Sorry for the delayed posting, it’s the super fun crazy hectic time at my day-job. I recently watched Let the Right One In and this movie’s taken hold of me. So much that I immediately went out and bought the book, which I’m devouring.
The movie is set in the 1980’s in Blackeberg, a suburb of Stockholm, Sweden. Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant) is a meek twelve-year-old who’s regularly bullied by his classmates.
He daydreams about murdering his bullies and keeps a scrapbook about murders. The kid’s kind of a powder-keg. Mostly, you feel sorry for him because he seems genuinely nice.
Oskar’s life changes when a mysterious girl, Eli (Lina Leandersson, with voice-over dubs by Elif Ceylon), moves into his apartment complex.
Oskar never sees Eli at school, in fact he only sees her at night, she can see in the dark, and kind of smells funny. Yes, Eli is actually a vampire. Eli becomes Oskar’s only friend.
Håkan (Per Ragnar), Eli’s helper, is soon caught during a botched attack on a boy. He disfigures his face with acid so no one can connect him with Eli.
Meanwhile, someone is killing teenage boys in the neighborhood. When Jocke (Mikael Rahm), a man from a group of adults that regularly frequents a local Chinese restaurant disappears, his friends believe that his death is connected to the other recent killings. This is confirmed by Gösta (Karl Robert Lindgren), a recluse and cat-hoarder who swears that he saw Jocke be attacked by a child. The grown-ups investigate the killings while Oskar stands up to his bullies.
After Virginia (Ika Nord) is attacked by Eli, her boyfriend, Lacke (Peter Carlberg), goes in search of Eli. He finds her in the apartment with the make-shift blinds covering the windows. Lacke tries to kill Eli but Oskar is hiding there and stops him. Oskar falters but Eli wakes up and he sees her killing Lacke.
Eli decides she can’t be around Oskar anymore but returns into his life when his bullies try to kill him.
I know this movie was remade in America as Let Me In but I haven’t seen it and don’t really want to see it, even if it’s a Hammer Film. Just look at what they did to the title. Let the Right One In says so much in very little space, it’s about who we let into not just out homes but also into our hearts. This movie is a vampire movie but it’s also about loneliness.
I particularly liked the modern take on the vampire mythos. Eli has to be invited into someone’s home and there are consequences if enters when she’s not invited.
She can’t go out in the sun and she needs to drink blood. Like Claudia, she needs a helper to take care of her because she’s so young. Anyone she bites can become a vampire.
An issue that I’m not sure how the American version deals with is the sexuality of the protagonists. We live in a culture that wishes young people were asexual but they’re not. I just doubt that the American version will be as straightforward as the original version in depicting how Oskar and Eli feel about each other.
There’s also the issue of Eli’s real identity. In one scene, she asks Oskar if he would love her even if she wasn’t a girl. Later, we see Eli undress and there’s a huge scar where any genitals should be. This is dealt with more in the book but I don’t want to give away spoilers. It is fitting that her name is “Eli,” as derived from “El,” a word for god. God transcends gender and so does Eli.
I see this movie as a story about two very broken people finding love and peace with each other. The ending is ambiguous and we don’t really know if Oskar will become Eli’s new helper. But I definitely feel better about Oskar being with Eli and helping her, even if it means killing, than I am with him shooting up his school. Oskar definitely has potential to do something awful.
What I really like about this movie is that this isn’t a pretty film about vampirism. Eli kills violently and we see it on-screen. It’s not just two little puncture marks, either, it’s ripping open people’s throats. I’ll take the love between Eli and Oskar any day over Edward and Bella because even though Eli is more violent than Edward, Edward is a creeper and an emotional manipulator dressed as a nice guy.
- Scarina--the authoress and editrix of this site. I like scary movies and have dedicated my free time to cataloging horror--the good, the bad, and the ugly. Sometimes there are books too.
There's film criticism, literary criticism, and humor here. I can be highbrow but there's lots of pop culture too. And feminism.
I fervently love "Twin Peaks" and wish it were a real place so I could move there. I can't list my favorite scary movies because they change depending on my mood, the season, and how much coffee I've had.
I'm an artist looking for ways to blend creepy with cute. I try to channel my childhood nightmares, my love of horror, and my experiences with sleepy paralysis.
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