Let The Right One In
Edmund Townend 05/05/2009
With the atrocious teen abstinence program that is 'Twilight' out on DVD recently copies of which were snapped up by the screaming, clutching hands of pale-faced British actor-obsessed teenage girls (and boys) who long for dangerous liaisons with demons of the night, it's good to take a good clean bite out of a new vampire film which draws on the complete opposite of the emotional spectrum.
“Let The Right One In” is set in unabashed reality and is a far cry from the polished vampire films of late, with its subject matter also completely unfamiliar. 12-year-olds Oskar and Eli drive the narrative with their naïve, unstoppable friendship mixed with their suspicion and fear of one another. The sub-plots all eventually merge into their destiny together, but the unexplained back stories of the characters frustrate the audience's imagination to breaking point.
Certain scenes here are so incredibly horrifying yet realistic that they'll leave you shaking. The stark Swedish landscape plays host to a blood-splattered gore-fest set against an incredibly shy and touching relationship. The separation between adults and children defines the roles and the cold-blooded anger in the children shows how merciless ignored victims can become. Especially realistic is the idea of revenge, and how far it can be taken - mirroring the horrific massacres and murder perpetrated by children and teenagers against one another in the last twenty years.
The fantasy is there, but it's depicted so clearly and without any reservations that it's hard to distinguish the fakery from the emotion. Although some unbelievable events occur, the idea of a community shaken by unexplained murder and terror is all too recognisable. The film only touches upon the word vampire once, and is dismissed. The horror is all too real, especially when the innocent eyes of Oskar see too much in Eli's terrifying existence. Along with the gore, the reality behind the anguish and fragility is chilling.
There are some fantastically real moments, as it is obvious most scenes are done in one take and completely natural (allowing for some slips of the tongue and improvisation) but the content is also far too terrible to allow the audience to accept it. Although the film is only certificated 15, the undertones are far more shocking. The classification may be there for face value alone, but this is not a run-of-the-mill gore fest. There is deep meaning behind every shocking twist and it could leave the viewer disturbed when they cannot separate the incredibly vivid story from reality.
“Let The Right One In” as a title is based on the idea that you can only invite a vampire into your home, it cannot enter freely. When Oskar dares Eli to do so without his permission, the consequences are terrible. This idea is a metaphor for the film. The relationship between the two is unforgiving, but undeniable and the outcome is extreme.