Let the Right One In (spoilers will be marked)

That the vampire must be invited into a building is a staple of vampire fiction. But the rule is often interpreted differently by various writers. Sometimes the vampire need only be invited at one entrance to gain access through any entrance as in “Dracula” (1931). I didn’t watch “Buffy, the Vampire Slayer”, but I understand the vampires on this show only needed invites into private residences.

In “Let the Right One In”, the rule seems to be that Eli needs an invite through any entrance. We hear an off-screen voice give her permission to enter the hospital but when she gets to Hakan’s hospital room window she has to ask to come in there. He can’t speak, so…

Nit-pickers will notice at the beginning of the film we see Eli enter the apartment building for the first time, apparently uninvited. And we can only guess at the circumstances of Virginia’s entrance into the hospital (we only see her being wheeled down a hall on a gurney) after the cat attack.

“Let the Right One In” seems to be the first time in a film where the consequences of the vampire breaking the invitation rule have been depicted. And wonderfully so, in my opinion.

I also just watched this the other day. It was a bit arty and slow for me but it was definitely interesting all the same. Basically along the lines of Hamlet’s post, I would have enjoyed more on Eli’s character, and fewer shots of dismal 70s-era Swedish architecture in the snow.

Oskar’s father’s neighbor didn’t ping my gaydar, but the way he leered at Oskar, well I didn’t think his intentions were nice, and he made Oskar uncomfortable too, and we’re talking about a kid who is not exactly perceptive when it comes to his own self-preservation (hint: when the fully clothed bully tells you to swim closer… don’t.). I found that interesting because up till then his father’s place was portrayed as a bit of an haven - I think that’s when it struck me how completely Oskar’s life sucked.

Poor Oskar was such a passive, pathetic little wretch. Today, I think, he would be on any teacher’s watch list as a kid who would very obviously be likely to be victimized by his peers. Setting the story in the 80s was an interesting twist there.

Brezhnev was mentioned, IIRC, so that would put the movie somewhere in between June 16, 1977 and November 10, 1982.

As far as Oskar’s father goes, chalk me up as another one who didn’t see it as him being gay, just him not giving a damn about his son as soon as his friend showed up with booze.

I just watched this after reading this thread (love the netflix instant play feature!) and I loved it. Definitely will have to read the book to get more of the inside story. Great film!

One thing that irritated me was that Hakan was so crappy about procuring the needed blood. This explains that. But I was one who assumed that Oskar is destined to become the next Hakan. That’s not to say that Oskar won’t end up being a more competent Hakan type. But I think I like it better if this:

…is the desired interpretation.

Why does this thread (a thread about a specific work) need spoiler tags? Meanwhile, threads that can potentially be about any work of art ever created have open spoilers. Odd.

In an interview, Tomas Alfredson, the movie’s director, says that he believes that the film is open to both the pessimistic (Oskar as new killer for Eli) and optimistic (Oskar as a new type of companion for Eli). He says his choice is for the happy ending.

I’m not good at interpreting movies (or books), but I never considered a pessimistic interpretation for the ending. Eli wanted a friend.

She didn’t need anyone to kill for her – we saw what she can do. She was with the old guy because she needed the cover. Someone who looks like she’s 12 isn’t going to be able to live alone.

I think the old guy killed for her because he thought she was young and innocent, and he didn’t want to expose her to the nastiness involved in getting the blood. We take our kids to McDonald’s but not to the slaughterhouse.

I thought it was one of the most effective horror films I’ve seen.

A thing that did bother me was

The hospitalized woman bursting into flames when exposed to sunlight.

The film was done in such a naturalistic style that the intrusion of the unambiguously supernatural was troubling.

I could accept “super-strength”, non-aging, and dietary restrictions as unusual biological phenomenon. I could accept “entrance by invitation only” as a strong, but ultimately psychosomatic, restriction.

Spontaneous combustion? Not so much.

