‘Let The Right One In’ in review

A Swedish take on the vampire genre

More stories from Alivia Kistler


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An innocent boy and a supernatural girl find themselves in the middle of the recent murders in their town.

The 2008 Swedish romantic horror film directed by Tomas Alfredson, “Let the Right One In,” is showing this weekend at the Woodland Theater.

This film was based on a 2004 book with the same title written by John Ajvide Lindqvist; Lindqvist also wrote the screenplay.

The plot focuses on a 12-year-old boy named Oskar. He is constantly bullied in school and does not have any friends, until he meets an interesting girl who suddenly comes to town. Her appearance corresponds to murders that have just taken place in the town, and Oskar suspects she is more than just a new friend. It turns out she is a vampire, and though Oskar is terrified of her their friendship may be enough to persuade him to keep close to her.

The most challenging part of production was the casting of the two main characters; Tomas Alfredson said it took nearly a year to find the two leads, as there are no professional child actors in Sweden. Alfredson also wanted to find kids who would fit many people’s images of what the book characters looked like, so this added an extra element of difficulty.

The sound of the movie is very muted. Alfredson said he wanted to capture the silence of the Sweden after a big snowfall and used that inspiration when including, or excluding, music. He said the team recorded sounds of the actor’s bodies moving for some scenes to add more natural sounds. As for the aesthetic of the film, the director and writer looked at Renaissance paintings to match the lighting and color palettes of some paintings they found would match the style of their film.

Rotten Tomatoes rated the film with a score of 98 percent, and audiences rated it 90 percent. Critics said this movie is a fresh look at the vampire genre and that the film pairs horror with an interesting story very effectively. This movie was as well-received in America as it was in Sweden.

The atmosphere of the film was enjoyable. It was dark and there wasn’t too much background noise, which gave it an unsettling feeling. It was interesting that the film focused on children rather than teenagers or adults like many American horror films typically do. Through having children as the primary source of the horror it made the movie creepier.

The critics were correct when they complemented the film’s approach to having a vampire character. The director took the vampire genre seriously and avoided having a cliche representation of the monsters, making the film interesting to watch as many people are used to the overdone, stereotypical vampire characters. It would be interesting to read the book to see how it compares to the film, and to see how the book translated to the screen.

Admission to see “Let the Right One In” in the Davies Center Woodland Theater is free for students.