“Let the Right One In” (2008) – Oskar (Kare Hedebrant) doesn’t have a friend. Bullies emotionally and physically push around this 12-year-old loner (who sports a blonde-haired 1960s George Harrison haircut) during the day and his mom leaves him to his own devices afterwards. She works nights, so he has plenty of free time.
However, his world changes after a brief encounter with Eli (Lina Leandersson). She just moved in next door, and one evening, she meets him at their apartment complex playground and asks him questions and vice-versa. Are they the same age?
“12…more or less,” she says.
More or less?
Well, Eli is a vampire, and this intricate, 114-minute Swedish export from director Tomas Alfredson is one of the great, modern-day horror films.
Vampire rules are certainly in play, and Alfredson introduces them in curious, unexpected ways, including the visceral violence. The film displays this “young lady” satisfying her hunger for blood in vicious manners, but in most instances, the brutality is seen from a great distance or out of view. (Have no “fear” though, because we do see an occasional closeup.)
Oskar has felt isolated for years, and so do we throughout the picture. Even though, Oscar and Eli and live in a grand apartment complex (filmed in way, way north Sweden in a place called Ornaset), only a dozen individuals step into the frame, other than a school skating event on a lake, where kids dressed in snowsuits and scarfs are everywhere. Although that scene was during the daylight hours, and naturally (or unnaturally), Eli only walks at night.
She could become Oskar’s friend, his protector. Lord knows that he could use one or both.
So, could Eli.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ out of ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Directed by: Tomas Alfredson
Written by: John Ajvide Lindqvist
Starring: Lina Leandersson and Kare Hedebrant
Runtime: 114 minutes
Image credits: Sandrew Metronome