Let the Right One In (2008)
Directed by Tomas Alfredson

Starring Kare Hedebrant Lina Lendersson Per Ragnar

One of the greatest vampire films ever made, Sweden's "Let the Right One In" is already being targeted for an American remake. But if there ever was a European horror film that should not be remade, it is this one -- which is as much a heartfelt drama as it is a horror movie. It's just not the kind of film anyone could remake.

It is a movie that everyone should see -- horror fan or not. Director Tomas Alfredson has made a great movie that actually transcends the genre. This is a movie that even your non-horror loving mother is going to love as simply a great movie. And intelligent horror fans are going to be blown away by one of the most imaginative vampire movies ever made.

"Let the Right One In" was apparently inspired by a Morrissey song. Writer John Ajvide Lindqvist apparently borrowed the title of his novel, which he adapted for the film, on the track "Let the Right One Slip In," whose lyics go: “Let the right one in. I’d say you were within your rights to bite/The right one and say, ‘What kept you so long?’"

It opens by introducing us to Oskar (Kare Hedebrant), a lonely 12-year-old living in a snow-bound Swedish apartment complex with his divorced mother. Bullied at school, he withdraws at home, spending time alone in the snow-covered playground outside his apartment. A new neighbor has moved in to the apartment next door -- a neighbor, we soon learn, who's a killer. The older man strings up victims, not unlike the killer in "Witchmaker," hanging them upside down to drain their blood.

Oskar soon meets the killer's companion, a 12-year-old girl named Eli (Lina Lendersson), who seems impervious to the cold outside the apartment. Meeting him for the first time without a jacket on, she explains to him that she can't be his friend. But as she continues to connect with him night after night in the icy playground, and borrows his Rubik's Cube (solving it in seconds), a bond slowly develops between the two child outcasts. They naturally go "steady," and the strange girl gives Oskar the courage he needs to brutally fight back against the bullies at school.

We realize something that it takes a lot longer for Oskar to realize: The girl is a vampire. She has an ability to climb walls and visit her new boyfriend from his apartment window, several floors above the ground. But she needs to be given verbal permission to enter his home before going inside. (We learn for the first time in this film what happens when a vampire actually enters a home she hasn't been invited into.)

Her Renfield-like human slave (Per Ragnar) murders for her and pays the rent for her. But she does her own killing as well, dropping on her victims like a monkey out of the sky, not terribly concerned if there are witnesses of her killings. Pressed for her age, she eventually tells Oskar she is 12 years old, but has been 12 years old for a very long time.

Art filmmakers have been fascinated by vampires for a long, long time too. "Nadja", "The Addiction" and "Habit" spring to mind as arthouse titles of the subgenre from a decade ago. But it's been a long time since the subject has been handled with as much intelligence as this film does. "Let the Right One In" is a perfect movie and it honestly should get an Oscar nod for foreign language film. It's that good.

Hopefully it will see some kind of U.S. release before a remake is produced.

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-- Review by Lucius Gore


Posted by SlackerDeadite on November 7, 2008
My God, That movie was the single best thing I've watched in the last ten years. AMAZING

Posted by horrorfan on November 10, 2008
Great movie, and yes, probably the best horror movie in 10 years if not than more than 10 years. Incredible film.

Posted by bcarter3 on November 10, 2008
Icy, breathtaking, and beautiful. The best film I''ve seen this year, in any genre. A new classic.

Posted by eurohorrordude on November 10, 2008
Really excellent.

Posted by pennywise on November 12, 2008
this movie is simply the most amazing thing I've seen in along time

Posted by RecurringAwesome on November 23, 2008
I hope this movie is never remade. It's pure classic as it is. I hope it is released in the states however.

Posted by Noah Benzing on November 29, 2008
Simply amazing. ... there are no words for it...

Posted by Suunaabas on January 6, 2009
Just don't go in thinking this is an action horror movie. It has some action here and there, but it's more of a slow, thoughtful, intimate slice of life. Intimate in the sense that if you actually are focused on what's in front of you (instead of texting your friend), you are rewarded with minute details like the beating of a heart, a subtle facial expression, and the restraint shown against intense hunger. I like to say the acting is sincere, for the two leads certainly. And I'm sure all will agree, the casting choices for this flick were a brilliant foundation to build on. The scoring was likewise haunting and epic. So, if you haven't seen it yet, don't let the trailers fool you into thinking it's a blockbuster action flick. And don't let the SUBTITLES scare you off, because the dialog is sparse enough that you can actually focus on the characters. If anything, much of the power comes from its silence.

Posted by Brad Tyler on January 7, 2009
I couldn't agree more, just watched this for the 2nd time, and it is beautiful! so perfect in every way. If only there were more horror films with this level of brilliance. BRAVO all involved! i'm normally one for remakes, i don't mind them, but i have to say remaking this is pointless. there is no way on earth they can replicate the magic of this film, just not possible!

Posted by boomstick on April 17, 2009
Just rent "Near Dark" instead, that movie is a million times better than this turd.

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