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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

POSTER ART
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FILM DETAILS
Certificate
15
Cast
Kare Hedebrant
Lina Leandersson
.
Directors
Tomas Alfredson.
Screenwriters
John Ajvide Lindqvist.
Running Time
114 minutes

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Let The Right One In
Friendship and fangs in the best horror film of the year.


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Plot
Sweden, 1981. Schoolboy Oskar (Kare Hedebrant) is befriended by Eli (Lina Leandersson), who seems like a normal 12 year-old girl but is actually a vampire. Hakan (Per Ragnar), who procures her victims, is caught by the police, and the friends of a drunk she has killed resolve to track her down.


Review
Let The Right One In
Many vampire movies have trotted out the folkloric bit of business that the undead have to be invited into a household in order to prey on victims within. Dracula has to inveigle maidservants or poor, mad Renfield into opening the windows and uttering the words of welcome. Like the business with casting no reflection, getting freaked out by the cross or being repelled by garlic, this convention has become so commonplace that it can be defused by jokes. Does having a mat with “welcome” written on it constitute an invitation? Would revoking a vampire’s visa banish them back to Transylvania?

No previous vampire movie has addressed this scrap of myth quite as rigorously as Let The Right One In — which is all about what happens, for good or ill, when someone willingly invites a vampire into their home, their confidence and their life. It also answers in startling fashion a question that has lingered at the back of your mind every time this aspect of the legend crops up in a movie — what happens if you don’t invite a vampire in but they cross the threshold anyway? It’s not pretty, but it’s also not something you’ve seen in a movie before. It’s as much a testament to the ingenuity of author/screenwriter John Ajvide Lindqvist, who adapted his own book, and director Tomas Alfredson as to the endless possibilities of the vampire film that nearly 90 years after Nosferatu there are still new twists to the most familiar of all movie monsters.

In a season where Twilight — which also hinges on a school-set friendship between a vampire and a human — has become, by a wide margin, the most profitable vampire movie ever made, Let The Right One In trumps the Hollywood vision by landing an instant, secure place on the list of the ten best vampire movies. It’s always been a giveaway that filmmakers or novelists don’t trust their material when they bleat that, say, Werewolf Cheerleaders isn’t really a horror movie but a study of relationships — it usually prompts a sneaking wish that the maker of, say, Nil By Mouth would respond by saying their picture isn’t really a realist drama but an all-out horror movie. Let The Right One In actually is all about the relationships, but it’s as dark a horror tale as was ever mangled by a Michael Bay-produced remake (US rights to the book have gone to Matt Reeves of Cloverfield). In contrast to the currently hot flavours of fear — torture porn, girlie ghosts, kung fu monsters — this is horror, rooted in love. 

The film depicts a provincial Swedish winter in 1981 as a  deadeningly cold, grubby-snow depression where nothing goes right — even a serial killer is a bungler disturbed by a passing dog, and good advice about standing up to bullies sets the scene for a hideous escalation of violence there’s no going back from. With miraculous performances from the very young lead actors, the film builds up slowly — we’re not sure whether the doleful bloodsucker wants the plodding Oskar as a boyfriend, a minion or lunch — and gives thought to how an immortal might pass the long centuries with tiny challenges (after solving Oskar’s Rubik’s Cube, Eli shows him a Fabergé Easter egg puzzle worth a fortune). Rarely has a horror movie invested so much in a perverse, but admirable love. The home stretch shows in unforgettable detail how far these two are willing to go for each other, especially in a bravura long-held, underwater shot which is liable to be a how-the-hell-was-that-done? talking point after you’ve got over the impact of its gruesome content.


Extras

Let The Right One In Let The Right One In
Released: 03 August 2009
A director/novelist commentary plus deleted scenes


Verdict
At once a devastating, curiously uplifting inhuman drama and a superbly crafted genre exercise, Let The Right One In can stand toe-to-toe with Spirit Of The Beehive, Pan's Labyrinth or Orphee. See it.


Reviewed by Kim Newman


Related Reviews
Books
Let the Right One In (Devil's Advocates)
 
Sounds
Let The Right One In
 

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Let The Right One In
Empire Star Rating

.

