I wanted to choose a horror film for the month of October, as is customary for the month of Halloween. But, since I’m not the biggest fan of horror films, I went with Let the Right One In. A film I was assured ‘wasn’t that scary.’
I know that some horror films can be very good films, so if one is a classic I will endeavour to add it to my list and make sure it eventually gets watched. But silly scary films don’t make the cut. There will be no Japanese horror films on my list. Or Thai. Or Cambodian. Basically none from that side of the world.
I’m imagining a sliding scale of ‘a fantastic film’ and ‘not that scary.’ So if a film is amazing, I’ll forgive it for being a little scary. And if a film isn’t that scary, I’ll forgive it for not being great. But watching a silly scary film that’s also mediocre? Life’s too short for that crap.
This is a long way of saying that I didn’t care if I didn’t like Let the Right One In, I just hoped it wouldn’t keep me up at night. For realsies, I’m a wimp.
Let The Right One In
I didn’t know what the eff was going on for the first fifteen minutes. Oskar, a very intriguing blonde haired and blue eyed boy, is being bullied by his classmates and he often fantasizes about fighting back. One night, he meets the mysterious Eli. She has just moved into the apartment next door and is also 12-years-old.
The two outsiders soon become friends but Eli has a big secret that somehow connects her to the murders that have been happening in this rather ordinary suburb.
The style and themes
You know what? I really loved this film. It’s so not a horror, more of a slightly gory romance/coming of age film. The film is more about acceptance and finding your place in this crazy world. There was something so tender and natural about helping out someone more in need than yourself to feel better about your own situation.
And the film was made 110% better by being set in the 1980s. I’m beginning to think that most films set even twenty years in the past have such fantastic advantages simply because of the invention of mobile phones and the progression of computers. The film is set in snowy Sweden with most scenes taking place in Oskar’s apartment block and school, and there was something about the isolation and desolate nature of the setting that really made it feel like strange things could happen there. It reminds me of Fargo (1996) and The Thing (1982) in which horrible events occur in the harshest of environments.
Oskar and Eli’s relationship is one I think a lot of us can relate to, or at least want to. They are both outsiders, yes, but in very different ways. Contrary to the cliche, Oskar’s parents may be separated but he seems to be treated well by both. He’s not using Eli as an escape to a horrible home life, though he doesn’t seem to connect with them very well. He is bullied very badly and this clearly runs through his mind often.
Eli is different for a very different reason which I don’t want to spoil, and her relationship with her ‘dad’ is an enigma, which doesn’t really get resolved. All we know is that Oskar seems to have taken over that role of caregiver. It gives him a purpose and it fulfils him.
The supporting characters also add a lot to the film, but I can’t help wondering that Eli’s involvement in a LOT of murders over the year hasn’t been found out. Is it because she is just so dangerous no one has even gotten close to catching her? Is it because she’s always managed to have help? Or is it because she’s a 12-year-old girl, and we can’t help but feel sorry for her. Because even though she is what she is, she’s still innocent. She still has basic needs like everyone else and though we might not quite be as troubled as her or Oskar, we can certainly relate. A very human story if I ever watched one!
Have you ever seen Let The Right One In? Did you enjoy it as much as I did? Let me know in the comments below!