Sommerleigh Pollonais – Horror Head Writer
For Day 14 we look at Let the Right One In (2008). In the film Oskar, an overlooked and bullied boy, finds love and revenge through Eli, a beautiful but peculiar girl.
Calling Let The Right One In a “vampire movie” is like calling The Dark Knight a “superhero movie”. Yes, these aspects make up the foundation, but the story, directing and acting presented takes all preconceived notions of what these words represent and throws them right out the g—damn window.
Directed by Tomas Alfredson and written by John Ajvide Lindqvist (the movie is based off his novel) we open with a boy looking out a window. His name is Oskar (played by Kåre Hedebrant) and his life is a lonely one. His parents have separated and neither of them wish to keep him. He has no friends and is constantly bullied by a group of boys. He also likes hanging out at night and this is how he meets Eli (played by Lena Leandersson). Children can have this bravery in them that comes from an ignorance of death, so when Oskar asks the strange looking Eli “Are you a vampire?” and Eli answers “Yes”, Oskar’s response, a simple “oh”, is quite believable. He’s not afraid as he’s just a young boy in desperate need of companionship.
There’s an atmosphere of loneliness that fills this story from beginning to end. It’s in the cold, snowy locations of Sweden, in the almost sparse looking apartments and the lack of crowds in any of the scenes, and of course in the lives of Oskar and Eli. The director also shoots the scenes between them in a way that keeps you constantly uneasy. Eli might look like a 12-year-old but we know she is anything but, and I was constantly worried as to what she might do to the little boy who was unlucky enough to invite this vampire into his house and his life. FYI, the title of this movie is based off of vampire lore. A vampire has to be invited into a place before they can enter.
There isn’t much blood or gore in this movie either, but the film doesn’t need it. It’s all about the atmosphere and these young actors carry the weight of the serious tone like champs. The scene where the bullies try to kill Oskar by drowning him still sends chills down my spine, and of course we have the weird and deeply unsettling “relationship” between Eli and her familiar Hakan. I call it unsettling because it’s suggested Hakan is a pedophile and his desire to serve Eli comes from this. But the beauty of this film is you could remove the vampiric elements and you would still have a superbly dark “coming of age” story about two lonely children and the dark deeds kids are capable of when adults choose to leave them without supervision, guidance and love.
Yes, there’s a remake (it’s like Hollywood can’t help themselves) and to be fair, it’s not a bad one. But if you were to ask me which of the two versions you should let in, I would point you squarely to the movie that got it right the first time around.
Sommer’s Score: 8 out of 10
So are you a fan of Let the Right One In? For part 13 of 31 Days of Horror and my review of Spanish found footage zombie flick REC you can click here. And for more atmospheric, beautiful and/or chilling horror film reviews you can like and follow Redmangoreviews on Facebook here.
Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
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