Starring: Kåre Hedebrant, Lina Leandersson, Per Ragnar
Director: Tomas Alfredson
Running Time: 115 mins
Let The Right One In (Låt den rätte komma in) is a Swedish film about a bullied young boy who meets a mysterious girl in his apartment complex, with whom he develops a strong bond that helps him to regain strength in his own life.
This isn’t necessarily the most thrilling film I’ve ever seen, but it is an effectively dark and unsettling one. Let The Right One In shines in its tense portrayal of coming of age, as well as in its directing and acting, however its story, with elements of supernatural horror, are never quite as powerful or unnerving as the film thinks they are.
However, this film is an engaging and entertaining watch overall thanks to its very dark atmosphere. Disregarding whether the horror element works for you or not, Tomas Alfredson does an excellent job from start to finish to make this film feel deeply unsettling in every way. It’s very quiet, and most scenes are shot in darkness or dull light, so there is a consistently gloomy vibe lurking over you throughout, often even getting right under your skin as the film ramps up in its second half.
Another element where the darkness shines through well is the performances. Kåre Hedebrant is brilliant in the lead role, playing a young boy who, while scared and timid on the outside, is hungry for revenge on those who torment him, and he played that contrast very effectively throughout.
Meanwhile, Lina Leandersson is hugely impressive as the mysterious girl who appears to be linked to a series of murders in the neighbourhood. Although her character isn’t anywhere near as interesting, she plays a very difficult role calmly and convincingly, ending up as the most believable element of the supernatural horror story in the whole film.
And that’s where my issue with Let The Right One In comes in. The film’s portrayal of the developing relationship between the two young leads is fascinating and tense, but the way in which it often breaks off to a horror-based story was continually frustrating to see. Despite shining in a very tender human element, whenever the film goes for shock value with blood and gore, or attempts to use the supernatural horror to put across a point about the characters, it just didn’t convince me, and I found myself often bored whenever the film was focussing too much on that part of the story.
Overall, I did like Let The Right One In. I thought that the directing and acting were excellent in putting across a deeply unsettling and tense atmosphere throughout, and I enjoyed the uniquely dark take on the young romance and coming of age genre, but I just couldn’t avoid being frustrated by breaks into horror that I felt were far more jarring than necessary for the story, and that’s why I’m giving Let The Right One In a 7.6.