Let the Right One In

2008

Let the Right One In

Critics Consensus

Let the Right One In reinvigorates the seemingly tired vampire genre by effectively mixing scares with intelligent storytelling.

98%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 187

90%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 61,212
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Movie Info

A 12-year-old boy befriends a mysterious young girl whose appearance in town suspiciously coincides with a horrifying series of murders in director Tomas Alfredson's adaptation of the book by author John Ajvide Lindqvist, who also wrote the screenplay. Oskar is a young boy who can't seem to shake off the local bullies, but all of that begins to change when a new neighbor moves in next door. After striking up an innocent friendship with his eccentric next-door neighbor, Oskar realizes that she is the vampire responsible for the recent rash of deaths around town. Despite the danger, however, Oskar's friendship with the girl ultimately takes precedence over his fear of her.

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Critic Reviews for Let the Right One In

All Critics (187) | Top Critics (44)

  • Sinister but gorgeous and compelling.

    Oct 7, 2013 | Full Review…
  • A remarkably moving horror tale, about a pale, bullied twelve-year-old boy (Kåre Hedebrant) and his first love (Lina Leandersson), who happens to be a vampire.

    Oct 7, 2013 | Full Review…
  • Lovelier than most bloodsucker flicks, but it doesn't quite transcend its well-chewed genre.

    Jul 6, 2010 | Full Review…

    Mark Jenkins

    NPR
    Top Critic
  • Calling to mind the work of Anne Rice and Stephen King, atmospheric adaptation of Swedish author John Ajvide Lindqvist's bestseller is well directed by his countryman Tomas Alfredson.

    Jul 6, 2010

    Alissa Simon

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • A true original: love story, horror film and social drama. At once brilliant in its parts, and more than the sum of them.

    Apr 17, 2009 | Rating: 5/5
  • Let the Right One In has invention and stamina, a rich arterial flow of fear.

    Apr 17, 2009 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Let the Right One In

