Swedish Vampiresby Nathan Zeno / 02.08.2009
“Let the right one in / let the old dreams die / let the wrong ones go / They cannot do what you want them to do.” – Morrissey.
Oskar is a shy quiet twelve-year-old kid who is bullied at school, lives in a snow bound tower block and takes his frustrations out on a tree with a knife. Friendless, trapped in his environment with a single mother in a small apartment, his only joy is spending time with his father, who only seems sympathetic because he’s so apathetic. It snows constantly. Oskar is future serial killer material (In the film it’s a suggestion, more of it is made in the book) and his knowledge of crime scene forensics sufficient to worry a policeman talking at his school.
Oskar’s new neighbours board their windows. He meets the young (looking) girl Eli at night. It’s plain that he needs a friend, but she announces straight off “I can’t be your friend”. Eli lives with an older man, Håkan. Håkan goes out at night with his pack of tools and kills a young boy, and while attempting to drain his blood is disturbed. He makes his getaway. When Eli discovers this she has to go and kill for herself. She picks off one of the other neighbours, part of a group of social drinkers. It’s apparent that her familiar is getting old and might have served his purpose. Her killing of the neighbour is witnessed by a shut in.
Eli begins to hang out more with Oskar and give him advice about how to deal with the bullies; she also seems to keep trying to stay away from him.
Let The Right One In is a sparse film that is less about vampires than about social otherness, in fact the “v” word is only used once. It’s nothing like “Twilight” and there are no discussions on vampiric lore, it plays out its awkwardness like an early The Smiths song, which explains the quote on the fronts piece of the book. Eli is either falling for Oskar, or she is grooming him and seeing as she is a vampire, she’s thousands of years old, so her methods are not unlike a pedophiles.
Let The Right One In is subtle, dark and wryly funny. It’s a Swedish pre-teen vampire film set in the 80’s named after a Morrissey song. Really, need I say more?