Featuring the unusual love between an 12-year-old boy, Oskar, and a vampire, Eli; låt den rätte komma in is a refreshing movie in the vampire genre.
Vampire movies are a complicated bunch. We love them when they’re well done, and more often than not, they’re not that well made. One of the few movies to come out of the North that belongs to this genre, 2008 movie Låt den rätte komma in is an daringly refreshing adaptation of the novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist.
Låt den rätte komma in is set in a suburb of Stockholm during the early 1980’s. It centers around the story of Oskar, an adolescent boy struggling with school bullies and other problems of being an adolescent. Oskar lives in a rather bleak neighborhood, and he prefers the solitude of his revenge plans until he meets Eli. Eli has recently moved into the apartment block Oskar lives in, and well, she’s a vampire. They somehow get on well with each other, but as Eli is a vampire, she is caught between the her need to feed on human blood and the warmth of friendship provided by Oskar.
Blackeberg, the suburb in which the movie is set in, is not the usual gothic mansion or the hectic city where Vampire movies are set in. It is an melancholic and rather ordinary small town with ordinary inhabitants. This ordinariness of the setting adds an interesting element to the film, and draws attention to the fact that how the story is unexpectedly human. Even though the film has tons of supernatural elements to it and there’s lots of killing going around; the relationship between Oskar and Eli seems to be..well, an innocent adolescent love that simply knows no boundaries.
While the movie does center around such a romantic plot, it surely does include bleak elements. Blackeberg is surely not a town that has caught up with the splendor of the eighties; it is run down and feels closer to a depressing Soviet settlement rather than a peaceful Swedish town. It’s inhabitants dress in a glamorous eighties way, but still, grey and brown rules the color palette of this movie.
All in all, låt den rätte komma in is a refreshing take on vampire movies. It manages to be both bleak, bizarred, gothic and hearthwarming at the same time, and this tells us a lot about the cinematic value of this interesting Swedish movie.