White, cold snow and silence in Blackeberg a suburb of Stockholm, Sweden is the set of Tomas Alfredson’s “Let the Right One In”. This is a quiet, subtle, beautiful yet brutal/violent movie about two twelve year old children and their found bond with one another. The two children are a boy who is lonely, bullied, and has golden hair and a pale face and his friend, a girl, who isn’t actually twelve at all, just stuck in a twelve year old body and mind. She is a vampire. Eli the vampire, played by Lena Leandersson, has an incredible and beautiful face. Her eyes are huge and they have an eerie gleam to them. When you first get a close up of her face you know at once she is a monster; not all human. Oskar, the boy played by Kare Hedebrant, is tormented at school by bullies and finds friendship with the vampire Eli who moves in next door. She has a companion, who is an old man, and they share a strange relationship that later turns sad and lonely as the film unfolds. This vampire isn’t a romanticized one who is seductive or who has the trademark fangs like in “Twilight” or even “True Blood”, the two more recent additions to the vampire genre. She is more creature-like, a monster. There is no full showing of her as the monster however. We only get beautiful hints….
Whenever Eli moves she has these subtle actions or gestures that make her look like she is an animal, quick and light. It seems that gravity does not have any effect on her at times. There is one scene where the two friends walk into a completely dark room and before Oskar turns on the lights you see her eyes glowing as they try to get used to the light. Or, when the boy cuts himself so they can be “blood buddies”, drips blood on the floor. She lets out an inhuman growl like sound and ravenously falls to the floor to lap it up with a tongue that is too long to be human. Eli vows to protect Oskar and tells him to stick up for himself. Her love and protection of him springs out of her an intense vengeance that culminates into such a fierce ending, that after the last shot, I felt an unlikely cross between strong feelings of fear and happiness. This isn’t just a vampire movie, it is so much more. Please, please see this movie. Don’t let the label of horror genre keep you from seeing this quiet, lonely movie about true friendship at its most extreme.