical and haunting. The leads are engaging and direction is assured. This is a superb film about friendship, growing up and bullying – it just happens to have a vampire in it.

Remake-itis: The newly risen from the dead Hammer films remade this as Let Me In in 2010. While the remake of Let the Right One In does not quite live up to the original, it is still a wonderful, stylish vampire movie.