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Film / Let the Right One In

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Låt den rätte komma in (Let The Right One In) is a 2008 film. It was adapted by Swedish author John Ajvide Lindqvist himself for this film version.

It's the story of Oskar, a 12-year-old boy who is being bullied at school. One night, he meets Eli, a girl who just moved in next door with her dad. However, Eli isn't affected by the cold and hates daylight, and it's quickly shown that her "dad" kills people and drains their blood to feed her. As Oskar befriends Eli and more people go missing, suspicions are raised.

Let The Right One In is most notable for being simultaneously heartwarming and horrifying. Although it has few outright scares, it can be a deeply disturbing movie, as the main characters' relationship invokes both young love and a temptation into darkness.

For tropes on the original book see, Let the Right One In. For tropes from the English-language remake, see Let Me In.


This movie provide examples of:

  • Adaptational Attractiveness:
    • In the book, Oskar is an overweight child. The movie portrays him as a more healthy-looking boy of average weight.
    • There's more description of Eli being filthy and mangy in the novel.
    • Håkan's acid injury in this film is far less graphic than the description we are given in the book.
  • Adaptational Heroism: In the novel, Håkan is a pedophile who met Eli while he was leering at children at a playground. In the movie, Håkan's pedophilia is only alluded to.
  • Adaptational Villainy:
    • In the movie, Eli is outraged when Håkan fails to bring her back blood and verbally lashes out at him. In the novel, while she still pleads with him to go out and try again, it is in a much more subdued and dispassionate manner. The book's Eli in general seems to play a more passive role in their relationship, mostly just dully reacting to Håkan's anger and increasingly perverse demands.
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    • Zigzagged with Håkan, as most of his characterization in the novel is internal and isn't apparent on-screen. Both his sexual appetite and his reluctance to commit his murders are never given any focus, making him a more willing killer but also omitting his backstory as a disgraced pedophile and his deranged sexual interest in Eli. Not to mention being Killed Off for Real at the hospital instead of coming back to hunt Eli as a monstrous revenant.
  • Adaptation Distillation: The film distills the novel down to just the boy and the vampire, with a minor subplot about the strained relationship of an older couple, all other elements solely serving to move the A plot forward.
  • Adaptation Explanation Extrication: In the film we see Eli's castration scar with no further context than earlier comments of "I'm not a girl." While some viewers who haven't read the book have been able to infer what it meant, others were confused.
  • Adaptation Name Change: Jonny from the book is Conny here in this film.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Håkan might be the only time in movie history where you could cry for the death of a serial-killing pedophile, holding a sobbing Eli in his arms and letting her feed on him before falling out the hospital window to his death. Especially considering what he does to his face to keep Eli safe beforehand.
  • The Alcoholic: Oskar's dad, adding to the guy's overall misery.
  • Aliens in Cardiff: Vampires in a Stockholm suburb.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: Much was made of the scene where Oskar's dad's friend coming over in slippers to have a drink, but social drinking like this is more common in Sweden.
  • Ambiguously Gay:
    • A lot of people thought Oskar's dad was gay due the scene where his friend comes over for drinks and Oskar acts uncomfortable. Word of God is that the father wasn't gay and that Oskar's discomfort had to do with the father neglecting him so he could get drunk with his friend.
    • To say nothing of Oskar himself, who, when Eli tells him she's not a girl, merely shrugs it off. In a sense, she/he's right. In the book, Eli being a male is initially harder for him to accept than being a vampire and it makes him question his sexuality as a result.
  • Battle Discretion Shot: The climax of the film where Eli slaughters all of the bullies. See Gory Discretion Shot.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: During their first encounter in the playground, Oskar shows Eli a moment of kindness that stops her from making a meal out of him. From that night on, the Odd Friendship they form puts him off-limits to Eli, even when she is feral and blood-starved.
  • Being Evil Sucks: Håkan, in his weaker moments. Eli is also revealed to feel this way about her existence and the carnage it requires her to leave behind. The sole other vampire Eli had encountered in the past two hundred years claimed that their kind are so few because they tend to kill themselves out of guilt.
  • Berserk Button: Don't mess with a vampire's best friend. The bullies at the end learn the hard way.
  • Big Bad: Conny serves as Oskar's main tormenter even though others also take on roles throughout.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Just as Oskar's in the process of drowning, Eli shows up to tear apart the guy holding him under the water. Yeah, it's that kind of story.
