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Let the Right One In

You might have noticed that this film is very high up on my favourites list, and today I thought I would explain why I've put it here and why it means so much to me.

The film's tag line best describes the basic outline of this film, and if I remember rightly, it goes like this:

Oskar (Kare Hadebrant), and overlooked and bullied boy, finds love and revenge through Eli (Lina Leandersson), a beautiful but peculiar girl who only comes out at night...


I have no idea where to begin, but perhaps the most striking thing for me was every aspect of the writing. This film tackled some very dark subjects, including paedophilia and gender identity within children, yet no matter how bleak this film got, every character, regardless of their significance, was extremely tragic in their own individual way. This includes Hakan (Per Ragnar) whose relationship with Eli is an extremely interesting dynamic, and even though he loves her in a romantic way, we never get the sense that he wishes to violate or harm her in anyway, and the sacrifices he makes for Eli demonstrate his perpetual devotion to her. It's thought provoking, not because we want to condone paedophilia after seeing it, but because it's not afraid to say what it wants to, and this is perhaps why foreign cinema is heavily admired, because they're not afraid of offending anyone, or perhaps it's because their citizens expect their films to tackle a broad spectrum of issues, nevertheless, the end result is almost always interesting, especially in this film. Also, this is how I'd describe more or less every relationship that is explored in this film though, beautifully tragic, or bitter sweet, in one way or another.

The film's main protagonists, Oskar and Eli, are perhaps the greatest written pre-pubescent characters to have been implemented into any film. They feel so so real, and everyone can identify with their struggles, for example, when we see Oskar imagining and acting out what he would do against his tormentors, you can't help but pity him, for we've all felt excluded at one point or another during our childhoods, and we've felt hopelessly frustrated and dismayed at it. I'm not saying we would all imagine ourselves stabbing a 12 year old kid, but you can identify with his struggles massively, and with his absent father and distant mother alongside a desolate environment, a sense of isolation and detachment is only emphasised massively, that only contributes to our feelings of pity towards Oskar. Eli is also an extremely fascinating character, who we can never quite figure out in regards to her feelings towards Oskar. It's quite possible that she did truly love him, and wanted him to be with him forever (the books support this theory) however, it's also just as possible that Eli was manipulating Oskar right from that start and intends to make him her next "Hakan" who himself is a perfect foreshadowing of what possibly awaits Oskar should he stay with Eli. I like to think the first one is the most probable (the book's follow up, Let the Old Dreams Die, supports this theory) yet evidence can also be gathered for the other theory, and I like that the ending is left open to interpretation, with a beautiful ending being made possible, as well a sinister one, because this reflects the overall tone of the film magnificently, this film is dark and sinister, yet it remains beautiful at every turn, and I admire the ending staying true to this.

The acting is superb as well. Lina Leandersson and Kare Hadebrant were magnificent in developing an awkward, childlike romance, never knowing quite where to look, or putting on a tough exterior to conceal their true natures, it's brilliant, and they do share a chemistry, and their romance feels so authentic, and the dialogue between the two is superb throughout, and executed with the correct amount of subtlety and emotion. The rest of the cast are great too, not quite as good as the leads, but they extremely proficient and professional, and they allow us to view them all as tragic figures.

The direction is astounding as well, Tomas Alfredson was terrific. He manages to create quick, violent scenes that are horrific to witness, and there are a few of these. Yet he manages to direct every other scene that doesn't involve violence with an equal amount of skill and effectiveness, we are always invested in what is going on, and even tedious scenes like watching snow fall become so mesmerising, poignant, and captivating. As a side note, Eli's constant craving for blood is enchained by the mise-en-scene; the colour red is visible in almost every scene.

And the soundtrack, it should have been Oscar nominated, I say that without any hesitation because it was sensational and one of the most powerful soundtracks ever made, and nothing like it has ever been used in a horror film. But that was intentional, Tomas Alfredson instructed the composer, Johan Soderqvist to create something that was hopeful and romantic, and his work went on to be performed by The Slovak National Symphony Orchestra, having previously done so for another Swedish vampire film, called Frostbitten. Here's the theme, because i'm probably not explaining this very well


It failed to be completely faithful to the novel, and so some content was omitted, or it was only implied. A major character in the book was also completely excluded, but it doesn't matter, for everything worked regardless, and having the author of the original novel, John Ajvide Lindqvist, write the screenplay was by the most correct decision they possibly could have made, and it's a shame that this doesn't happen more often.


This Swedish, BAFTA nominated vampire film, is without a shadow of a doubt one of the greatest horror films ever made, in fact, it's one of the greatest films ever made regardless of country of origin, or whatever genre it conforms to. This is what a vampire love story should have been, and if Twilight left you de-sensitised, then this film we re-awaken all your passions for these blood suckers. But for god sake MM, do not, I repeat, do not watch Let Me In, before you watch this!

Easiest decision I've ever made: