Let The Right One In Review

Ok this is gonna be a long one.

I recently got accepted to Newcastle college to do a media production course (YAY) and for a quick assignment we were asked to do a review of the 2008 Let the right one in.

And here it is….

Let The Right One in (“Låt den rätte komma in” to give the film it’s original Swedish name) directed by Tomas Alfredson, released in 2008 is a curious coming of age horror thriller set in the early 80’s in a sub-urban area called Blackeberg just outside of Stockholm in Sweden.
The film was adapted from a novel of the same title written by John Adjive Lindqvist who also penned the script for the film, this I believe helped the film in a lot of ways as Lindqvist could keep the film as true to the book as possible and therefore satisfy fans of the novel and also give those who hadn’t read the book a chance to see the characters in more depth that he had created.
The film follows the life of Oskar played by Kåre Hedebrant , a lonely, shy and reclusive young boy who is tortured daily either at school by the sadistic class bully Conny (Patrik Rydmark) or at home where he is used as an emotional vent by his divorced and equally lonely mother Yvonne (Karin Bergquist) From the outset of the film we only ever see Oskar alone, the only time he is seen with other people is in very short periods of time, however he appears used to this and shows no signs of wanting or needing friends. Oskar only seems to seek vengeance on those who have hurt him (which seems to be everyone he has encountered) with in the 1st few scene’s we see that Oskar often carries a small knife with him inside a secret pocket in his coat which he uses in his vengeful fantasies of stabbing and hurting others, this could also show the only way Oskar is able to feel in control and empowered as he is unwilling to stand up to those who tease and abuse him in person.
However Oskars’ life is changed when he is bewitched by an evenly weird and reclusive girl called Eli who has just moved in next door with her “father”.
Eli played by Lina Leandersson appears to be nothing more than just another strange addition to the housing complex where both her and Oskar live.
However after Eli’s “father” Håkan, having killed a man fails to return with a bucket of the mans blood – after being scared off by one nosey poodle and some late night walkers – we learn that there is a lot more to Eli than meets the eye as she hides in the shadows of a underground pass and lures one of her new neighbours towards her before she suck him dry of all blood in his body.
Eli isn’t your normal pre-teen vamp however as she seems to try and quell her vampiric needs for as long as possible inbetween meals although by doing this it causes her body to begin to fall apart, nevertheless after devouring a healthy dose of haemoglobin it really amplifies how animalistic her vampiric personality can be changing her from a fresh healthy young girl to a gaunt, dishevelled rotting corpse.

Both Hedebrant and Leandersson despite being both fairly young deliver and very strong and mature performance that many actors their age and older would struggle to put across in a film like this.
The cinematography by Hoyte van Hoytem really helps the audience get a strong sense of understanding to the emotion’s portrayed by the two central characters, a lot of the time when we see Oskar its very common for a wide shot or long shot to be used to show the audience the lack of human life surrounding the boy giving it a strong sense of loneliness this is also shown many times when we see Eli on her own outside too, this also helps the viewer draw a connection with the two characters and see how they strongly they reflect each others personalities.
The theme of suffering is also something portrayed very well through the cinematography, this is shown many times when Eli is most hungry and we are shown close ups of her eyes and face contorting with hunger pains and when Oskar is being bullied or attacked by Conny where we get a medium close up of Oskars face scrunching his face in pain.
There is also a strong sense of confinement throughout the film but the strongest is given by the use of the housing complex and Oskars’ mothers’ determination for him to not leave the courtyard, apart from when Oskar is at school he is rarely shown outside the complex even in the scene’s not involving either Oskar or Eli confinement seems to play a large part in the feel of the film. During the scene when Håkan is collecting blood for Eli he is surrounded by woodland and a strong ink black darkness which gives connotations of a lack of escape and that this is the life these characters are forced to live.
One thing i believe helps this film stand out among all other horror films was its use of sound.
The use of sound in this film is unlike anything heard in any movie the sound team lead by sound-designer; Per Sundström used as much natural sound as possible including character heart beats, licking of their lips, swallowing and breathing and enhanced it during post production this added to the general lack of a soundtrack creates a very disturbing sound to the film and during the 2008 Swedish Guldbagge film awards the team was awarded Best Achievement for the films “nightmarishly great sound” [http://www.sfi.se/en-gb/Press/Press-archive/2008-Guldbagge-Award-Winners/]
To me this film is a remarkable return to good classic horror films, the gore used in it was not overdone or used in the gallons, it didn’t rely on petty jump’s or scare tactics to unnerve the viewer but took a generally good horror story adapted it to fit the screen and used the true acting talent of all actors involved mixed it with superb sounds and visual effects and came out with a actual good original horror film which is a very rare thing nowadays

Yer its a great film if u havnt seen it i would DEFF recommend. so apart from that not much else been going on cept i had my hair cut… hopefully once my course started properly i’ll have fun things to talk about 🙂



~ by jayveesmirf on September 12, 2011.

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