Let the Right One In

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.

About scarina

I like scary movies a little too much. I thought I'd share my obsession with you.
This entry was posted in 21st century, foreign, vampires and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Let the Right One In

  1. backlashcomix says:

    I still haven’t watch this one, I started Let Me In, remembered that it was based on a foreign film and then immediately turned it off. Hollywood rarely remakes a film better than the original, and I hate it when I find a great foreign movie, get half way in, and then realize that I’ve already seen some lame version of it featuring a pop rock soundtrack and a 12A certificate.

    • scarina says:

      I can deal with some remakes, even like some horror remakes, but I rarely like a remake of a foreign film. Hollywood always seems to miss the point of the original or change the message and that bugs me. There’s also the cultural differences that Hollywood steamrolls over. I like J-horror because the ghosts are so vengeful and can’t be appeased and American remakes always seem to miss that.

  2. backlashcomix says:

    One I hated was the remake of the Spanish Abre Los Ojos which they turned into that terrible Tom Cruise movie Vanilla Sky. What were previously touching and well crafted moments of emotional turmoil instantly became more cheesy than a stuffed crust pizza. They just steamroll over them don’t they? Throw some pop rock over the top and chuck in a few stars to sell it and then shit it out along with the rest of the garbage. Done. Love from Hollywood.

  3. Crypticpsych says:

    From what I’ve heard (I haven’t watched my copy yet), Let Me In is basically a carbon copy of Let the Right One In. As such, the prevailing wisdom I’ve heard is “Of course it’s good….but why was it necessary when all it’s doing is exactly the same thing the original movie did?”.

    Me, I love the movie. After watching it, I too made sure to get the book (though I haven’t read it yet and am dying to). I had to jump through some hoops though to make sure I got one titled Let the Right One In and not Let Me In though…I’m a stickler for things like that.

    I honestly think that films that are usually picked up by Magnet (like this one and many others over the last few years were…Magnet stuff, for the record, is also often available on Netflix Instant Watch and such) are so phenomenal it raises the question of why that was their fate in the first place. This film is unique and unusual and is considered such a classic by almost anyone who has seen it…yet that’s the problem…so few have seen it. I know half the issue continues to be the folks who don’t like subtitles but at some point you have to stop catering to those people. I can settle for a movie in which there’s English dubbing so long as you release it in original language on another format but my God, they’re killing the genre by letting such deep, complex, interesting films end up in relative obscurity like this.

    • scarina says:

      It just feels so patronizing remaking a great foreign film b/c there’s this group of people whose attitude is “Movies not in English? Not on MY watch!”
      The bookstore I went to had two copies of Let the Right One In, one with a picture from the American remake and one with Eli from the original. I chose the one with Eli and it was actually 5 cents cheaper.
      I’ve noticed that Magnet’s picked up some really good films. I was watching the trailers before the movie and noting the ones I’d seen. I remember the original got a decent release in NYC but that’s because it’s NYC. But I also know that there are pockets within this country that have enough of a bohemian, intellectual crowd that would pay to see movies like this.

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