Weekly Horror: Let the Right One In

This article is part of a series. Throughout the month of October PCI members will be sharing some of their favorite horror films.

The portrayal of vampires in film has experienced an interesting change in the last fifteen or so years. For many years, vampires were seen as a source of dread and fear. However, with the advent of films like Interview with the Vampire (1994) and, more recently, the Twilight saga, the image of vampires has become more sympathetic and romanticized. Let the Right One In, a 2009 Swedish horror film, denies such an interpretation, and instead uses the violence and brutality of the vampiric nature to personify the dangerous and uncomfortable undercurrent that can result due to repressed anger and childhood trauma.

Let the Right One In is a film adaptation of the 2004 novel of the same name by John Lindqvist. The film and the novel explore the relationship between a troubled twelve-year-old boy and his mysterious new neighbor. The two of them, though differing in origin and motivation, provide comfort for each other in ways that neither of them could have ever imagined. The film maintains many of the plot elements as the novel, but leaves many of the motivations and characteristics of the characters up to interpretation. This decision gives the viewer more of an opportunity to engage with and immerse themselves in the film. However, one important aspect that the film that is not as elaborated upon in the novel is the use of nature. Sweden’s winter season, as portrayed in the film, presents itself as its own character. It represents a microcosm of the characters who, like the snow, appear to be serene and unassuming, but, when disturbed, reveal a ferocious darkness underneath.

This film provides, along with other elements, an objective viewpoint of the cruelty that can exist in all people, no matter their age or position. All of the characters in the film perform horrible and selfish actions onto themselves and to the people they love. However, the film does not necessarily reprimand these people, but instead presents them as multi-faceted and a product of a larger force. Let the Right One In, though containing supernatural elements characteristic of a standard horror movie flick, is not necessarily confined to those identifiers. This film transcends those elements and instead provides an important aspect of human nature that many of us try to hide. Suffice to say, the film is definitely worth checking out at any occasion.