Halloween Horror Movie Month: Let the Right One In (2008)

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.




  1. This was one of my favorite horror films in recent years. I’ll never get that cat scene out of my head. The American remake was actually pretty good by American remake standards but still not as good as this classic.

    The strange man she was with I believe is a pedo that she uses to help her get stuff done and to not arouse suspicion. And she doesn’t eat Oskar because she likes him! Kinda like Twilight, lol.

  2. It definitely haunts you and the American reboot, LET ME IN, has Stephen King’s seal of approval as one of the best horror films in recent years. The swimming pool scene will never leave you and it expertly leaves just enough out of view.

  3. I liked this film for exactly the same reasons that somewhat irked you, that they didn’t explain Eli’s beginnings, nor did they bother to tie up all the various loose ends. I get so tired of films that feel they have to reveal the reasons for everything that has happened in the previous 120 minutes. I guess I like being left with a little mystery, and that so much is left up to the viewer’s imagination. 🙂

    I also felt that although Eli may really care for Oskar, she is really just using him just like she did her previous “helper(s)”. At the end all I could think about was how their “loving relationship” was in reality totally parasitic on her part, and wonder how long Oskar had before he fully realizes this and she has to move on to someone else. It ended so very sadly for me, with him looking at it all as a big adventure and the beginning of his life, when in reality it was the end.

    I haven’t seen the American version yet. I was told there was a lot of CGI in it, which I usually love, but have heard was overdone. I suppose wanted to let enough time go by between viewing this marvelous movie which left such a good impression on me and the newer version so that I could be a little more objective about it.

  4. I do love this film though I wish this film got a proper DVD release because when I checked out the DVD last year from my local library. I got to look at the special features and noticed that the subtitles on the DVD is different from the theatrical version. The Criterion Collection should pick it up and give it the release it deserves. I saw some of the American remake. It was OK. It lacked the humor and charm of the original.

  5. I liked this flick a lot. Its creepy and disturbing and doesn’t reely on things jumping out at you to scare you. Instead it sets you thinking and lets the mind do the rest.

    That last scene in the pool is flat out sick. Love it!

  6. The best vampire movie ever made. Who thought it would be with children. I liked the remake but I loved this movie. I came here from Cherlyn’s blog and I’m glad I did, this is a very good review. I’m happy I’m not the only one who likes this movie.

  7. The last 10 minutes of this flick are immensely badass. The American remake did a better job than I thought it would, but original is the way to go.

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