Let The Right One In Film Rview
Directed by Tomas Alfredson
Written by John Ajvide Lindqvist
Starring Kare Hedebrant, Lina Leandersson and Per Ragnar
Oskar is a young boy living in a suburban area of a Swedish town. He is befriends a strange young girl who moves in opposite to him. Oskar is bullied at school, and the friendship that he develops with the young girl helps him to overcome his insecurities. But the young girl is hiding a dark secret that threatens to split the young friends or pull them even closer.
The year is 1982 and Oskar is a young boy living in a suburban area of Blackeberg in Sweden. Oskar is an intelligent loner who is bullied by a small group of boys in his class at school on a regular basis. He dreams of being able to exact revenge upon them, but does not have the courage to do so on his own.
One evening Oskar meets a pretty but dishevelled looking young girl who has moved in opposite to him with a man he assumes to be her father. The girl's name is Eli.
Eli's 'father' abducts a young man in a wood close by and gasses him. He strings him up and slits his throat to drain and collect the blood from his still alive body. During the act he is interrupted and has to leave the man hanging from the tree and return to the flat and Eli empty handed. This means that Eli has to feed herself and after luring one of the locals to her she attacks him and feeds, she is a Vampire. Eli breaks the neck of the man she has attacked to ensure that he does not turn.
As the story unfolds, the relationship between Oskar and Eli develops and Oskar discovers the truth about his new best friend. This causes problems in the rest of his world but the confidence that has been missing from his being for so long has been ignited and nothing that happens can take that away.
Having read the same titled novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist it would be wrong to say that this film covers all the bases that the book does. There are some elements of the story that have been missed out to ensure that the film is not 4 hours long and that can be said of many book to screen conversions. But all the important characters and plot lines are there.
The relationship that Oskar has with Eli is innocent and powerful, a 12 year old boy falls in love with a pretty, interesting and inspiring young girl, she just happens to be a Vampire. Oppositely, Eli, even though she has been 12 for about 200 years, is incredibly lonely and has met someone of her own age who she can eventually be herself around. On screen this friendship is sensitively and beautifully displayed and developed as the film unfolds. We encounter the love that Oskar's mum has for him and the fear that she has every time her little boy goes out of the door. Opposed to this we are shown the love that Oskar has for a father that so wants to love his son back in the same way but is a slave to alcohol and all of the trappings that go with it.
Blackberg and it's surrounding areas are always covered in a thick layer of white snow and everywhere we look we are reminded of the cold and bleakness of Oskar's world, one in which Eli is the only warmth that loves him back in the way that he needs.
The story contains all of the correct Vampire rhetoric we that we come to expect in this genre of film, blood, fear of sunlight, strength, speed, old age. The attacks are vicious, swift and deadly, but they are done through necessity not because she can. In this we film we are introduced to the lonely existence of a child who is a Vampire who has to survive. In Oskar she finds someone who understands what and who she is and in return she helps Oskar to become the person that he could never be without her.
A wonderfully told story, magically converted to the big screen. Again a triumph for Scandinavian film over Hollywood. If you are won over by this film I urge you to read the book. And don't be turned off by the Hollywood version Let Me In , it doesn't quite reach the highs of the original but is a good film in it's own right.