I’ve never really been a fan of horror films; they don’t scare me (never have, never will), and most of the time, they are kind of dumb. But I’m generally up for any flick that is willing to subvert its horror leanings and produces an emotionally relevant and satisfying story.
“Let the Right One In (2008),” directed by Tomas Alfredson, more than fulfills both requirements to get me to watch. The fact that it’s a good movie too… that’s just gravy.
In the beginning, we meet Oskar (Kre Hedebrant), a bookish 12 year old with a hobby of collecting newspaper articles about various murders and executions around the world. He’s a good kid, a bit shy and continually tormented by a group of bullies at school, but he’s also alienated from his surroundings, so when he meets a new girl, Eli (Lina Leandersson) living in his building, he lets the peculiarities go because, well, he needs a friend.
And boy, she’s got eccentricities to spare; she only hangs around the playground at nighttime, she doesn’t go to school, and she doesn’t even have a birthday. Also, around the time she moved in, dead bodies drained of blood keep showing up around town.
Yeah, there’s a decent gore factor the film, but like the best kind of horror films, “Let the Right One In” is not about the violence and blood. It’s about the characters first – it’s about Hkan (Per Ragnar), Eli’s “father” who would, and does, do anything to keep her healthy and safe; it’s about how Oskar discovers Eli’s secret, but still invites her into his home; it’s about how Eli doesn’t want anything from Oskar, not even blood, but instead tries to make him stronger.
What an unexpected surprise – a horror film that delivers a good experience on all fronts.
“Let the Right One In” (2008)
Directed by Tomas Alfredson
Written by John Ajvide Lindqvist
Starring: Kre Hedebrant (Oskar)
Lina Leandersson (Eli)
Per Ragnar (Hkan)