Let the Right One In
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Synopsis: Set in 1982 in the suburb of Blackeberg, Stockholm, twelve-year-old Oskar is a lonely outsider, bullied at school by his classmates; at home, Oskar dreams of revenge against a trio of bullies. He befriends his twelve-year-old, next-door neighbor Eli, who only appears at night in the snow-covered playground outside their building.
I recently purchased the Blu-ray release of Let the Right One In of this film so this is the watching experience I am going to discuss in this review not the streaming experience on Amazon Prime. My setup at home is 65” Samsung Television with a Samsung A950 soundbar and the Sony UBP-X800M2 4K Blu-Ray Player
I was really excited to revisit Let the Right One In, it is a film I watched for the first time back on 10/8/2022 and I loved it on first viewing. The release of on Blu-ray is really great, the sound is the DTS-Master 5.1 track is atmospheric and extremely subtle. The visuals are crisp and clear, the color palette is also crisp and cool, aligned to the entire story. There are both the Swedish 5.1 track and the English 5.1 dubbed track, let me tell you stick the the original Swedish track and turn on the English closed captions. The reason I will have suggested staying in the original language above and beyond anything else is that the dubbed track is less atmospheric and mudded the great 5.1 environmental sound, finally the children actors are have soft and specific cadences.
The film revolves around the two children mentioned previously, we are introduced to Oskar initially played by Kåre Hedebrant a sweet boy that is 12 years old and is being bullied at school. Next we meet Eli played by the amazing Lina Leandersson who comes to meet Oskar at the jungle gym after moving into the apartment complex he lives in. The first interaction is the awkward meeting of two children in which Eli after hearing Oskar play out stabbing his bullies is standing on top of the jungle gym, letting him know that they can’t be friends. There is a brutal honesty in the interaction that anyone who has lived through making new friends as a child that we all have experienced. They have three meetings at this jungle gym in the quad in front of their buildings, including where Oskar tells Eli she smells weird, and eventually Oskar being completely confused how Eli doesn’t know her exact age and birthdate, since this is one of the most important and obvious aspects of Oskar’s life.
When Eli moves in she is accompanied by an older man named Håkan played by Per Ragnar and we see him initially cover the windows of their apartment, and eventually try to get Eli blood. The first kill of Håkan is a jogger in the park where he knocks them out with a gas, hangs them off camera by their ankles, and slice their neck and try to capture the blood in a bottle using a funnel. He fails because the kill and capture is in the park and eventually a dog notices him and starts barking leading it’s owner and friend to the hanging body. We see Eli hunt on her own after yelling at Håkar that he is supposed help her and now she will have to do it herself. We see her play coy and act like she is scared and maybe hurt, lying in wait, eventually a character we have seen at the bar earlier try to help her. Eli let’s this man pick her up and once he is distracted, she attacks him and leaves his body right next the underpass that she was waiting. Håkar goes to get rid of the body, puts the body on a sled and drags it to the lake, dumping the body in the only spot not frozen where the water is draining into the lake.
The 2nd kill Håkar attempts is at the school, he again knocks out a person and doesn’t actually succeed. This time he splashes acid on his own face to protect Eli and fails to kill himself, eventually Eli goes to the hospital to track him down. There is a great sequence where Eli walks into the hospital, asks for her father alluding to the man brought in by the police, and the nurse says he’s on the seventh floor and that is a secure floor. The nurse notices she is shoeless and follows her out and we get a small scene of Eli scaling the building and finding Håkar’s run, asks for him to invite her in, and eventually he drains him and drops him out the window. This is super powerful, you see that he has given his life to her for years, but now it is finally come to fruition and she feeds on him. Eli ends up feeding on another person from the group of friends, a woman that we see at the bar, and doesn’t kill her. Eventually this woman turns into a vampire, ends up in the hospital and she convinces the nurse to open the curtains in the daytime and she burns, catches fire and dies.
Throughout the movie Oskar is bullied and tortured by bullies at school, initially whipped with a stick, and having his clothes thrown into a urinal and peed on. It is super sad and eventually he admits this to Eli and she tells him that he needs to hit them back and twice as hard after realizing has never defended himself. Eventually Eli hits the main bully in the ear so hard with a stick that for the rest of the film the bully is wearing a bandage on his ear and wrapped around his head. Shortly after we see the bully get bullied and picked on by his older brother, this eventually leads to the bully’s brother leading all of the bully squad to get Oskar to be at the pool, sets a fire in a dumpster distracting the teacher and then scaring all the other students off. This leads to the final sequence where the bully’s brother tells him he will take his eye if he can hold his breath underwater or if he can’t he will just kill him. The camera is set right on Oskar’s face under water, and we see the destruction that Eli levels upon the bully crew, evently the arm of the eldest bully that was holding Oskar’s head under water loses tension and drifts down showing it was removed from his body.