I typically do not subscribe to films with the horror element. Zombies, vampires, and serial killers have become (or maybe always were) campy in my opinion. That is why when I first heard of a Swedish film with subtitles about a bullied boy who develops a friendship with a vampire child I was less than interested. But this movie surprised me, it really has a lot of heart (and gore to match).
I decided to watch this film based heavily on a short clip I saw where a man was draining an upside-down teenagers blood and the high pedigree of similar foreign films. Plus it’s on Netflix, so win-win. According to Wiki, Let the Right One In is a 2008 Swedish romantic horror film directed by Tomas Alfredson. Based on the 2004 novel of the same title by John Ajvide Lindqvist, who also wrote the screenplay, the film tells the story of a bullied 12-year-old boy who develops a friendship with a vampire child in Blackeberg, a suburb of Stockholm, in the early 1980s.
Unlike the book, which I have never read, director Tomas Alfredson opted to focus more on the relationship between Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant) and vampire Eli (Lina Leandersson, voice: Elif Ceylan) rather than the gore elements for the film. Which was a superb move. Oskar and Eli both are misunderstood youths; whom, other than one being a vampire, are similar. Oskar dreams of getting revenge against his peers that bully him. And not punch in the face revenge, but rather the type that ends in pints of pooling blood. Eli being a vampire relies on blood, but it is evident she does not choose murder but instead requires it. The two befriend each other in a dark and lonely playground in front of their adjacent apartments.
As the film progresses Oskar slowly learns Eli’s true identity and unlike most is drawn to her even more. This innocent but very un-innocent love budding between the two is the glue to an otherwise typical vampire film. Without ruining the film for you I will say that he looks beyond her differences in search of a friend and companion, and she repays him tenfold.
Let The Right One In, or Låt den Rätte Komma In, proves once again that foreign films have the most heart. I don’t know what it is about American cinema right now (yes I do, money), but aside from the independents and small budget pictures beautiful stories have been all but removed from the medium. An American version, Let Me In, starring the young starlet rising to huge fame Chloe Moretz is also out there but pales in comparison to the Swedish film. For those with Netflix click here to enjoy this beautiful macabre love story now.