Sinister Screens

Let the Right One In (2008) ★★★★★

Let the Right One In


Eli is 12 years old. She’s been 12 for over 200 years and she just moved in next door.

Set in 1982 in the suburb of Blackeberg, Stockholm, twelve-year-old Oskar is a lonely outsider, bullied at school by his classmates; at home, Oskar dreams of revenge against a trio of bullies. He befriends his twelve-year-old, next-door neighbor Eli, who only appears at night in the snow-covered playground outside their building.


This is the most beautiful horror film ever made. From a horror fan’s perspective, this truly masters key horror elements such as loneliness, isolation, and the outsider stigma often associated with popular horror villains or monsters. There is deep empathy interwoven throughout this movie. Its visuals emphasize the bleak coldness of the surroundings (snowy apartment grounds in the dead of winter near Stockholm).

Let the Right One In is based on the 2004 novel of the same name by John Ajvide Lindqvist. Lindqvist also wrote the screenplay for the film. Director Tomas Alfredson has melded a masterpiece of haunting atmosphere here. There is such an emphasis on the emotional depth of the characters rather than relying solely on horror elements. There is indeed love in horror and no other film showcases this better than this movie. In addition, the horror elements are also vivid and powerful, so this is not a quiet horror production. It’s brutal, gory and sometimes even shocking.

The two child actors, who were relatively unknown before this film, turn in unforgettable performances. Lina Leandersson as Eli is mesmerizing. She struggles, trapped with a horrible affliction within her forever twelve-year-old body and mind. Kåre Hedebrant as Oskar plays the beaten down, lost and bullied pre-teen whose life is at a crossroads way too early. Together these characters forge a timeless coming-of-age story featuring a true love without the blurred attraction of sex or power. Let the Right One In is reminiscent of an innocent first love in a time before complex dynamics of adulthood take hold.

Few films have manifested the type of raw emotional impact that Let the Right One In has mastered. This movie really strikes at the core of what horror truly is…an emotion. It’s truly an unforgettable classic and a rare 5-star horror movie.

Rating: ★★★★★ (out of 5)

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