  • Dec 29, 2016
    a very very good norwegian romance horror. it's definitely a right one to let into your horror colllection. would even go so far as to say it's 1 of the top 2 or 3 movies i've seen this year of any genre. certainly the best horror i've seen since orphan. my only complaint was the ending felt a little bit too simple but it's a very minor negative in what is an overall refreshingly exemplary non-lovey dovey take on the subject. SPOILER ALERT coz i gotta say it... it's the best vampire film since interview!
    Sanity Assassin ! Super Reviewer
  • Jul 07, 2014
    A spectacular, genre-blending treat that manages to balance a harrowing, dark tone with honest emotion and narrative subtexts. Not all is spelled out for viewers, but those willing to put forth the necessary thought will be treated to a profoundly personal cinematic delight.
    Isaac H Super Reviewer
  • Sep 15, 2013
    Jeez, I've heard of taking sides, but come on, people, what about the left one? It's a cheesy joke, I know, but I just couldn't help myself, and besides it was either that or a reference to "Let the Right One In", and you don't know cheesy until you evoke Morrissey, one of the innovators of indie music. At any rate, if I'm going to be referencing any modern rock song, especially in a discussion about a Swedish film, chances are that it's by The Flower Kings, but I don't even know if they fit here, because as this film most definitely will most definitely you, Roine Stolt is probably the only modern Swedish artist whose efforts are upbeat, or rather, not deeply disturbing to some extent. I was going to try and figure out some way to deem this "Twilight" for kids or something, but as if "Twilight" didn't seem neutered enough for you, man, the pre-teen children in this film get themselves mixed up in some messed up shenanigans. Only in Stockholm can stuff like this happen, or at least in a suburb named Blackeberg, which sounds either foreboding, - what with the "black" in its name and whatnot - or, well, a black Jew. Oh, shoot, now we've Jewish Blackulas to deal, so I guess that effectively contradicts the idea that Chloë Grace Moretz is too perfect to be in "Carrie", because there's no getting pig blood on that girl, unless, of course, she gets the pork rinds out of. Man, that statement is all kinds of ignorant, and not just to Jews and blacks, but because I'm recognizing Lina Leandersson's role in this film through Moretz's portrayal of it in my native language of Americanese, rather than appreciating the original work of art, regardless of the language barriers and blah-blah-blah. Hey, jerks, even The Flower Kings had to realize that they were going to be low-profile enough without singing in English, though that might just be because their lyrics are hard enough to understand in English ("I may be a stray dog, mama, but my mind is as clear as ever; I'm as free as a... fish!"... Vad? Jag visste att jag skulle jobba i en Flower Kings lyrisk referens någonstans här), because Swedish stuff is still worth checking out if you have to have subtitles handy, as this film will tell you... I think (The subtitles might not be completely accurate), but not without making plenty of moves that distance you about as much as the subtitles. Okay, now, first off, considerable shortcomings in this film can be found within its concept alone, because there's a certain thinness to the weight and scope of this drama that limits potential, and it doesn't help that this story concept also has some glaringly questionable elements to the characters we apparently need to be highly invested in, and even gets to be a touch histrionic at times. The foundation upon which this drama is built is sturdy enough for plenty of potential to stand its ground just fine I suppose, but it's still pretty shaky, so in order for this film to really soak up potential compellingness, it needs to keep things pumping, rather than drag its feet as much as this film does. This film goes a very artistic route when it comes to setting up mood, and that means that it takes way too much time meditating upon nothing but nothing, until it finds itself meandering along and dragging down momentum, occasionally into aimlessness, which would be easier to excuse if this film's storytelling wasn't as atmospherically limp as it is structurally limp. Director Tomas Alfredson relies a lot on quietness and sober intensity to drive the tension that in turn drives this art thriller, and such a method often works, but when it doesn't, oh boy, it does anything but engage, drying out the atmosphere until things start to bland up substantially, then continue on until, before you know it, it's dulling things down. I'm not going to lie, the film is boring in a lot of places, and beyond natural shortcomings, that is its biggest problem, because when the chilled momentum isn't completely disengaging you, it's all but placing pacing at a stand-still, and therefore giving you too much time to meditate upon the natural shortcomings, which are emphasized just as much by, of all things, too much atmospheric spirit. When the air in this film isn't dry, it's coated with a sense of overambition that Alfredson probably shouldn't be having, because potential is limited, and the artistic touches that Alfredson work in don't always work, and a film with a formula like that is doomed to collapse into underwhelmingness. This is that kind of film, and yet, while the final product is indeed underwhelming, glimpses into what could have been break up a consistency in some degree of engagement value, or at least consistency in a considerable degree of artistic value. Like I said, this is a very quiet film, so Johan Söderqvist's score is pretty rarely played up, but when it does finally arise, it's actually quite worthy of the patience, having a breathtakingly tasteful minimalism and airiness to it whose subtle grace is both beautiful by its own right and complimentary to the tonal dynamicity of this drama. When the film is tense, Söderqvist's efforts are haunting, and when the film is more tender, Söderqvist breathes life into resonance that should be more recurring throughout the final product, but either way, the musical artistry of the film is impressive, much like the visual artistry, as Hoyte van Hoytema's cinematography has a certain cold color to it that is often kind of flat, but just as often draws the darker elements of the visuals with a striking ruggedness, as well as the crisper moments quite warmly. Juggling sparse lighting that all but stuns when it livens up, this film's visual style is pretty neo-gothic, as is Söderqvist's score, so from an artistic style standpoint, this effort pretty much excels, thus making problematic substance the key culprit behind the undercutting of potential that, make no mistake, is, in fact, there. This film's story concept is a bit too minimalist for its own good, and the overly arty, and therefore overly steady interpretation of such a compliment doesn't exactly make compellingness any firmer, but this is still a pretty promising tale that carries rather unique and layered elements, brought to life by genuine highlights in the effectiveness of Tomas Alfredson's very sparse storytelling, which blands things up quite a bit, to be sure, but about as often successfully establishes a chilling atmosphere that stresses the sting of the disturbances, and sometimes even establishes a more heartfelt atmosphere that stresses resonance. This drama is kind of moving at times, and when it's not, well, it's kind of boring, but then it will tense up a bit and keep you going, and while that little system that Alfredson sets up isn't going to craft a truly rewarding final product, it gets you by, but not without the help of the onscreen talent, particularly the newcoming talents. Most everyone is decent in this film, but really, of all people, it's the very young leads who really keep things about as alive as it can be with underwriting, as they share fine chemistry and impress by their own individual rights, with Kåre Hedebrant being thoroughly convincing as a creepy youngster who finds the monotony in his life broken by extraordinary and dangerous situations, while Lina Leandersson proves to be effective as a violent, but guilty creature, disguised a simply quiet person. Sure, the quietness of our leads' performances reflect a certain laziness in character writing that holds the young talents back, but when material comes, Hedebrant and Leandersson deliver, as surely as Alfredson delivers as director when he finds the opportunity, and such performances aren't enough to make all that rewarding of a film, but they certainly go into crafting a decent film, just one that could have been more. To summarize, thin subject matter weight, questionably drawn characters and some histrionics reflect natural shortcomings that go emphasized enough by limp dragging, dulling atmospheric coldness and overambition for the final product to fall as pretty underwhelming, but still stand as decent on the backs of strong score work, lovely cinematography, highlights in a unique, if dramatically limited story concept, effective moments within Tomas Alfredson's gothic atmosphere, and strong performances by Kåre Hedebrant and Lina Leandersson that secure "Let the Right One In" as a decent and often effective dramatic thriller, even if it is all too often loose with its take on the term [u]thrill[/u]er. 2.5/5 - Fair
    Cameron J Super Reviewer
  • Jun 25, 2013
    "Let the Right One In" comes as a surprise to me because I detest films focused on vampirism. Works like "Twilight," "The Hunger" and HBO's "True Blood" are so bogged down by melodrama and tired clichés that it's refreshing to see the genre done some good. Tomas Alfredson seems like he was the perfect choice as director and the whole thing looks very sleek and stylish. As well, the performance from Kare Hedebrant as Oskar makes for an incredibly sympathetic character. "Let the Right One In" is startling and violent and scary, but most of all, original.
    Stephen E Super Reviewer

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