Somehow only about seven theatres in America got Let the Right One In and one of them was a theatre near me – I didn’t even have to drive to LA. Halleluiah, because I wanted to see this movie very badly. I do think I’m probably in the minority of people that wanted to see Swedish language child vampire film for recreation.
Let the Right One In is not a vampire movie in the traditional sense. The vampires are not invading, they are not the devils spawn brining ruin wherever they go, or even the bored undead that just want to see a little destruction. No, this is one vampire in the persona of a twelve year old girl and how she interacts with a twelve year old boy.
Oskar is a twelve year old boy who is docile and violently bullied by his classmates, but he doesn’t let his parents know this. One night new neighbors move in and Oskar’s life changes, Eli and her father move in next door. Eli at first tries to warn Oskar away from her but before long the two forge an unexpected friendship and for the first time in his life Oskar has a real friend; the twist is that this is a friend that has to live off blood and can’t go into the daylight unless she wants to commit suicide.
This is a movie carries by child actors. A little research told me that these kids were not professional actors and didn’t ever get to read the script. They were part of a nation wide casting search that the director put on to find Oskar and Eli, and though their parents read the script the children never did. They learned their lines through having the director read to them. While I cannot fathom taking that approach myself, Tomas Alfredson made a beautifully crafted film that stands unique amongst its genre so I cannot fault him for it.
Let the Right One In is not a horror film though it contains some pretty standard horror elements. This film is a story of friendship and two souls that finally find someone that understands them – everything else to the story is secondary.
Director: Tomas Alfredson
Writer: John Ajvide Lindquist
Oskar: Kare Hedebrant
Eli: Lina Leandersson