With the Twilight franchise stealing away attention from vampire films (and more notable films in general), it has also popularized vampire film all over the world in a way that has not been experienced in the current generation. When perusing the aisles of movie rental and sale establishments, it is not difficult to come across quickly made vampire movies, thrown together just to fuel the flames of vamp hype. However, every now and then filmmakers choose projects in the vampire pop culture that are important, entertaining, and speak on a variety of different levels. Every once in a while the film industry will let the right one in.
And in the case of Swedish film ‘Let the Right One In‘, film did just that.
I first heard of ‘Let the Right One In’ while watching the 2009 Scream Awards. Laying sleepily on a couch and watching one of the many reruns of the awards, one nominee caught my eye. From the brief clip flashing across the television (an iconic scene in my mind now), I knew this was a film I had to see.
In the film, scrawny Oskar is bullied constantly at school. He dreams of his revenge, acting out the murders of his bullies to cope, his mother blind to the conflicts Oskar faces. When a mysterious girl named Eli and her quiet guardian move in to the apartment next to Oskar, he is instantly intrigued. They become friends, despite Eli’s warning that they can’t be friends, and when Eli finds out that Oskar has been subjected to bullying, she tells him to fight back and if he needs her, she will help him. However, the town is in fear as a series of murders mostly aimed at young boys strike their area. Though this is the main story, there is so much more going on here than just the chilling exchanges between troubled Oskar and murderous Eli. It is a love story without the romance, a horror story without the gratuitousness, and a story of revenge without the theatricality. This is more than a vampire movie. It is a stylized, artistic film with great dialogue, believable acting, and an intense, hopeless setting. Eli is the hero of every bullied child seeking revenge, yet the terror of the nighttime pedestrian. I recommend this film because there is not another quite like it, and Twilight could never dream of rivaling it in terms of quality and passion.
Do not wait for this film’s upcoming American remake, ‘Let Me In‘, just because the idea of reading subtitles frightens you. Suck it up and read. It’s worth it.