“I’m twelve, but I’ve been twelve for a long time”
Let The Right One In is a Swedish adaptation of John Ajvide Lindqvist’s excellent novel of the same name. Made in 2008 with a screenplay by Lindqvist himself & respectfully directed by Tomas Alfredson, Let The Right One in is a faithful & wonderful adaptation of the book. In the current climate of woeful vampire movies (The Twilight saga) & awful TV shows (True Blood) Let The Right One In stands out as a vampire tale worth watching.
Let The Right One In is the story of the relationship between Oskar, a 12yr old boy who is bullied daily in & out of school & Eli the young girl who moves in next door to Oskar. The two meet for the first time in the communal play area for the apartments & Eli tells Oskar that they can never be friends. Despite this, over time they become good friends. During this time Eli encourages Oskar to stand up for himself. It’s during this time that the man Eli lives, with who Oskar assumes is Eli’s father, Hakan is caught trying to obtain blood for Eli. So as to avoid being recognised & save Eli, Hakan pours acid over his face & is hospitalised. Eli goes to the hospital, scales the wall & after Hakan opens the window Eli feeds on him before Hakan falls to his death. All alone, Eli goes to Oskar, hoping Oskar can accept what she is & help her.
Let The Right One In is a breath of fresh air as far as the vampire genre is concerned. It expands on themes touched on by films like Interview With A Vampire & Near Dark. Eli has lived for a long time, yet she is still a 12yr old girl. She isn’t an adult trapped in a child’s body, she is simply a 12yr old girl with a dark secret. She still thinks & acts as a typical 12yr old would. This makes the dynamic between her & Oskar so intense. Let The Right One In is a wonderful film but I have one issue with this movie. This hurts me to say but the American remake Let Me In is a better film. That last sentence pretty much goes against everything I hold dear & true in cinema. As a rule I dislike remakes, especially American remakes of Asian or European classics. The Ring, The Grudge, Quarantine, Dark Water, Shutter, the list goes on & on are all inferior remakes of great movies. But Let Me In bucks that trend. As a warning there are minor spoilers coming up. Let Me In remains essentially faithful to Lindqvist’s book. Oskar becomes Owen & Eli becomes Abby. It leaves out the gender ambiguity of Eli & concentrates on the relationship between the two protagonists. I personally thought that as good as Kare Hedebrant (Oskar) & Lina Leandersson (Eli) were, & they were excellent in their respective roles. Kodi Smit McPhee (Owen) & Chloe Grace Moretz (Abby) were just amazing, they really managed to make you feel for these two damaged personalities. Let Me In just seemed a more personal movie than Let The Right One In.
Let The Right One In is a great piece of cinema, one that everyone should see. If possible it should be seen before Let Me In, but either way both films deserve your attention. A wonderful story, beautifully acted & well-directed. I highly recommend everyone to see this movie.