Let the Right One In (2008)
Written By: AR
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Director(s): Tomas Alfredson
Writers(s): John Ajvide Lindqvist
Producer(s): Carl Molinder, John Nordling
Date Released: December 12, 2008
Kåre Hedebrant – Oskar
Lina Leandersson – Eli
Per Ragnar – Håkan
Henrik Dahl – Erik
Karin Bergquist – Yvonne
Peter Carlberg – Lacke
Ika Nord – Virginia
Mikael Rahm – Jocke
Rating = 3/5 Graves
***May contain some spoilers***
Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant), tired from getting bullied by his peers, is dreaming of ways on how he can fight back. He meets his new neighbor, Eli (Lina Leandersson), who teaches him to have confidence in himself and to learn how to fight back. Meanwhile, cases of puzzling deaths where corpses are hung upside down and bled to death, keep increasing in the neighboring towns. As the two children grow closer, Oskar discovers Eli’s true nature and in turn, learns something about himself and the true nature of humanity.
The two-hour movie uses gore sparingly but effectively. Eli’s father tricks a passerby, smothers him with a drug, then hangs the victim upside down so he could slit his neck and draw blood from him. The blood dripping from the victim is explicitly shown. When her father fails to get the blood necessary for her to feed, Eli goes out herself and attacks a neighbor. Using her innocent stature, she lures the man to help her then lunges for his neck, leaving her whole face and shirt bloodstained. Another failed killing attempt leads to Eli’s father dousing his face with acid to make him unrecognizable. Half of his face is shown to be burnt with the use of excellent prosthetic make-up. At another scene, Oskar dares Eli to enter a vicinity without being asked to come in, a well-known trait that a vampire is unable to do. She is able to enter the room but within seconds, blood pours out from her every crevice: eyes, scalp, nose, ears, etc. At the pivotal scene, Eli attacks Oskar’s bullies, dismembering their heads and arms in the process.
The Grave Review
Let the Right One In (2008) is delightfully peculiar for a horror movie. You might even say it could be categorized as a romantic one. Amidst the elements of terror and gore lies the sweet and adorable connection between Oskar and Eli. They are both outcasts in this world, Oskar who is often bullied by his peers, and Eli on account of being a vampire who feeds on the blood of other human beings. Yet in spite all of that, they manage to relate and form an unbreakable attachment with each other.
Kåre Hedebrant and Lina Leandersson are excellent leads in the movie. Their interactions are exceptionally natural and give an authentic quality to the story. The set of supporting characters are also all charmingly human. Especially Per Ragnar as Håkan, the father who is just trying to deal with the strangely particular hand he’s been given. He is obviously unfamiliar and awkward at carrying out the murders but he still endeavors to adapt to the circumstances and carry it out for the sake of his offspring. Virginia or Ginia, the one attacked by Eli, knows she does not want to live as a vampire and decides to take her own life by exposing herself to sunlight. Eli remains sweet for a vampire, entreating Oskar to realize that she only kills because she has to, not that she wants to.
The characters’ stories reveal the difficult choices we make because of our circumstances, contrasted with the disturbing actions of the bullies who perpetuate malicious acts and the bystanders who chose to do nothing. The wide shots of the film allow the action to play out unhurriedly, providing a more realistic and frightening feel as the scene unravels. Subtle and intelligent, Let the Right One In (2008) explores what it means for a vampire to be human. A fresh take on the vampire genre, it shines a new light on what truly defines a monster. It is disturbing, not in the way one might apparently think of a vampire movie, but because it perceives and reveals the hidden and frightening depths of society.
For that reason, Grave Reviews gives Let the Right One In (2008) three graves out of five graves.
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