Some say that ” Let the right one in ” is the best Vampire movie. I am not so sure about that – as Interview with Vampire seemed to be a bit better. But if you call ” Let the right one in ” – the best coming of age vampire film, then you will be right – because that it is.
Let the right one in is a Swedish movie. It is based on the novel by John Ajvide Linqvist with the same name. As with most Scandinavian flicks, the film feels different – thanks to its brilliant directing by Tomas Alfredson. The movie is next to perfect, and I completely understand why its director is not happy with the feature English version remake. I stand behind his opinion as foreign movies – are best in their original, and a Hollywood remake would ruin an otherwise great plot.
The story in the film focuses on the 12-year-old Oskar ( Kåre Hedebrant) and his friendship with Eli – a girl who turns out to be a vampire. Of course, friendship is just one of the values integrated into the story – others such as bravery, love and loyalty- and understanding of the others are in abundance and contribute to the coming of age value of the film.
The casting in the film was excellent. Definitely, most attention deserves the young starts: Kåre Hedebrant and Lina Leandersson. For their performance in Let the right one in – both actors were nominated for best performance in an international feature film in the 30th Annual Young Artist awards. Lina played the role of the child vampire Eli, who befriends the main character ( Oskar ). Interestingly, the film’s director decided to overdub her voice to sound less feminine and vampire-like. ( source) Justin Lowe wrote an excellent description of her performance in his film review: ” Leandersson is particularly impressive as the conflicted young vampire who wants nothing more than to be an ordinary girl again“. While watching the film, I felt mixed feelings about Eli – a 200-year-old vampire trapped as an adolescent. In one of the scenes, she says, “I am 12, but I have been 12 for a long time “. So for her, the coming of age period is eternity …
Kåre Hedebrant, for his part, was more than convincing in his role of a lonely, withdrawn and sensitive boy. I was the first strike, but his look – and in the first scenes of the movies, I was expecting that we would turn out to be a vampire – he had that special aura – which can give you the creeps. He showed an amazing understanding of his role – a challenging thing to do – imagine yourself falling in love with a girl who turns out to be a Vampire.
Few more words about the directing – while watching the film, I noticed a technique that I have seen in Ivan Noel`s En Tu Ausencia – in one of the Scenes, Oscar was shown in the bathroom with his childhood toys around him. He ignored them – which symbolised his transformation into a changed person, more mature – seeing the world with a different eye. This happened right after he realises the true nature of Eli. Another excellent choice in directing the movie was the usage of snowy scenes/backdrops in the film. Snow that symbolises silence and remorse. Snow that can fall and hide the bloody leftovers of the vampires – while being deathly at the same time, especially if someone quietly longs for death. According to an article in The Los Angeles Times, the Swedish director found inspiration in Renaissance paintings – which probably is why the characters in the movie have such a unique appearance on the screen. Below are the two paintings he referred to as most inspiring :
Let the Right One In the trailer
All photos below are courtesy of Magnet Releasing.
Quotes from the film :