  • Big Damn Kiss: Oskar and Eli...with Lacke's blood dripping from Eli's mouth.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Martin, one of the bullies, pretends to befriend Oskar after the incident on the ice, but it's only to lure him into a trap at the end.
  • Blood from Every Orifice: What happens if Eli enters a place without being invited.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Relatively, with Gory Discretion Shots or long-range/obscured views preferred – so the horrifying slaughter is conveyed with surprisingly almost no blood to be seen, considering how much is let.
  • Blood Oath: Oskar cuts his hand and suggests this to Eli. Eli, being a vampire, takes it somewhat less than calmly.
  • Book-Ends:
    • The opening shot is of falling snow, and a shot near the ending is of the same falling snow.
    • Oskar stands in his underwear looking out into the night (pressing his hand to the window and removing it with a sticky sound) at both the start and near the end.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: Tommy shits himself while locked in a basement with Håkan, who at this point is now a zombie.
  • Boy Meets Ghoul: A charming story where the bullied boy with an interest in serial killers meets a charming castrated vampire when he/she moves in next door.
  • Bully Brutality: The bullies that harass Oskar and end up almost drowning him.
  • Chastity Couple: According to the director, Oskar and Eli are meant to be this, due to their age and Eli's lack of genitalia.
  • Chekhov's Skill: The Morse code during the ending.
  • Children Are Innocent: Even two of the bullies are fairly sympathetic (and one of them even stays alive in the end).
  • Coming-of-Age Story: Oddly heartwarming. Kind of.
  • Corpsing: A minor case when Eli and Oskar first meet. The actors trip over each other's lines towards the end of the scene and Eli visibly stifles a laugh. It was at the end of a very long shot with a minor stunt so ended up getting left in, but luckily it made some sense in context anyway.
  • Crazy Cat Lady: Gösta has a lot of cats moving around his small apartment.
  • Creepy Child: Eli consistently through the film. Oskar may count as well.
  • Dark Secret: The audience knows that Eli is a vampire the entire time; Oskar finds out eventually. Stemming from this, Eli tries to hide the more gruesome aspects of her affliction from her new friend (such as what happens when she enters a house without permission, and what she does while sleeping/recuperating in the bathroom), but Oskar deals with each in turn. She also hides her true gender for a while, but this is more because Eli isn't sure whether Oskar will still like her if he knows.
  • Daylight Horror: The climax takes place at a well-lit swimming pool, which allows the bullies' demises to be shown that much more clearly.
  • Death by Adaptation:
    • In the book, Eli only killed Conny and Jimmy. In the movie, she kills all but one of the bullies.
    • Sort-of done with Håkan. He still dies, but in the film it happens after falling out of the hospital window, and he doesn't come back as a Revenant Zombie like in the book.
  • Death Seeker: Virginia is turned into this after being bitten by Eli, telling Lacke that she wants to die, and telling him to open the blinds, in order to make her burst into flames. When he won't do it, she gets a nurse to.
  • Demoted to Extra: Håkan and the alcoholics have significantly reduced roles in the film adaptation.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: What Jimmy does to Oskar. You smacked my little brother? Now I'm going to drown you in the pool and cut your eye out if you come up. Then there's what Eli subsequently does to the bullies...
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Eli is seen going barefoot a lot.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Oskar. When he's introduced, he's suffering from bullying, and Eli encourages him to stand up for himself which leads to him taking weight-training classes and ultimately smacking one of the bullies with a stick and splitting their ear.
  • Dragon-in-Chief: Jimmy, the older brother of Conny in this version, who is more sadistic and eager to kill Oskar.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: Eli's not a girl.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Eli is one thanks to the effects of vampirism.
  • Enemy to All Living Things: One possible interpretation of the reaction of the cats to Eli and other vampires.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Oskar to Eli, if you consider Eli evil. Certainly Eli to Håkan, and Conny and Jimmy to each other.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Oskar is thrown into the pool by Conny's Ax-Crazy older brother Jimmy. Oskar is then told that if he can't hold his breath underwater for three minutes, his eye will be gouged out. When Oskar actually starts to drown, the other bullies are clearly uncomfortable, and one of them backs out entirely.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog:
    • Cats detect and viciously attack vampires on sight.
    • Håkan's efforts to drain the blood of a passerby that he's just killed are thwarted when a dog comes by and begins barking, forcing him to flee as his owners come.
  • Facial Horror: Håkan after he pours hydrochloric/sulfuric acid on his face to disfigure him well enough to be non-detectable by the cops. And yes, we get to see the results, which as detailed above in Adaptational Attractiveness is less horrific than the book's example.
