Let the Right One In – Review

Worth seeing: as a beautiful and heart-breaking film that skillfully combines coming-of-age, first romance - and vampires
Director:Tomas Alfredson
Featuring:Kåre Hedebrant, Lina Leandersson, Henrik Dahl, Karin Bergquist, Per Ragna, Peter Carlberg
Length:114 minutes
Released:10th April 2009


A creepy middle-aged man, sneaks out in the middle of the night, murders unsuspecting passers-by on deserted streets, hangs their bodies from trees, deep in the woods, and collects their blood in petrol cans.

And he’s not a bad guy.

Back on the Stockholm housing estate where he lives, his bullied twelve year old neighbour Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant), is out playing in the snow, when he meets a young girl he’s never seen around before. Eli (Lina Leandersson) informs him, with regret, that she can’t be his friend.

This doesn’t put him off. With all the other children he knows beating him up at every opportunity and him fantasising about getting his revenge, the idea of hanging out with someone who seems to be as much of a loner as him seems infinitely preferable.

Oskar and Eli form a bond, against the background of a series of local murders.

The two stories tie up nicely when – and don’t worry, this isn’t spoiling anything for you – it turns out that the reason that nocturnal Eli can’t be friends with Oskar is that she’s actually a vampire.


So – it’s a vampire film, but not like any other.

There are so many tales told about such blood-suckers that it’s rare for one to come along that feels at all original, but Tomas Alfredson has succeeded on this front.

On the surface, this film looks – and feels – more like a Ken Loach film with Swedish subtitles and a bit of blood thrown in for decoration, than it does any of the teen vampire films you might be more familiar with.

It’s not even that frightening – it’s more of a drama about an impossible first love than it is a blood-letting chiller.

Let the Right One In follows all the regular rules of vampire lore, while throwing in a new ones here and there, so that it inhabits its own, frighteningly believable world.

At its heart is a gritty, oddly warm romance between two loners, inextricably drawn together, but hopelessly forced apart.

Both of their performances – none of the others in the film are significant enough even to consider – are as mature as they are heart-breaking and the stark photography befits the futile nature of the emotionally empty world the two of them share.