Little kiddie vampires are still tougher than ones named Edward or Jacob.
Twelve-year-old Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant), the constant target of bullies, spends his time plotting revenge and collecting news items about the grisly murders plaguing his town. But things change when he meets a new girl named Eli (Lina Leandersson), a misfit vampire who steals his heart. As a serial killer continues to prey on teen boys in their small Swedish village, Eli helps Oskar find the courage to stand up to his tormenters.
When this film came around 3 years ago, I always heard great things about it but never got a total chance to watch it myself. However, I’ve realized that those damn Swedish people are messed up and cute as hell.
The one thing that this film has going for it is that it blends two different stories together real well. You have this sort of creepy and disturbing horror film about a teen vampire constantly killing people for more blood, but then you got this sweet little kiddie drama about the romance between a troubled kid and a teen vampire. This seems strange that they would both actually fit very well into one film together but what really works so well here is just how genuine both sides of this film feel which is something you almost never get let alone see in any type of film.
As a horror film, there isn’t many scares here that keep you constantly jumping out-of-your seat but more of give you this eerie feeling that something just is not right with this little teenage vampire running rampant on the whole neighborhood. All of the creepiness and horror of this film eventually leads up to the final act, and that’s when everything gets pretty scary. There’s also plenty of gruesome blood and gore that I felt were very well-done and came in at the right moments rather than just popping up every-time to be a gory, horror vampire film.
Despite the gore and blood this film showed me, there are other couple instances of special effects that this film has, which is probably about 3 scenes but they are all pretty laughable I hate to say. There is a scene where these CGI-like cats start attacking this woman who has come under the bite of the vampire and there faces and her reaction just had me cracking up unintentionally, which is sad to say because I didn’t laugh at all once during this whole film by how serious everything was. CGI cats are no good no matter what you do.
As a drama/romance film, this is a pretty genuine take on first loves. I have to say that in the beginning it was a bit slow and I had no idea where this relationship between Oskar and Eli would go, but where it ended up going seemed like something that was so realistic and honest that I almost forgot that Eli had the craving for some human juice. The scenes with these two just talking and being very sincere with each other and it’s a very beautiful thing to see because this is how little kids talk especially if their little hearts are in love. If you really want to know how it feels to be in love for the first time, then check out the little love-fest going on with Oskar and Eli, it will probably make your tummy all warm and fuzzy inside. It did to mine.
The one thing about this film that kind of bothered me was that we never exactly find out why and how Eli is this vampire, we just guess she’s one for some odd reason. The whole film I was expecting to find out why she is the way she is and in return almost got noting. Did her daddy or mommy get it on with Bela Lugosi? How old is she really? Who is the strange man she’s with? Why doesn’t she give in to her hunger and eat up Oskar like crazy? Also, why the hell is she even a vampire is all I wanted to know! This pissed me off because I feel like I deserved to know and it would have made a lot more sense if the film just explained exactly why she is the way she is.
The kids here though are perfectly cast and made me want to practically cry my eyes out by how real they seemed. Kåre Hedebrant plays Oskar and Lina Leandersson plays Eli, and they are just both amazing at everything they do here with almost every single scene. Apparently for the casting of these two kids, director Tomas Alfredson went all over Sweden for over a year to find the perfect Eli and Oskar and the choice of these two was perfect. Every time they’re on screen, it doesn’t feel like either of them are even acting and more or less just being themselves in front of a camera like a documentary almost. The spot-light is on them the whole time and not once did I question their abilities to bring emotions to the screen and make me believe in the little love that they have.
Consensus: Let the Right One In isn’t necessarily scary as it is disturbing, bloody, and kind of gory but still features drama that brings out the most in its two young actors, heart and a genuine feeling to the story, and a look of how important having that first love and how beautiful, romantic, and sweet everything is when it’s happening to you.