So far.. yet so close. So strange... yet so familiar. One of the movies that I will definitely not recommend to anyone unless I know them. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by aida asgari at 11:17, 11 December 2013 | Report This Post


Let The Right One In

Let The Right One In is a haunting, yet touching film that not only makes vampires scary again, but also leaves you thinking about your own life. And any film that does that is definitely a film worth watching. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by norgizfox at 05:36, 01 June 2012 | Report This Post


Whisper tales of gore...

Despite the film's extremely slow pace, it did live up to some expectaton. But, yet again, we've lost the definition of 'vampire'. There's only one killing in it, and it's quite hard to tell what she's doing. It's also quite misleading as to what kind of movie it is or who it's trying to entertain. Is it about a kid being bullied, or a vampire romance? This film simply argues that you somehow can have both, and enjoy the untidy combination. There's also some bizarre things chucked into the pot,... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by YouWillBeUnprepared at 05:00, 08 May 2012 | Report This Post


Whisper tales of gore...

Despite the film's extremely slow pace, it did live up to some expectaton. But, yet again, we've lost the definition of 'vampire'. There's only one killing in it, and it's quite hard to tell what she's doing. It's also quite misleading as to what kind of movie it is or who it's trying to entertain. Is it about a kid being bullied, or a vampire romance? This film simply argues that you somehow can have both, and enjoy the untidy combination. There's also some bizarre things chucked into the pot,... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by YouWillBeUnprepared at 05:00, 08 May 2012 | Report This Post


RE: boring

L: vinnyjones most over rated film ever, i i only watched about 3 quarters of it i was so bored! TF?ts a great film. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by DARKO_DONNIE_DONUT at 14:45, 15 January 2012 | Report This Post


Let the Right One In Review

Let the Right One In reinvigorates the seemingly tired vampire genre by effectively mixing scares with intelligent storytelling. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by the film man at 21:30, 14 December 2011 | Report This Post


boring

most over rated film ever, i i only watched about 3 quarters of it i was so bored! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by vinnyjones at 12:19, 27 October 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Let The Right One In

I thought this film was rather enjoyable, I expected it to be more scary as it is supposed to be a horror, but I wasn't disappointed. The subplot of love makes for good watching, I will most definitely be watching this again :) ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by DarbyDaresYou at 13:22, 19 September 2011 | Report This Post


RE: what a lovely movie

A bit late here I know but only just got round to watching this. I reda the book 3 or 4 years ago and loved it, but was thrilled to hear a Swedish version of the book was being made. It didn't dissapoint. One of the best films I've seen this year already, the 2 kids played their roles perfectly, Hakan was suitably creepy and weird (and almost comic in his murder attempts) despite him having his role butchered for the film (compared to the book) At the end I almost felt like I'd been wat... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by jonson at 15:19, 27 April 2011 | Report This Post


what a lovely movie

Really nice movie. The two child actors are superb! For once I agree with Dr Kermode's assessment of this film "it's a movie about children that just happens to have vampires in it". I am also looking forward to the remake, which is apparently "a vampire movie that just happens to have kids in it' ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by tysmuse at 22:50, 30 October 2010 | Report This Post


RE: More of a Swedish Drama than horror.

Bit late to the party with this one, only sorry it took me so long to get round to watching it! Brilliant stuff. See the remake is getting great reviews aswell but honestly I can't see how it would top this. Top stuff! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by The REAL Bozz at 23:22, 13 September 2010 | Report This Post


More of a Swedish Drama than horror.

A Swedish film set in the early 80's of a young boy who is being bullied at school. He befriends a young girl of the same age and before you know it they have fallen in love. But little did he know this young girl was in fact a vampire... This film did seem a little sedate for a horror/thriller but even so extremely intriguing. This was definitely more of a drama than a horror as the story concentrates more on the childhood relationship between these two characters rather than the random murd... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by zedphelan at 21:39, 28 July 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Let The Right One In

Probably the only 'vampire film' I really enjoyed. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by kmotionfilms at 01:37, 19 July 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Best Film Ever.

