The Swedish film, Let The Right One in, directed by Tomas Alfredson, is not your typical vampire love story. It is based off the best selling novel written by John Ajvide Lindqvist in which a lonely 12-year-old boy named Oskar finds himself befriending and ultimately running away with a “12” year old vampire named Eli. Oskar has no friends before meeting Eli and is constantly picked on in school for not fitting in. He has been excluded from society  for being “odd” but luckily meets someone who has been through almost the exact same thing, a vampire. The two rely on each other greatly later in the film, Eli kills the boys bullying Oskar and Oskar allows Eli to feed on Lacke when he comes looking for revenge. The question that has to be asked is who is the true monster in this film? Most would say the vampire but I disagree.
In a sense, society is the true monster. Othering those who don’t fit in to eventually seek aggression creates more harm than good. Perhaps if bullies hadn’t targeted Oskar in the first place he wouldn’t have had to seek friendship from other outsiders such as Eli. However, in this film, being an outsider isn’t the worst thing. The director clearly humanizes Eli, making the audience feel remorse for a “young” vampire who’s only purpose for killing is to survive. Certainly different than how vampires were perceived in readings such as “Bucket of Blood” and “Death at the Wedding” . In these specific readings, vampires were personified as inhumane creatures who felt no guilt for killing. Very different than Eli. She cries almost every time after killing a human and resists the urge to bite Oskar when he cuts his hand in front of her. Alfredson wants the audience to understand her guilt of killing and love towards Oskar in order to root for her in the end. The film makes for an unsuspected love story.
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