Childhood romances are supposed to be special, especially when your first romance is with a vampire. Tomas Alfredson’s Let the Right One In (2008) is a slow build horror classic that creatively tells a vampire story. It was a horror movie that I was quite fond of due to its cinematography and setting. Our female main character is much different from the typical vampire, which creates a universe much worth diving into.
Twelve-year-old Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant) is a victim of bullying at school. He has a knife that he fondles with, daydreaming of how he would get his revenge. One evening while outside in the courtyard he meets his new neighbor, a girl named Eli (Lina Leandersson). At first, it seems like the two aren’t going to become friends, but Eli has a change of heart and the two develop a friendship. Eli is a peculiar girl though; she only comes around at night and in the dead of winter she doesn’t wear a coat outside. Eli is a vampire, and the man posing as her father tries to kill victims and bring their blood back to Eli. Oskar and Eli’s friendship continues to grow and Eli encourages Oskar to stand up to his bullies. Oskar is faced with dealing with his oppressors, all while his feelings for Eli continue to deepen.
Let the Right One In is a work of art. I enjoyed the slow storytelling and great detail. The film has a quiet feel to it which emits looming darkness. It isn’t a gorefest horror movie, every kill is shot with a sense of sophistication. The setting of the middle of winter also contributes to the horror in the film; it’s dark, cold and the unknown is wandering in the never-ending snow. Anything can happen to you when there’s a vampire and a murder roaming about.
Eli is a kind vampire to those she cares about. Don’t get me wrong, she’s blood-thirsty, but she cares deeply for Oskar. She’s very insightful as well in some of her notes that she leaves for Oskar. She’s a great female character to examine: she doesn’t come off as terrifying but she is dangerous, she carries herself with a dignity that is aged beyond her appearance, and although she’s a vampire her regard for Oskar makes you care about her and see her as more than just a monster.
I give Let the Right One In high praise. It tells a compelling story that you can easily escape. The feature is visually stunning and has two main characters worth investing in. This is a movie that requires all of your attention but once you’re involved it’s hard to get drawn away from it. It’s a nice break away from the lust-filled vampires we’re used to and provides us with a more innocent romance between vampire and human. So if your next-door neighbor happens to be a vampire you have two options: move or take the chance and befriend them, the choice is yours.