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STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
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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
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Let the Right One In (Devil's Advocates)
 
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Let The Right One In
 

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Your Reviews

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

RE: Let The Right One In

Absolutely fantastic. ightght have the fans, but the Right One In as the story. I look forward to the pointless, botched American remake. ... More

Posted by drews at 13:40, 27 December 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Let The Right One In

Just watched this last night and enjoyed it. Not spectacular but beautifully shot and haunting. It's far from being a masterpiece but certainly an original take on the vampire genre, and way better than Twilight ... More

Posted by CORLEONE at 10:51, 08 December 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Let The Right One In

Original. Creepy. A Masterpiece of a vampire movie that has realism and is genuinely disturbing. This was so good that i watched it again... and again. You must see this extremely haunting and beautiful film, even if you are not a fan of reading subtitles ('Pan's Labyrinth' is another worth-while venture with subtitles) 10/10 ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by robwillphill at 20:23, 04 November 2009 | Report This Post


Boring

What a crap film, hugely overrated. Finally saw it this week after reading so many good reviews, its rubbish. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by MrF at 14:50, 03 November 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Ok, it's beautiful to look at, but 5 stars?

I have seen it and while it's something different, it's really nowhere near a masterpiece. It's badly written, adds clumsy symbolism, and progresses very slow. It's like an arthouse horror film. But meaningfull glances, silence, snow falling in slow motion does not make a film. The photography is quite good, filming the dark (the night) and the light (the snow) in a fine way. The acting though is awful. Even in a language I can't speak, I see the child actors struggling with the material. Th... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by BobM70 at 11:01, 13 October 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Ok, it's beautiful to look at, but 5 stars?

And it might have had one of the saddest mos pignant endings I've seen in a while. Actually I thought it was near-perfect, points being lost for the cats. ... More

Posted by Deviation at 00:58, 13 October 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Ok, it's beautiful to look at, but 5 stars?

Loved this film, really enjoyed it.  Don't /i] understand why people think the pool scene felt "tacked on"; she needed to come back for him to show the final scene on the train.  Also, earlier in the film "she" said to Oskar she could help him with the bullies so it wasn't totally unexpected.   As a few people pointed out, the CG cats did stand out a bit - that whole scene was very reminiscent of the crazy woman off the Simpsons covered in cats during Lisa Simpsons news broad... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by repo man at 17:19, 12 October 2009 | Report This Post


Ok, it's beautiful to look at, but 5 stars?

Without meaning to be shot at dawn by the armies of people who adore this film, I have to say I think it was ok but not five stars. The film is without a question beautiful to look at and well acted. It just didn't say much more to me as a piece of cinema. The ending felt a little rushed and left me completely cold with regards to the characters. I love films of this genre so I was a little let down by it at the end. I'll give it another go though, maybe I just wasn't in the right mood. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Rich Empire at 15:07, 02 October 2009 | Report This Post


A very good film. Suttle, but that's its charm. the special effects are very good as well. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Smootle at 02:39, 25 September 2009 | Report This Post


Kind of boring really

Despite a couple of arresting scenes, it's a standard genre film- a genre that's been done to death (excuse the pun). Near Dark, and even The Lost Boys were more original. I put this firmly in the Twilight camp of not really offering anything new, except maybe a style. And it's SO slow and plodding. Cold and remote- at least it looked pretty amazing. Like Bergman doing a vampire film. I liked Cold Prey more, and found it more engaging. Maybe LTROI isn't my cup of tea. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by stevos at 22:59, 12 August 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Let The Right One In

L: blackduck Mixed feelings about this. firstly I had to adjust my expectations as I was watching it, Vampire horror movie is a bit misleading, it's more of a coming of age drama. Once I got the idea that this wasn't the next 30 days of night I really started to enjoy it. Any scenes with the two kids were amazing, but the stuff with the bullies didn't ring true and some faster editing could have hidden the budget limits of the cat scene. And Elis assistant (boyfriend?) was a staggeringly i... More

Posted by Woger at 18:05, 12 August 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Let The Right One In

Mixed feelings about this. firstly I had to adjust my expectations as I was watching it, Vampire horror movie is a bit misleading, it's more of a coming of age drama. Once I got the idea that this wasn't the next 30 days of night I really started to enjoy it. Any scenes with the two kids were amazing, but the stuff with the bullies didn't ring true and some faster editing could have hidden the budget limits of the cat scene. And Elis assistant (boyfriend?) was a staggeringly incompetant killer.... More

Posted by blackduck at 17:31, 12 August 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Let The Right One In

L: losthighway or="#ff0000"]***SPOILER***] Last rant, I promise ut something that is truly riling me as I read numerous reviews in the papers/forums... a /i] not a girl!ms to be a plot point that is being sadly missed by a good 99% of reviewers. t was also missed by this viewerhough i spotted the "i'm not a girl" a few times i thought that Eli was trying to say "i'm not human"/ "im a vampire" For once i'm glad I didn;t know this going into the film as it would have tai... More

Posted by daemonic at 23:44, 11 August 2009 | Report This Post


scootster says

well im sorry i was too busy to catch this movie at the cinema, bought the dvd yesterday and watched it when darkness fell. this film is incredibley atmospheric even the snow and everything it fell upon seemed to have its own mystique, beautifull colours in an instant the director could make u almost feel how cold it is in this bloody landscape. talking about direction well what can u say its sublime the children the two mains of coarse i was drawn into their very believable world the trials an... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by gordon livey at 16:55, 07 August 2009 | Report This Post


