Let The Right One In


Directed by: Tomas Alfredson
Written by:John Ajvide Lindqvist
Starring: Kare Hedebrant, Lina Leandersson, Per Ragnar, Henrik Dahl, Karin Bergquist, Peter Carlberg
Released: April 23, 2009
Grade: A-

Let The Right One In is a Swedish film that has been showered with acclaim since released last year. During the recent award season, it won numerous "best foreign language film" prizes. If you check out the Internet Movie Database, you’ll realise that it has also developed a cult-like following – it is ranked 192nd on the list of all-time greatest movies.

The central character is a softly spoken 12-year-old boy named Oskar (Hedebrant). He lives with his mother in an old apartment building and largely keeps to himself. Oskar is continually bullied by a group of kids in his class at school. Each time it happens, these bullies see a quiet, emotionless look on Oskar’s face. What they don’t see… is the burning desire that he carries within to get revenge.

Standing in the snow in the courtyard outside his building, Oskar meets Eli (Leandersson), a young girl who has moved in next door. When he asks how old she is, Eli responds with "12 years old… give or take". It’s a strange answer but we soon find out why. Eli is a vampire. She looks innocent enough but she has an insatiable thirst for human blood which will never be diminished.

Eli lives with her father, Hakan (Per Ragnar) who helps protect her daughter. He sneaks out at night, finds fresh victims, and drains them of their blood. This isn’t something that he enjoys doing. He’s not a pathological serial killer. Hakan does it for the love of his daughter and will do whatever is necessary to keep her alive and happy.

It may sound like a contraction but this is a beautiful film and a creepy film. I loved the world that has been created by director Tomas Alfredson. There isn’t a lot of dialogue but the visuals are striking. You will feel the coldness and hear the silence. Alfredson obviously subscribes to the theory that "a picture paints a thousand words".

So what becomes of Oskar and Eli? I’d like you to see this film to find out for yourself. It reminded me in many ways of Pan’s Labyrinth in that it is a modern day fairy tale with some dark themes. Without a doubt, it’s one of the best foreign language releases for the year.