  • The Film of the Book: This would be the first of this book's example of this trope.
  • First Kiss: Oskar's first, anyway...
  • Foreshadowing: Early on, Eli tells Oskar that she'll take care of his bullies if he can't stand up to them on his own.
  • Fourth Date Marriage: Kind of. Oskar hugs Eli and says he likes her the fifth time they meet; the sixth time, the pair cuddle in bed and Oskar asks her to be his girlfriend. Then they run away together after the eleventh meeting. True, they're twelve, but they are meant to be soul mates.
  • Gang of Bullies: Oskar is regularly tormented by one.
  • Gilligan Cut: Eli tries eating a piece of candy. Cut to Eli upchucking it behind a building.
  • The Glomp: Oskar's first hug nearly knocks over the unsuspecting Eli.
  • Gory Discretion Shot:
    • Eli's attack on Lacke is shown mostly behind a partly closed door.
    • The ending: Conny's brother, Jimmy, as well as the rest of the bullies, show up at the pool and start a fire to lure the teacher outside while Oskar stays in the pool. Jimmy forces Oskar into a sadistic game: stay underwater for three minutes, or he will gouge out one of his eyes. After being held underwater for about a minute, a crash through the pool's window signals that Eli has come to the rescue. We only witness the rescue underwater from Oskar's perspective, but the screaming above the water, as well as the downpour of blood and body parts tells us all we need to know.
  • Hair-Contrast Duo: Oskar is blonde and Eli is brunette. One is a meek child, the other is a murderous vampire.
  • Hate Sink: Conny and his older brother Jimmy lack their redeeming qualities from the original novel. Conny relentlessly bullies Oskar in violently humiliating ways, before threatening to drown him in a frozen pond. Jimmy is an even bigger sadist than his brother, and seen bullying him too. When Oskar stands up for himself, they later gang up on him in retaliation. Jimmy makes a "bet" with him about holding his breath underwater for three minutes, and either getting his cheek cut open, or his eye cut out.
  • Hollywood Pudgy: Oskar is considered this in universe, as the bullies default insult for him is piggy. Which makes no sense whatsever as he is played by an extremely skinny actor.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Håkan pours acid on his face to keep the cops from IDing him and going after Eli.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Jocke and Lacke. "I have nothing left now he's gone" says Lacke after Jocke's death, even though his girlfriend, whom he loves, is sitting next to him.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Even with the super-strength, being a vampire SUCKS.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Håkan. He isn't awfully good at what he does and gets no respect for it. A strange example as his incompetence seems to make him creepier.
    DVD Commentary: Yeah, he's sort of the Mr. Bean of serial killers.
  • Infant Immortality: Very much averted in the pool scene, that leaves several 12-year-olds torn to pieces.
  • Intertwined Fingers: Eli does this with Oskar in the scene where they cuddle in bed together and he asks her to be his girlfriend.
  • Kids Are Cruel: The bullies. And then far, far more, in the bullies' punishment.
  • Lesbian Vampire: A strange Gender Flipped/inverted example: Eli was born a boy and has an interest in another boy. However because his "change" wasn't on his own choosing Eli may place themselves anywhere from a transgender vampire to non-conforming body mod vampire.
  • Little Miss Badass: Eli's vampire powers let her easily take down men twice her size.
  • Lower-Class Lout: It's set in a poor suburb, so almost everyone is working class. Several of the bullies have male names ending in -y, a pretty strong working class indicator in Swedish. Subverted with Lacke, an unemployed alcoholic who nevertheless becomes the Hero Antagonist of the story.
  • Man on Fire: Virginia bursts into flames when the blinds are opened.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Oskar is somewhat effeminate in comparison to the more androgynous Eli (who is, of course, really an emasculated boy).
  • Mood Whiplash: The film switches between sweet and scary at the drop of a hat, sometimes mixing both in one scene. A strangely funny example: the news reporter who discusses Håkan's apprehension ends the story by saying "And now, the sports."
  • Must Be Invited: It's in the title. As Eli demonstrates in response to Oskar's query, if they don't get one... things get pretty messy.
  • Nightmare Face:
    • Averted with Eli.
    • Håkan don't look too good after pouring acid on their face.
  • Non-Human Lover Reveal: In an odd puppy-love sort of way. Maybe.
  • Not Growing Up Sucks: Eli is a 200-year-old vampire stuck physically, and to an extent mentally, as a 12-year-old after being 'turned' at about that age.