Ohh… and I glanced at the book in the library a few weeks back. Something I noticed was
[/spoiler] In the book the vampire had the power of flight… or at least very effective gliding. I was happy the movie deleted that, for the same reason I was troubled by the spontaneous combustion. [/spoiler]

Of course that decision might have been based on economics. The movie was low budget and climbing is easier to show than soaring.

Well, in that last post I didn’t format my second spoiler correctly and then ran out of time to change it. Ahh well, it wasn’t a very revealing spoiler anyway, so no real harm done.

The author of the book, on the other hand, has clearly stated that he intended for Eli’s relationship with Oskar to be completely genuine and fundamentally different that with Hakan. He has clearly stated that he never intended the “next in line” interpretation.

He has also said that, while he won’t write a sequel, he intends to publish an epilogue of sorts in the form of a short story, and says that his intended “happy ending” will be made more clear.

Incidentally, it’s also made clear in the book that Eli can hunt perfectly well for herself, but that she just hates doing it. She doesn’t like to kill. It makes her miserable.

I love the way the movie implies that she can fly. When she moves out of frame from the hospital window we hear a rustling sound. (The entire sound design of the movie is incredible - turn it up.) And when she gets from Oskar’s window to her’s in a flash. Oskar’s smiling reaction to this and her little wave are joyous in a movie filled with little joys.

I just read the book. It does make a lot of things clear that were not clear in the movie, and those vague/less developed aspects of the movie didn’t make it a better movie, they basically just couldn’t tell the whole story. For example, the drunks/regulars at the restaurant were hard to keep straight in the movie, the relationship with Lacke and Virginia was more established, etc. I particularly liked the gym teacher character in the book, who was just a guy in the movie, no real persona. But damn, there is stuff in the book that’s as gross as anything I’ve ever read. And still, I would say it’s a beautiful book. And I’m so sick of vampires I could puke. Go figure.

One simple question I had of the movie that’s explained in the book is Why Eli lets the fat kid live. Duh, because he LET HER IN. She still needed an invitation to go into the pool. Didn’t really show that in the movie unless I was distracted by something when it happened.

The book is very strong on making the humans more hatable than the so-called monster.

Only some of the humans. I found whats-his-name, Tommy (the juvenile delinquent?) to be a very sympathetic character, for instance.

Oh, obviously I didn’t mean ALL the humans. Most of them are sympathetic, including Oskar and Lacke.

One thing I noted in the movie was that there were a couple of flashes that seemed to show Eli as an adult, or older teen. Did I imagine that, or was it explained in the book?

We see ‘Older Eli’ twice. Once when she is on the floor unable to resist the blood from Oskar’s cut hand and again when she is sitting on top of him after she bleeds and implores Oskar to, “Be me a little.”

I think it is open to interpretation as to whether this is meant to be a real physical change or only a representation to the audience of Eli’s true age. I go with the latter interpretation. Eli is over 200 years old and the actress portraying ‘Older Eli’, even with the make-up, doesn’t look like what we would imagine a 200 year-old person would look like.

And even though we have seen evidence that Eli can fly, and presumably she grows wings to do this, as in the book, we don’t see any other evidence that she can transform her appearance radically. If she could make herself look like an adult, she wouldn’t have needed Hakan to take care of adult stuff, like rent an apartment.

It’s been a while since I read the book so I don’t recall if it mentions Eli looking older sometimes. Maybe someone else who has the book a little fresher in their mind will chime in.

When she hasn’t eaten, her appearance gets harsher and kind “older” that way, but she is the same size.

Incidentally, the book starts referring to Eli has “He” about halfway through.

On the strength of this thread, I went down to the used DVD place to see if they had it. As luck would have it, I snagged the only copy for just $6.

Very well done. I didn’t read the spoilers in advance, but I came back to the thread to get a few answers. I wonder what all the Twilight-heads would make of this?

Yes, this is correct. The DVD was released with crappy English subtitling. There is supposed to be an improved version released later but I have not been able to find a copy. Someone at another board* contacted Amazon to confirm they were shipping the improved version but got the earlier version anyway. If I’m remembering correctly the good version says “theatrical” in the subtitles box on the label.

*or maybe a different thread here.