Let the Right One In
You’ve got a little something on your face …

Golden Mug


Best Picture
Best Director (Tomas Alfredson)

Theatrical Release Date: 01/26/2008 (Sweden), 11/21/2008 (USA)
Director: Tomas Alfredson
Cast: Kåre Hedebrant, Lina Leandersson

When it was decided that I would be the one to review “Twilight”, I decided to also review this film, as they are similar in basic subject matter. Both films chronicle the relationship between a young mortal and a vampire of the same developmental age, and the chain of events set in motion by such an unlikely situation. This is certainly where the similarities end, however, as “Let the Right One In” is an artful, mood-driven foreign drama, the antithesis to the Hollywood engine that is churning out “Twilight”.

In this Swedish import, 12-year old Oskar (Hedebrant) is bullied mercilessly by other students in his class. He is a loner headed down a sadly familiar dark path until he meets Eli (Leandersson), a strange girl of his own age that moves in next door. When people start to disappear, die mysteriously, and act strangely in the quiet suburb, it doesn’t take long for Oskar to realize what Eli really is. Ultimately, he is forced to choose between his own depressing life and the frightening yet tempting alternative now presented to him.

This film is very well executed. The acting is sparse but powerful, particularly by Hedebrant and Leandersson, who manage to act like children but perform with the poise of professional actors. The cinematography is beautiful, and the special effects are simple but powerful, proof that a big budget does not make a superior movie. The snowy, dark Stockholm landscape lends to the eerie, dark tone of the film (where else would a vampire have a darker complexion than the people around her?), and the camera angles are fresh and interesting. Some scenes, such as Eli’s entrance into Oskar’s house and a scene by a pool near the end, include some of the most interesting shots I have seen in ages. The film does not pull any punches, and everything rings true.

There is a level of horror to this film, but it is more of a drama, and in some ways a coming-of age-film. Don’t go to see it looking for lots of gore and action. I did have one or two small issues with it- on occasion the deliberate pacing seemed downright slow, and the movie should have ended about 5 minutes earlier than it actually did. All in all, it provided some interesting twists on old themes, and is a must for horror and vampire fans that are looking for a more human take on the vampire mythos.