LetThe Right One In

I found this film absolutely fantastic. The relationship doesn't just jump like in other films but instead is progressive and you see it become stronger. I have seen Twilight and it was a disappointment compared to the books and compared to this, it awful. I find it difficult to enjoy subtitled films yet in this one it made no difference. The gore in the film was not 'in your face' as the americans like to do but let your mind fill in the gaps. They used sound effects with a streak of blood when... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by vaila at 15:33, 05 August 2009 | Report This Post


A Sublime piece of film malking

Before I give my opinion of this film, I'd like to say one problem I've found is defining the genre of it. Now I'd class it as a horror, simply because of the fact it is a movie that focuses on a vampire. However a few of my friends have been left feeling slightly indifferent because, in their words, it 'didn't go where they were expecting it to'. Now whilst personally I LOVED the film, in every aspect, I can understand that someone expecting a 'shock horror' movie with lots of killing and g... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by lauriedunsire at 20:31, 02 August 2009 | Report This Post


A Review From Halo14

OSKAR: Ok think character and actor matched perfectly. Firstly the paleness of him to me signifies his complete innocence that slowly been eaten into and eroded by the bullies and generally everyone that the poor child comes into contact with! Plus the fact he hitting the swear word puberty and I believe that is a time filled with lots of conflict in a young boys life. He is very isolated child with basically all the odds stacked against him. Also his paleness makes him blend in with the snow... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Halo14 at 06:23, 29 July 2009 | Report This Post


A Review From Halo14

OSKAR: Ok think character and actor matched perfectly. Firstly the paleness of him to me signifies his complete innocence that slowly been eaten into and eroded by the bullies and generally everyone that the poor child comes into contact with! Plus the fact he hitting the swear word puberty and I believe that is a time filled with lots of conflict in a young boys life. He is very isolated child with basically all the odds stacked against him. Also his paleness makes him blend in with the snow... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Halo14 at 06:23, 29 July 2009 | Report This Post


Outstanding

Quite simply one of the best films I have ever seen. Tagging this as just a horror does this beautiful, tense, emotion filled movie absolutely no justice at all. I pray to god that Platinum Dunes do not get their hands on it, or hollywood in general for that matter. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bennyblanco at 19:48, 13 July 2009 | Report This Post


It says with big letters on the cover of the blu-ray "Best.Vampire.Movie.Ever!". A bit of misguiding text. It`s not really a vampire story. It`s more a romantic drama in wich the emphasis lies on the drama part, that is being poured into a horror/fantasy jacket. This makes it into original film, where the cheap scare effects and the usual scary horror music is left out. This as well makes it that the emphasis is on the drama part. The direction is calmly and tastefully photographed. T... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by TheGodfather at 11:33, 28 June 2009 | Report This Post


RE: * SPOILERS AHOY*

Best. Vampire. Film. In. Years.   Id even say it was miles better than 30 days of night and that is also a very fine example of the vampire horror genre i think.   I was just gripped and on the edge of my seat from begining to end with this one though... That scene where she walks into the boy's house uninvited and starts shaking and bleeding from every single part of her body is some fucked up scary shit..... i love it! ... More

Posted by MartyW at 01:47, 18 May 2009 | Report This Post


RE: * SPOILERS AHOY*

I absolutely adored this movie.  I wouldn't classify it as a horror really as I think that sets up an expectation of "jumps" or "scares" that this film really doesn't go for.  It is a slow-burning atmospheric, gorgeous arthouse movie first in my opinion which leaves a lot of things unsaid crediting it's audience with the intelligence to make up their own minds and will provoke discussion.   I haven't read the book and obviously fans of the book will be unhappy with chang... More

Posted by scary_ice at 23:35, 15 May 2009 | Report This Post


* SPOILERS AHOY*

I really enjoyed the whole thing. Beautifully shot and great performances all round. One thing that I have not seen mentioned is the dark humour throught the movie. Maybe I have a sick sense of humour but if that is so I was joined by the rest of the audience in the cinema. There were many sniggers when Oskar finally retaliated to the bullies taunts and the swimming pool scene almost had a slapstick quality. I felt the film combined subtlety and gratuitouness, if intentional, I applaud fully. It... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by avisie at 23:12, 06 May 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Let The Right One In

L: wgamador L: Gazdance ]that there should have been more mystery around the killings carried out by Eli's 'father'.  He's an inept killer that you certainly wonder how no one notices him given that Gosta just happens upon Eli murdering Jocke.  The murders seem to have little impact on the community./quote] Excellent point(s) .... I want to read more of your opinions because you narrowed down exactly why I was torn between really liking this film or just thinking... More

Posted by Gazdance at 17:58, 06 May 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Let The Right One In

L: Gazdance ]that there should have been more mystery around the killings carried out by Eli's 'father'.  He's an inept killer that you certainly wonder how no one notices him given that Gosta just happens upon Eli murdering Jocke.  The murders seem to have little impact on the community./quote]   Excellent point(s) .... I want to read more of your opinions because you narrowed down exactly why I was torn between really liking this film or just thinking it was 'ok... More

Posted by wgamador at 14:21, 05 May 2009 | Report This Post


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