  • Not Using the "Z" Word: Eli is somewhat in denial about being a vampire, preferring to think of it as having an illness. The book does go into the biological specifics of what goes on inside a vampire's body once infected, but being infected with vampirism still unavoidably makes you a vampire.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Considering how much you might hate the bullies by the end of the story, it almost seems a shame for their comeuppance to happen off-screen.
  • Off with His Head!: Eli rips Jocke's head off after attacking him.
  • Only Sane Man: Andreas is the only member of the group of bullies tormenting Oskar that seems uncomfortable if not remorseful with what he's doing. He breaks down crying as he is forced to repeatedly whip Oskar, and is the only bully not killed in the climax, instead sitting on the bleachers sobbing.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: These vampires aren't actually undead - at least in the film, it's made clear you have to survive the attack to turn into a vampire. Killing your victim is the nicer option. To be specific, along with the common death-by-sunlight, paleness, blood-drinking attributes, these vampires cannot enter a house without getting permission, occasionally have cat-like eyes that glow in the dark, and can "think" claws on their hands and feet, and wings and fangs.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: The bullies deserved everything Eli did to them, and it wasn't pretty. They went to the pool with the intention of either mutilating or drowning Oskar. They had no idea they'd never leave.
  • Pet the Dog: Frequently back and forth between Eli and Oskar. Considering what she is, the bond between them is genuinely touching as each grows to care about the other.
  • Protagonist-Centred Morality: We're clearly meant to root for Eli and Oskar, despite the fact that the former spends the movie murdering perfectly innocent people, and the latter is perfectly okay with her doing so because she's nice to him.
  • Protagonist Journey to Villain: The story is one for Oskar, possibly. He's obsessed with serial killers, thinks about hurting or even killing his bullies, has no problem with it when Eli does kill the bullies, and after the ending, well, he'll probably have to help her find food somehow...
  • Puppy Love: Sort of; a very dark example.
  • Queer Romance: Does Håkan's odd relationship with Eli count? As for Oskar, he talks about "going steady" with Eli, though when Eli asks exactly what difference that will make between them, Oskar doesn't seem to think there will be any.
  • Really 700 Years Old. Eli.
  • Redemption Earns Life: One of the bullies shows much more guilt about what they're doing, and backs out when he realizes Jimmy is actually going to drown Oskar. He's the only one who Eli doesn't harm during the pool massacre.
  • The Renfield: Eli starts out with an older 'guardian' who tries to protect her by draining blood out of victims. By the end of the movie, Oskar has possibly become this (depending on your interpretation). The follow-up short story collection Let The Old Dreams Die was written because the author didn't like this interpretation. It shows Oscar and Eli mixing their blood, making him a vampire as well.
  • Roaring Rampage of Rescue: Eli's slaughter of Conny and Jimmy at the climax, to rescue Oskar from drowning.
  • Same Language Dub: Lina Leandersson's voice is dubbed over by another actress's with the intent of making the character more androgynous.
  • Scenery Porn: The lingering shots of Blackeberg in the middle of winter manage to be both beautiful and gloomy at the same time. Most of the outdoor scenes were shot in Luleå in the north of Sweden, instead of Blackeberg, since during the filming of the movie, Stockholm and southern Sweden had experianced a lot of snowless winters. In recent years following the making of the film, the winters have been notoriously cold and snowy. Stockholm has been hit by blizzards so bad that all trains stopped and traffic could not move.
  • Suicide by Sunlight: One of Eli's victims does this to herself.
  • Symbolic Serene Submersion: Played for Horror. The bullies forcefully hold Oskar's head underwater for three minutes (which will kill him). But Eli shows up and saves the day, and Oskar goes from being forcefully submerged and drowning to peacefully underwater as the disembodied limbs of his bullies are thrown around, marking his transition from predator to prey and his commitment to Eli.
  • Sympathetic Murderer:
    • Eli kills people to survive. Oskar wants to kill the bullies for torturing him.
    • Likewise, Håkan kills for Eli but hates doing it, being even more dispassionate about it than in the novel.
  • Tears of Blood: When Eli isn't invited into Oskar's place but enters anyway, blood begins pouring out of her head and orifices, including her eyes.
  • Teens Are Monsters: There's only one featured teenage character, and he's probably the least sympathetic person in the film.
  • Titled After the Song: Morrissey's "Let The Right One Slip In" (though the title got strangely mangled in translation back to English).
  • Trapped in Villainy: Eli. She kills because she has to; she'll die if she doesn't. She makes no excuses for what she does beyond its necessity for her continued existence.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • Lacke tries to kill Eli with a kitchen knife...that he drops before she even wakes up. Or how about turning his back on a vampire without finishing the job? In the book it is stated that he couldn't bring himself to kill a child. Here is just startled by Oskar.
