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Film Review: Lät Den Rätte Komma In (Let The Right One In)

by Antonio Miniño on October 27, 2009

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Isn’t horror sexy? The chill down your spine, sweaty palms, a prickle in your… No people! Horror is disturbing, scary, exhilarating yes, in an insomnia inducing kind of way. I’m a big horror flick aficionado, not the campy kind, although I do love Sam Rami’s The Evil Dead and have to confess I’ve only seen the first one. But let’s get down to business; let’s get down to one of the best “Netflix Instant Watch” finds for this Halloweek …  you know the kind? When there is nothing on TV and you pop open your laptop and do a lovely genre specific search.

Eli (Lina Leandersson)

Eli (Lina Leandersson)

Lät den Rätte Komma in (Let The Right One In) is a thrilling psychotic pre-teen vampire tale based on John Ajvide Lindqvist’s novel by the same name. It follows Oskar (played with a cold and calculated yet sweet approach by Kåre Hedebrant), a 12 year old who deals with one of the biggest school burdens, bullies … and we are not talking the Glee kind who drench you with a slushie, we are talking hard-core-whip-you-with-a-rod bullies. But Oskar’s life will soon have a turn of events when his new neighbors move in. Queue in 12 year old Eli (played with great maturity by Lina Leandersson).

The two develop a unique bond that soon turns into a love-need relationship (for those of you who find even the slightest intimacy between children disturbing, I suggest Hocus Pocus). They meet at the building’s courtyard at dusk, as Eli is, well, a vampire … the void and loneliness experienced by each on their own is easily filled when they are together. Oskar’s hunger to revenge his bullies is only fed by Eli, who teaches him how to stand up for himself to great extents. When her caretaker is no longer around, she might need of Oskar’s human traits to help her feed, and here lies the question as to his loyalty and love for her.

Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant) & Eli (Lina Leandersson).

Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant) & Eli (Lina Leandersson).

Director Tomas Alfredson does a supreme job at creating and maintaining tension in the most naturalistic way possible. It is almost as if vampires and the deeds that surround this town because of them, are as normal as say, a pickpocket at the local market.  The raw lighting and haunting beauty of this town outside of Stockholm (mostly shot in Lea, Sweden to guarantee the winter frost effect) become a supporting character that mirrors the beauty of this twisted friendship and the loneliness in the short cold days.

After watching this movie, I would categorize it as more of a thriller, a dramatic-thriller even, as it is not filled with special effects or over produced sound design, but with a sophisticated screenplay (although the subtitles work is very poor, almost grade school grammar), and the moments Eli flies off the handle (even though sparse) are memorable and with enough gore to feed your hunger for horror this Halloween.

A must see.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Karen Tortora-LeeNo Gravatar October 27, 2009 at 8:58 pm

Spoooooooky! Glad I’m almost done with the Hellraiser series. I need another scary movie to keep me up at night! Thanks for recommending.

BrandyNo Gravatar October 27, 2009 at 10:49 pm

Amazing movie–yes a must see. I forgot about the subtitles–and I only do that when the movie is excellent.

DiannaNo Gravatar October 28, 2009 at 11:43 am

I saw this in February – I loved it. It was so simple, yet so disturbing…and there is something always exceptional about the idea of the child vampire…living forever, trapped in the body of a youngster with the mind of an ancient.

It was such a joy, and as a horror/vampire nut, it was such a relief to see something like you said: no effects, nothing hi-tech; just a story and the horror behind the story.

Very well done movie and great review.

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