I enjoy watching foreign films. I’ll be the first to admit that they’ve turned me into something of a film snob, and it bugs the hell out of me when people ignore them because they’re too lazy to read the subtitles (come on people, it’s not that difficult). I hate that this kind of attitude means people are missing out on films such as Let The Right One In.
Let The Right One In (Låt den rätte komma in) is a drama/romance/horror hybrid set in 1982 Blackeburg, a small town in Stockholm, Sweden and is based on the book of the same name. It is directed by Tomas Alfredson and stars Kåre Hedebrant as Oskar, a lonely and mercilessly bullied schoolboy who forms a connection of love with the mysterious Eli, who is played by Lina Leandersson.
Let The Right One In is the story of Oskar, who is a weak and lonely child, left to fend for himself most days, both at school and at home. He is a very introverted person, who doesn’t have any friends. His mother works night shifts and his dad doesn’t live at home, meaning he has nobody to talk to and no father figure to turn to when he is in desperate need of one. When I watch it I just want to give the kid a hug and tell him that everything is okay.
Eli goes one better, she reluctantly befriends Oskar and gives him the confidence to fight back against his tormentors. The reluctance stems from the major skeleton in her closet, and that is the fact that she’s a vampire (and technically neither girl nor boy).If I was to tell you that this movie is about a mortal human who falls in love with a vampire at the start of this review, you’d probably scoff at the thought of it. And I’d completely understand why, as I think that’s the effect that Twilight has had on most people over the age of 15. Where the Twilight saga may have destroyed how you imagine the vampire, Let The Right One In should rekindle your faith. Alfredson’s film takes the representation of the vampire and does it properly. They are creepy, they burn to a crisp in the sunlight, cats lose their shit around them and they literally need to quaff buckets of blood to survive. I love the character of Eli because she stays faithful to what we all know the vampire to be. She is a bloodthirsty enigma. But she does have feelings, and even shows regret for what she does, which I think is at the least a slight redeeming character trait. And I also think that she’d easily beat the glitter out of Edward Cullen.
This little village in Stockholm is the perfect metaphor for the world around us. Sure, there are bad people and it can be a dark and lonely place a lot of the time, but the world is better when we have people around us who we can form an emotional bond with. That’s what makes the film special to me, I fully invest in the bond between audience and character, and it rekindles my faith in the world around me. Alongside the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimović and ABBA, I think that Let the Right One In is one of Sweden’s greatest exports.