An ok film but it is massively overrated. Such a slow burner and im surprised I managed to stick it out, even though I did appreciate the ending at the pool. Some good points though, I think I was on to the issues with Eli, just figuring it out in my head and watching it onscreen didnt match, and I didnt get the idea about Hakan once being an Oskar figure. Could have been miles better, I just felt it lacked any tension throughout, even the scene at Elis home near the end seemed very fl... More

Posted by kumar at 13:07, 08 July 2010 | Report This Post


Best Film Ever.

I love this film, so beautiful yet disturbing at the same time. Shame about the remake. I covered it recently on the Panic Dots.com film blog - http://bit.ly/bLz3Zk ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by ChrisWrites at 16:34, 17 June 2010 | Report This Post


Best Film Ever.

I love this film, so beautiful yet disturbing at the same time. Shame about the remake. I covered it recently on the Panic Dots.com film blog - http://bit.ly/bLz3Zk ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by ChrisWrites at 16:34, 17 June 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Let The Right One In

Yes. Beautiful, stunning movie. However, having read a lot of reviews about the intracies of Eli, my review has gone from 5 to 4 stars. There is no way I could have known about the castration of Eli, neither the fact that Eli's protector was in fact a drunken old man taken from the streets by Eli. My interpretation of her keeper was that he was an older version of Oskar who we see fall in love and dedicate his life to Eli. I have the blu ray version and have listened to the director's commentary... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bluestarlites at 04:54, 13 April 2010 | Report This Post


Outstanding!

Exceptional directing, beautiful cinematography, incredible acting, and ultimately superb story-telling, brand this film as an unforgettable masterpiece... ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by IJustWantToBeAHero at 22:20, 24 March 2010 | Report This Post


Overrated

A good little take on the kiddie/vampire love story. Different with a sense of fresh air but, ultimately, given extra pathos due to the fact that it's a forgien language, low budget film. The overstated praise hurts the film. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Workshed at 15:42, 08 March 2010 | Report This Post


A true classic.

A true modern classic brimming with raw emotion and on-screen beauty. Excellent cast, excellent directing, well worthy of 5 stars. It is worth wathching for the final "swimming pool" scene alone if anything! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by teacosy at 13:36, 04 March 2010 | Report This Post


Not What Your Expecting but Fascinating

This beautifully made film absolutely fascinated me. The way you get involved with the characters, there is so much focus on them that by the end you truly do feel for them. Right from the very beginning you know your in for a treat. The idea of the the father having to go out and kill people, hang them upside down and drain their blood is brilliant. The two kids are played so well, they were award worthy performances. It's not the stereotypical gore-fest vampire flick that people (including mys... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by buckley1989 at 14:44, 03 March 2010 | Report This Post


RE: The Best Vampire Film Since Nosferatu!

L: VincentWire Basically a haunting and extremely beautiful film, full of delightfully sick little surprises. Also, it's likely to be the Daily Mail's least favourite film ever what with all the kids with knives, pre-pubescent nudity and it's full of bloody foreigners who can't even be bothered to speak english so you have to go through all the effort of reading subtitles. checked the Mail out expecting fulminating fury but, very surprisingly, this chap really liked it: http://con... More

Posted by JackTheHat2 at 12:28, 24 February 2010 | Report This Post


The Greatest Film Of 2009. FACT.

If you know your movie onions (or, in this case, Swedes), you don’t need me to tell you how great Right One In t if your onion and/or swede knowledge is deficient, let me tell you how great Right One In The Right One In y, very great indeed. hope that's clear enough. Right One In’s ng achievement is to take two genres that I have pretty much no time for – Movies About Kids That Aren’t nies The School Of Rockovies About Vampires – and glue them together with some achingly beautiful ci... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by David Somerset at 09:22, 08 January 2010 | Report This Post


RE: A Swedish Midwinter Tale

Beautifully haunting piece of filmwork. It has tenderness and heart, rapped around a disturbing truth. If you have to go and see a vampire film (and there have been MANY), then this is the one to see. One of my Top 3 Films of the Decade. 10/10 ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by robwillphill at 10:09, 07 January 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Let The Right One In

Great movie, certainly one the best horror movies of recent times. Nice Blu-ray transfer, too! ... More

Posted by Tank Boy at 03:40, 04 January 2010 | Report This Post


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