‘Let The Right One In’ Wins With Its Innocent Love Story In This Week’s BITN

There’s no denying vampires and werewolves have enraptured us of late. But society’s interest in the supernatural is nothing new. Cinematic history is chock full of flicks focusing on otherworldly beings. With more than a year (!!) until our favorite vampire franchise returns with “Breaking Dawn,” we’re passing the time by revisiting movies featuring creatures that go Bump In The Night or BITN (get it, bitten?).

September Is BITN By Vampires!

This week we’re taking a look at “Let The Right One In,” the hit Swedish film about a young boy who befriends a vampire and was remade in Hollywood as “Let Me In,” starring Chloe Moretz and Kodi Smit-McPhee, out Oct. 1.

Directed by: Tomas Alfredson
Starring: Kåre Hedebrant, Lina Leandersson, Per Ragnar
Release date: January 26, 2008

Synopsis: Twelve-year-old Oskar, a meek child living in a suburb in Sweden, meets a girl of his own age named Eli. She initially tells him they cannot be friends, but soon they become very close, and she encourages him to stand up to the bullies who bother him at school. However, as strange things start happening in the small town, Eli’s true vampire nature is revealed, and Oskar and Eli’s friendship becomes threatened by opposing forces.

Representation of vampires: What makes “Let The Right One In” so beautiful is its subtly. Unlike the other films we’ve looked at in previous BITN posts, the true nature of what it means to be a vampire is never explored in this film. It is true that vampires thirst for blood, and that when they are hit by sunlight they burst into flames (as shown by the ill-fated Virginia), but beyond that, vampire weaknesses and stereotypical vampire traits are never fully developed.

Good or evil: Eli definitely isn’t evil, and there is a sad shroud of innocence that surrounds her (him? It?) throughout the film. But still, as a vampire she has killed many people and causes those around her lots of harm, so she isn’t purely good either. Her relationship with Oskar is definitely a sign that she can love others, but her twisted and ultimately disastrous relationship with Håkan shows what that kind of innocence can eventually develop into. Ironically, it is that subtly that makes Eli relatably human despite the fact she is a vampire.

Why we’re BITN: Beyond the fact that this film is so darn good lies the fact that it’s simply unlike any other vampire film we’ve ever seen before. Really, it’s a character study about childhood and isolation and these very unfortunate, sad characters, that happens to be told through the guise of a vampire horror flick (though I think it’s fair to argue that “Let The Right One In” isn’t a particularly scary horror movie). The innocent love that forms between Oskar and Eli is also wonderful to behold, especially his unconditional acceptance of her for all of her flaws and abnormalities. Plus, the Swedish landscapes shown through the cinematography (done by Hoyte van Hoytema) is simply breathtaking.

Have you seen “Let the Right One In”?

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