    • Håkan does not seem so concerned with at least trying to cover his tracks by hiding the corpses of his victims or taking any other precaution, culminating in killing a boy in a gym and trying to bleed him in the changing room, without even make sure that none else was around. Needless to say, he gets caught mere minutes later.
  • Tragic Hero: Lacke.
  • Trial Balloon Question: Twofold. Eli asks Oskar if he would still like her if she weren't a girl. He says sure he would. What Eli really means is he is neither female nor human.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: One of Oskar's first scenes has him rehearsing a You Talkin' to Me? and pulling a knife... on a tree. And then, of course, there's Eli.
  • Undead Barefooter: Eli tends to go barefoot even in snow; that's one of the first signs that there's something weird about her.
  • Undead Child: Subverted. Eli insists she isn't technically undead.
  • Unnervingly Heartwarming: In the film, after Oskar saves vampire Eli from a would-be vampire hunter, Eli rewards him with a kiss on the lips, which would be adorable... if her mouth wasn't filled with the vampire hunter's blood.
  • Unsettling Gender Reveal: Eli's genitals are completely missing. In the novel, the vampire who bit him/her also chopped off all his/her male parts, making him/her... well, it's hard to say. It's not clear whether Eli really thinks that makes him/her female, or is just more comfortable as a girl. All this is made much clearer in the book.
  • Vampire Bites Suck: Unlike most vampire stories, victims keep struggling and resisting even while getting chewed on.
  • Villain Has a Point: There's no defense for the murders Eli commits, but she claims that killing to survive is more moral than killing for revenge or pleasure.
  • Villain Protagonist: Calling either Eli or Oskar good guys would be debatable.
  • Violently Protective Girlfriend: Eli takes this Up to Eleven. At the ending, she brutally massacres the gang of bullies trying to drown Oscar.
  • Viral Transformation: Vampirism is transmitted through the bite, and though it gives the person a Horror Hunger for blood it doesn't make them fundamentally evil. That said, it's bad enough most people are driven to suicide shortly after turning for fear of turning into murderers.
  • The Virus: Vampirism is repeatedly referred to in the context of 'being infected'.
  • Voice of the Legion: Eli's voice gets a bit of an echo after her true side starts showing up.
  • Warm Bloodbags Are Everywhere: Happens towards the middle. Eli follows Oskar to a secluded spot after she hasn't fed for a few days, and Oskar unexpectedly cuts his palm and offers to be blood brothers with her. She manages to fight the urge to eat him by lapping up the blood he was spilling, but reveals her Game Face in the process, growls, and runs away to feed off someone else.
  • Weakened by the Light: Vampires and sunlight. It's sort of a given.
  • Wham Line: "Even if I wasn't a girl...would you still like me?"
  • Wham Shot:
    • Eli's scarred crotch.
    • When Eli starts murdering the bullies.
  • White Hair, Black Heart: Oskar looks about as stereotypically Swedish as you can get. Physically speaking, of course.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: Inverted by Eli, who despite having lived for over 200 years, is somewhat mentally limited by being physically 12.
  • Window Love: Lots of this. When we first meet Oskar, and again after Eli leaves, he presses his hand against his window, perhaps an expression of his isolation and longing for connection. When Eli watches Oskar through the window as he does his after-school session in the swimming pool, she presses her hand against the window for the same reason; in this scene she's also, says Word of God, trying to look like a normal kid by wearing heavy winter clothes although she doesn't feel the cold. Finally, when Oskar comes over to Eli's apartment and asks if she's a vampire, she backs away from him behind a glass-paned door and they press their hands together on opposite sides of the pane, she moving her bare hands around, first one and then the other, and he following with his gloved hands. Right after this, she opens the door to let him through. Also, when Eli comes to Håkan's hospital room and is sitting outside on the window ledge unable to come in she presses her hand to the window.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Eli, a vampire who is trapped not just physically in a 12 year old body but mentally and emotionally as well, forced to kill to survive, whose only friend is an equally screwed up boy.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Eli lures Jocke in an alley by looking as if she is hurt, prompting him to help her out, leaving her to attack him.
  • Your Vampires Suck: Averted. There are virtually no references to any vampire tropes not used in the movie. In many ways, this helps to create a greater sense of realism. The characters are smart enough to know that what works in the movies won't work in real life, and that discussing things in terms of what movies they are or aren't like is totally pointless.


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