Saturday, 26 June 2010

Let The Right One In

A read the book, watch the movie Challenge
The story follows the life of Oskar; a skinny, 12 year old boy who lives at home with his overbearing mother. Oskar is horrendously bullied at school. He wets himself almost daily and cannot defend himself against the humiliation and physical attacks of the cruel children who make his life a misery. He fantasises about killing his tormentors. One day, by chance, he meets Eli; a mysterious girl who lives in the apartment next to his. All is not as it seems with Eli and pretty soon they begin a friendship which has far reaching consequences for both of them.

The movie is a masterpiece in my opinion, a truly original vampire story which keeps you guessing throughout. The actors are well cast and the setting is perfect. Some very impressive visuals are on show here and the acting is first rate. The two main actors are only 11 years old and considering that they are very fine actors, they had me totally convinced.

The dialogue is in Swedish with English subtitles which I felt was not just appropriate but also right since the story was written by a Swedish author with Swedish characters set in Sweden using Swedish actors...I have heard Hollywood is planning on making their own version which I don't wholly approve of since it would be almost impossible to improve on this one.

The film is gruesome, there is no escaping that, but not as gruesome as some vampire movies I've seen. Despite being a killer the vampire quickly got under my skin (no pun intended!) I felt sorry for her when it becomes clear she only kills to survive and no other reason.

The main difference between the book and movie (and the most noticeable) is that roughly half the characters are missing from the movie or not developed anywhere near the degree they are in the book. I have read that this was done deliberately to bring the focus of the audience onto the two main characters. I'm not sure how I feel about it as the book itself was very rich and varied however one of my only complaints about the book was that it was a little too long so perhaps removing characters was for the best.

If you have ever wondered what happens to a vampire if they enter a house when they haven't been invited its worth watching this movie just for that scene alone! Powerful stuff.

The book is also brilliant but sadly fell short of the five star mark purely due to its length. It is more than 500 pages and full of many minor characters whose stories we also follow, of course they all interlink by the end of the story but there are definite moments in the book when you think to yourself 'Oh, get on with it'

As you would expect much more detail goes into each character which works well. Its very easy to develop favourites although I had several. Were there too many characters in the book? Perhaps one or two but it still doesn't change the fact that it is a brilliant story.

Lindqvist has (to a modest degree) re-invented the vampire for this movie but not in a bad way. The vampire in this story more resembles what a real vampire would be like in my opinion. Not a dashing, charming Christopher Lee type character with a duff accent and a long flowing cape but a scruffy, smelly outcast who hides away from people and only appears when she needs to feed. When she does feed its not a pretty thing to witness. She doesn't seduce her victim calmly so they comply without a fuss nor does she gently prick their neck with two nice little neat holes. She jumps on her screaming victim before literally tearing their throats open with her mouthful of razor sharp teeth. Not a pretty thing to read I can tell you and the feeding scenes make your skin crawl but that is such a fascinating contrast; the vampire is capable of immense kindness and empathy towards Oskar and yet, at a moments notice, can turn into a terrible monster and murder indiscriminately. Because her feeding habits are so brutally messy Eli is often forced to move home to avoid detection and to have a human companion to help her kill.

All in all a brilliant movie and book well worth seeing even if typically you don't like vampires.

I would give the book 4/5 and the movie 5/5

By Chris


  1. I've heard such great things about both the movie and the book. It sounds like this is one of those rare cases in which the movie adaptation actually surpasses the book! I think I'll still read it first, though, just because that's the order I'm more comfortable with. But I'm very much looking forward to both.

  2. I LOVED the film. Really, really enjoyed it. And I agree, it's definitely more of how I think vampires should be (none of that sparkling malarky). I think I may get round to reading the book. Sounds interesting, even if it may not be as good as the film.

  3. Not a film for me I'm afraid - I have too vivid an imagination and don't do gruesome. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  4. That cover has my interest :)

  5. I know you mentioned that you're not wholly approving of a Hollywood remake, but I thought it was interesting that they filmed it in the small town in New Mexico where my parents live! They've changed the name to Let Me In.

  6. The image of the little girl with blood all over her face is hunting. I really want to read this book now!

  7. I have considered reading/watching this in the past, but am scared it will be too gruesome fo me. The pictures that you've posted confirm this, but I am almost tempted to try it anyway. Is it worth the nightmares?!!

  8. Excellent revew of both the book and the movie! I too enjoyed the minor reinvention of vampires, or should say, the bringing of vampires back to what I consider there true form (none of this sparkley, around in daylight stuff of recent years).

    I honestly can't pick which one I enjoyed more between the book and the movie. I'm really excited for Lindqvist's next book because of the fantastic job he did in his debut.

    If you are interested, my review of both is here. We poached the internet for some of the same images :)

  9. @ Nymeth: You should definitely read the book! I am very fussy about books so believe me, if the only thing I can criticise it for is being slightly too long then in my view its a great book! Lol

    @ Bethany: If you loved the film the book is well worth a read, it expands on the story a great deal and will give you new insights into the characters

    @ Diane: Glad to hear the marketing works! Lol give it a try, its worth that at least

    @ Kathy: I guess if they remade the film in my parents hometown I'd think it was cool too but I'm afraid I'm sticking to my guns on this one; a Hollywood remake is not necessary.

    @ Brenna: I always make the effort to find the best pics I can for my reviews so I'm glad it tantalised you!

    @ Jackie: You won't have nightmares, its not that bad! Lol there is a little blood but not excessive amounts.

    @ Irishrosedkm: I'm glad you enjoyed the review and agreed with my views on the traditional idea of vampires, I hate it when new ideas are put forward for old monsters, leave the legends alone!! They did the same to zombies, no more do we see the shuffling moaning corpses, these days they can run and think...! I've just read your review, Bravo! :o)


  10. I think I like the book more than you do, but I agree with you that the movie improves the story overall by cutting back on the minor characters to focus on the two core ones. Movies really need to get to the point much more quickly than books do generally.

    One thing I liked about both is that the vampire is a monster. We do come to care about her, but she really is a monster from start to finish. I'm so tired of nice, soul searching, brooding, vampires.

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  12. I just watched this movie last night and I have a question about something the book may have covered but the movie didn't seem to. Was the older man who was with the vampire at the beginning of the movie really her father? I wondered if he might have met the vampire when he was about twelve just like Oscar did . . . meaning that seeing him was basically like seeing Oscar's future.

    BTW I named you again but this time didn't shame you. ;)

  13. hi Kathy - the man in the book has a much darker role than in the film. But basically he is a pheodophille who Eli picked up at some point for the sole purpose of killing for her. In the book he has his own 'back story' which is abit disturbing but also interesting as he knows what he wants to do is wrong. He therefore is happy with Eli because shes not a child as such even though he never gets to touch her.