Let The Right One In

Alluding to the notion of a vampire is unable to enter a house unless invited by its owner, Let The Right One In’s title masks a much deeper story.  Exploring love between two adolescents, it taps into the coming of age genre with considerable skill.  Coupled with serene vistas of Sweden’s Stockholm, its unique allure creates a compelling atmosphere lasting until the final reel.
Shuffled between his divorced parents, twelve year old Oskar (Kare Hedebrant) feels like a lonely outcast.  Bullied and ostracised at school, his existence is brightened by the arrival of Eli (Lina Leandersson).  Glad to have the company of someone his age, their friendship develops into a surprising romance.  When a series of savage killings occur, Oskar’s curiosity about his new companion is spiked when Eli divulges her true lineage.  Revealed as a vampire, her ongoing bloodlust unexpectedly shines a new light upon their troubled souls.
Rarely does a movie successfully blend horror and romance in one enticing package.  That Let The Right One In does it very well is a testament to its quality.  With Oskar and Eli both shunned by their peers, their reliance on each other draws out issues both have tried to avoid.  Her weakness against her inbred nature versus his lack of courage against his aggressors slots in easily with the normal anxieties the journey into the teenage years bring.  These elements are impressively conveyed by the leads bringing believability and maturity to their roles without overstating the story’s occasional obvious points.
Unlike others in the ‘romantic vampire’ field, it isn’t afraid in showing the bloody ferocity driving these beings.  Even though most of the horror is implied, the aftermath of Eli’s rampages starkly reminds of the beast living within her innocent shell.  That Oskar still accepts and values her companionship shows the fluid nature of friendship can form the unlikeliest of alliances.  Capturing a bleak snowy Swedish landscape, Director Tomas Alfredson utilises its background to his advantage by mirroring its harshness against the strange world his characters inhabit.
Drawing out genuine intensity from a fine cast whilst juggling a myriad of complex themes, Let The Right One In is remarkably effective.  Elegant in its love story but disturbing in its horror, this is a great genre film the like of which should be made more often.
Rating out of 10:  8

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