Swedish vampire film, “Let The Right One In” is the kind of movie that will appeal as much to hardened horror fans, as it will to discerning viewers seeking stimulating entertainment.
Set in 1981, in grim snowy Stockholm, the film is about the friendship between two lonely 12-year-olds. Oskar is a quiet boy whose parents have separated and neither seems to want him. He spends most of his time alone, and at school he’s constantly bullied by the older kids. One night he meets a girl name Eli, who as it turns out lives in the flat next door. She’s an odd little girl with a mop of dark hair and big eyes. She’s a little scruffy, and she smells weird, and she goes without a coat or shoes in the snow. Oskar and Eli are melancholy loners who are drawn to each other. By the time Oskar realizes Eli may be a vampire, it doesn’t matter anymore. He could do with a friend. In fact he asks if she will be his girlfriend too. Ultimately they look out for each other, protecting one another from danger and from bullies.
“Let The Right One In” is not your typical vampire film, there are some very funny moments that seem to show up quite spontaneously, and on another level it’s really about the friendship or even a quiet romance between these gloomy kids. Take away the fact that one of them is a vampire, and you’ll notice it’s a dark character study of lonely children and the gruesome things they can do without any apparent emotion. Much like Larry Clark’s excellent but shocking films “Kids” and “Bully”.
However, this one IS a vampire film, and there are some thrilling horror scenes for those seeking exactly that. My favorite is one in which a half-dozen terrified house cats attack a suspicious guest. There’s also the scene in which Oskar first notices there’s something seriously strange about Eli – a scene in which he cuts his hand to share his blood with hers. The camera freezes in anticipation of how she’ll react to the sight of his bleeding hand. Let’s just say it’s a chilling scene, fantastic even.
“Let The Right One In” works also because it’s shot dramatically in the bleak bitter cold using muted colors. Both children perform remarkably and in the end you find yourself conflicted over your feelings for them.
A rare horror film that doesn’t go just for cheap scares, this one makes you think and feel in equal measure. See if you can find a copy of this film, “Let The Right One In” on DVD at your local video library. I think it’ll be a weekend well spent.
Contributed by Rajeev Masand