Cult Labs

Go Back   Cult Labs > Blogs > Philleh

Rate this Entry

Let the Right One In (2008)

Submit "Let the Right One In (2008)" to Share On Facebook Submit "Let the Right One In (2008)" to Share via Twitter Submit "Let the Right One In (2008)" to Share With StumbleUpon
Posted 19th August 2009 at 09:20 AM by Philleh

Let the Right One In (2008)

Stockholm, 1982. Oskar, a bullied twelve-year-old, dreams of getting revenge on the classmates who terrorise him. One night he meets his new neighbour, Eli, outside their apartment block. She’s his age, more or less, and a friendship blossoms as they continue to meet up on the jungle gym at night. With the arrival of Eli and her guardian, Håkan, comes news of a death in a near-by suburb, the boy was found hanging upside down from a tree, and the murderer had attempted to drain his blood.

As the two youths grow closer, Eli discovers that Oskar is being bullied and urges him to stand up for himself and fight back. Oskar also learns a secret about Eli and Håkan, she needs blood in order to survive and he is not her guardian, but her servant. As the locals grow weary of the growing number of attacks in the area and begin to launch their suspicion on the new arrivals, Oskar too has reason to be afraid; a violent older brother is out for revenge after Oskar takes Eli’s advise and stands up for himself against his tormentor.

An unfortunate series of events lead to more deaths and the two youths are left to fend for themselves from angry locals and angrier bullies…

Tomas Alfredson’s Let the Right One In is a near perfect movie, it’s warm, charming, engaging but at the same time cold, brutal and unsettling. It throws you threw an emotional and perplexing ringer that you come out of feeling changed. That’s not to say you’ll come out feeling warm and glowing from the films charming and original love story, but perhaps that of guilt and disgust for the implied paedophilia in the movie? Those who have read the book will possibly feel this most as it’s explicitly stated in the book that Håkan is a pedophile.

That’s not to say that those with rose-tinted vision won’t see the tragedy in Håkan and Eli’s story; was he just like Oskar once? Only to have aged where Eli has stayed forever young, having to grow old yet have his feelings for her remain as strong now as when he was a youth? This is the beauty of John Ajvide Lindqvist’s adaptation of his original novel; he’s realized the dramatic potential. In taming the source he has created something equally refreshing and the maturity raises the movie to another level.

That’s not to say that he’s tamed his beast too much, as the movie still has teeth. The treatment of Oskar by the hands of the bullies is gut-wrenching at times; watching as he’s repeatedly whipped by a gang is as heartbreaking as it is infuriating. You want these boys to suffer, but by the time the climax arrives you realize that boys will always be boys, and is the fate that befalls them really justified?

And that’s where the beauty lies in this beast, the honesty in its confrontation. Is Oskar really that loveable? He has a collection of horrifying crimes in a scrapbook and dreams of stabbing those who wrong him; his innocent as snow looks belie the darkness that lays dormant inside him. Where as Eli, the polar opposite, a dark, blood hungry monster has a truly innocent centre that she will only reveal to Oskar; the scenes in which she endures physical injuries to either impress or prove herself too him are as equally heartbreaking as seeing Oskar getting bullied. The fact that these two leads were actually twelve years old at the time is also remarkable. They give intelligent and heartfelt performances that would make fellow actors twice their age envious.

Let the Right One In also boasts stunning cinematography, an unsettling, yet hauntingly beautiful, score and a real sense of period placement that helps transport the viewer into Oskar and Eli’s world. In fact there are enough layers to this movie that one viewing simply isn’t enough, the more you watch it the more you realize what you missed on first viewing. It’s not until the fourth or fifth viewing that other aspects of the characters, as well as the story, make themselves apparent; not to mention other such subtleties that can be easily missed on the first few viewings.

The thought of the upcoming re-make from Matt Reeve’s is terrifying; why has the man who wrote Under Siege 2: Dark Territory and directed monster-mash schlocker Cloverfield been appointed as the best man to adapted a love story between two twelve yeas olds, one of whom is a two hundred-year-old vampire? The mind boggles, but as long as he keeps Steven Seagal away, and the first person camera views, I will be willing to see what he does with such powerful material.

I’m willing to bet it’ll turn out like Twilight: On Snow with all ‘adult’ material replaced with slow-motion shots of leather clad vampire kids with fringes down to their nose, and all hints at the characters sexual ambiguity will be cleared up along with all the homosexual tones. Essentially the removal of all material that elevates the original over current vampire related films. Prove me wrong Matt Reeves… please!

Directed by: Tomas Alfredson

Written by: John Ajvide Lindqvist

Oskar – Kåre Hedebrant
Eli – Lina Leandersson
Håkan – Per Ragnar
Posted in Reviews
Views 2442 Comments 4 Edit Tags Email Blog Entry
« Antichrist (2009)     Main     Grace (2009) »
Total Comments 4


  1. Old Comment
    Kyle's Avatar
    great review again! i loved this film
    Comment with Quote permalink
    Posted 19th August 2009 at 07:17 PM by Kyle Kyle is offline
  2. Old Comment
    Agreed, great film especially coming out of Sweden! Just wish the subs on our DVD/Blu-ray release was treated with that much respect! Don't get me started on that remake, still pissed that's happening!
    Comment with Quote permalink
    Posted 19th August 2009 at 07:56 PM by xxsic4slipknotxx xxsic4slipknotxx is offline
  3. Old Comment
    It's an amazing movie.The book is fantastic too.I hope in my heart of hearts that the remake never ****ing happens!!!
    I may be forced to do this to the directors
    Comment with Quote permalink
    Posted 20th August 2009 at 10:27 AM by deadcellsociety deadcellsociety is offline
  4. Old Comment
    Philleh's Avatar
    We lucked out in the UK, Momentum went with the correct subtitles and not the dodgy one that the US received from Magnolia!

    The book is indeed fantastic, i've just ordered his second novel 'Handling the Dead' which is by all account just as good! I believe it's also being adapted for the big screen, by the same team behind Let the Right One In.

    Now there's something to actually look forward to! ha.

    Thanks for reading ya'll.
    Comment with Quote permalink
    Posted 21st August 2009 at 08:47 AM by Philleh Philleh is offline
Post a Comment Post a Comment
Total Trackbacks 0


Our goal is to keep Cult Labs friendly. If you feel discouraged from posting by certain members' behaviour then you can e-mail us in complete confidence.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2023, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.0 PL2
All forum posts are contributed by members of the site; Cult Labs cannot take responsibility for all content posted on the site. If you have an issue with content posted on the site please click the 'report post' button.
Copyright © 2014 Cult Laboratories Ltd. All rights reserved.