While Let the Right One In can technically be called a vampire story, it is not really in essence a vampire story. It is instead the story of two young individuals who meet under unusual circumstances, and form a close bond despite the uncertainties that lie between them. It is an extremely personal tale, one that eschews regular horror and vampire conventions in favor of interpersonal drama and subdued emotion, and for me it worked out very, very well. The film still holds true to the very essences of vampirism, as inferred by the title, and places the classical conventions in a more modern setting without devolving into more radical interpretations of what vampires are and what they can do; this is one that sticks to its realism quite well.
I don’t even really know where to begin about this one; it is that muted in its appeal and its impact. Even the film’s more chilling moments happen with an air of almost insignificance, and the more calm and reserved moments are given added emphasis thanks to the score. It all evens out into a single, almost monotonish emotional structure that nevertheless provides ample opportunity for self-integration; we choose to feel what the characters feel, and that immerses us even deeper into their story. The ever-present coldness of the climate of both the location and the film itself adds to the effect; there were a few times when the mood of the film, coupled with some of the more creepy moments, made me want to physically shiver. I’ve rarely had such a reaction to a movie before, and it elevated this one that much higher on my recommendation list.
The two young leads who play Oskar and Eli are both absolutely perfect; Ive said it before and I’ll likely say it again, I don’t know what it is about the young and the old that gives them such amazing acting prowess, but this film would not have worked had these two characters not been properly cast and directed, and they absolutely nailed it. Really, everything about this one just nails it dead on, from the atmosphere to the narrative to the pacing; everything is just really well done, and it’s that much more effective to boot. If you’re in the mood for something a little more sombre and reticent in how it tells its story to you, but still tells a powerfully affecting tale (and of course, you don’t mind subtitles), Let the Right One In is a horror picture that will be right up your alley.
Arbitrary Rating: 9/10