Let the Right One In
Photos and Video
Winner of the Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature! Special Awards Screenings of this film will be held on May 4th (see schedule for details).
As much coming-of-age story as vampire tale, Let the Right One In is anomalously both elliptical and tender and does its unsettling work quietly. Twelve-year-old Oskar lives in a drab village outside Stockholm, where by day he's the victim of relentless bullying, and by night he dreams of revenge. Slipping out of sight of his single mother, Oskar fills a notebook with news on the gruesome killings that have set neighborhood nerves on edge-someone is tying people up, breaking their necks, and draining their blood-and rehearses knife moves in the icy courtyard of his apartment complex. One night, an apparition appears on the decaying jungle gym behind him: Eli, the new girl next door. The two misfits befriend each other, Eli coaching Oskar in bravery, Oskar awakening Eli's hunger for love. But Eli, alas, needs something more-blood. Director Tomas Alfredson treats the fantastic as the everyday stuff of life in Let the Right One In. Though there are moments of gore, Alfredson handles them with a restrained precision, and the eerie stillness of the scenes makes them shudderingly memorable. Though dark themes prevail, the essence of the film lies mainly in the relationship between Oskar and Eli, tactfully portrayed by the talented young actors. The two emit a natural innocence even within the gloomy storyline, conveying a constant sense of hope. Alfredson and screenwriter John Ajvide Lindqvist gracefully adapted the film from Lindqvist's bestselling book of the same name, holding true to the chilling yet beautiful source material.
Director's Statement Collapse
1982. A country that keeps going despite everything. Despite the February cold, which has made the landscape come to a halt, frozen the water in the lakes, and made the branches on the trees as tense as violin strings. The birds have flown to somewhere less desolate and the bears are sunk in deep sleep. Cities keep going in spite of it all. The shimmering green of the street lights keeping the darkness at bay over salted and gritted streets. The oil from a distant land burning in the boiler rooms of the concrete blocks. The people who live there. Preserving the hope of the exact opposite of all this. Coming home, taking off their damp winter boots, acrylic jumpers crackling over their heads, snagging nylon tights, burled wall-to-wall carpet, all that humming electricity.
The hardworking mothers in the suburbs, the faithful fathers scraping the frost off their SAAB's, the children who regardless of the darkness get up at seven and head off to school, where they all dutifully finish their plates of liver.
Everyone reads one of two newspapers in the morning, one of two at night, watches one of two news shows in which politicians go on about that submarine that ran aground of the coast. Two ways of thinking, red or blue. How do they stand it, those who live there in spite of it all? The people who don't turn to each other for warmth, who hold their tongues and turn their backs for fear of cracking into pieces like statues, for fear of killing each other?
When I read John Ajvide Lindqvists novel Let The Right One In last summer I knew that I absolutely had to share this story on film. It's a feeling you only get with one script or novel in a hundred. Most of the time there are parts of the material that grab me—a feeling here, a detail there, an urge to get my greedy hands on it and start rewriting. This time it was different. This is a story that is both grand literature and a fantastic drama. Despite the depressing background of a leaden, grey Sweden, the harsh social conditions, the bullying and the bloody violence, I see it as a romantic love story with a hopeful and happy ending. I see the same dynamics between the dark background and the light foreground as in the stories of Charles Dickens, or the classical writers of horror, for that matter.
This is an entertaining film rich in social pathos and an in-depth knowledge of mankind, capable of attracting a mass audience without being flat or calculating. I also believe that its unequivocal
Swedishness lends it great opportunities for international success.
Film Information Collapse
[LETTH] | 2008 | 114 | Narrative Feature
Directed by: Tomas Alfredson
Foreign Title: (Låt den rätte komma in)
Premiere: North American
Cast & Credits Collapse
Principal Cast Kåre Hedebrant, Lina Leandersson, Per Ragnar, Henrik Dahl, Karin Bergquist, Peter Carlberg
Screenwriter John Ajvide Lindqvist
Producers John Nordling, Carl Molinder
Director of Photography Hoyte vaj Hoytema
Editors Dino Jonsäter, Tomas Alfredson
Composer Johan Söderqvist
About the Director(s)Collapse
Tomas Alfredson (b. 1965, Stockholm) is an autodidact filmmaker who has directed several TV series as well as a couple of feature films. Alfredson's acclaimed 2004 feature Four Shades of Brown (Fyra nyanser av brunt) received four National Film Awards (Guldbagge), and the film had its international premiere in Rotterdam. He is a member of the comedy group Killinggänget, which wrote the script for Four Shades of Brown.