- For the 2010 American film adaptation, see Let Me In
Let the Right One In ("Låt den rätte komma in") is a Swedish romantic horror film directed by Tomas Alfredson and released in 2008. It is based on the best-selling novel of the same name by John Ajvide Lindqvist (who also wrote the screenplay), the film tells the story of a 12-year-old boy prone to being bullied who develops a friendship with a vampire child in Blackeberg, a suburb of Stockholm, in the early 1980s. The director, Alfredson, in being unfamiliar with the horror and vampire genres, chose to tone down many elements of the novel, instead focusing mainly on the relationship between the two main characters. A year-long open casting call finally led to the selection of the lead actors. In the end, then 11-year-olds Kåre Hedebrant and Lina Leandersson were chosen for the lead roles. They would both go on to be commended by Alfredson as well as film reviewers for their performances.
The film garnered widespread critical acclaim winning numerous awards internationally, including the "Founders Award for Best Narrative Feature" at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival and the European Fantastic Film Festivals Federation's 2008 Méliès d'Or award for the "Best European Fantastic Feature Film", as well as four Guldbagge Awards from the Swedish Film Institute. Because of this success at numerous film festivals, the rights for an English-language remake of the film sold before the Swedish film had its theatrical release.
Oskar is a meek 12-year-old boy who lives with his mother, Yvonne, in the western Stockholm suburb of Blackeberg in 1982. Regularly bullied by his classmates, he spends his evenings imagining different ways to get revenge. One night he meets Eli, who has the physical appearance of a pale girl his own age and has recently moved in next door to Oskar with an older man named Håkan. Eli initially tells Oskar they cannot be friends, but over time, they begin to form a close relationship. With Oskar lends his Rubik's Cube to Eli, and the two exchanging Morse code messages through their apartment wall until Eli discovers that Oskar's schoolmates have bullied him. After questioning him about a cut on his cheek, she encourages him to stand up for himself. Oskar finds strength in Eli's words, and finally stands up to his tormentors during a school field trip. Oskar hit the leader of the bullies, Conny, in the head with a pole, and damages his ear.
Håkan has kills a local resident to provide blood for Eli. When he does not return with her meal, Eli finds and kills a local resident named Jocke on her own. Håkan hides the body of his victim in a lake, but Oskar's fellow-students discover it during a field trip. When his final attempt to secure blood fails, and his capture is imminent, Håkan purposely disfigures himself by pouring acid on his face, so that the authorities will not be able to visually identify him - which would lead them back to Eli. Eli finds out Håkan is being held at the local hospital, and when she finds him there Håkan opens the window for her offering his neck for Eli to feed on. Drained near death, he falls out the window to his death after Eli feeds. Alone now, Eli goes to Oskar's apartment and spends the night with him there, at which time they agree to be boyfriend and girlfriend. Some time later, Oskar takes Eli to see a secret place he knows. Oblivious of Eli's secret, Oskar suggests that they form a blood bond, cutting his hand, and asking Eli to do the same. Eli, thirsting for blood but having developed feelings for Oskar, laps up the blood he has spilled before running away. Soon thereafter, Eli attacks a local woman named Virginia, but her boyfriend, Lacke, who was also Jocke's best friend, turns up just in time to interrupt the attack.
Virginia survives the encounter, however she soon discovers that she is now painfully sensitive to sunlight. Thirsting for blood, she pays a visit to her friend Gösta who owns several cats. Gösta's cats immediately attack Virginia fiercely. In the hospital, Virginia asks an orderly to open the blinds in her room. When the sunlight floods in and touches her, she bursts into flames. Lacke has lost everything because of Eli, and seeks out Håkan and Eli's apartment with a thirst for revenge. He comes across a sleeping Eli, but as he is about to strike, Oskar distracts him. Eli is alerted by the noise and kills Lacke; Eli realizes that it is no longer safe to stay, and informs Oskar of this. The two then share a kiss.
The next morning, Oskar gets a call from Conny's friend, Martin, who lures him out to resume an after-school fitness program at the local swimming pool. The bullies, led now by Conny's older brother, Jimmy, start a fire to draw Mr. Ávila, the teacher in charge, outside. Oskar is now caught alone in the pool by Jimmy who forces him to hold his breath underwater for three minutes, threatening to cut Oskar's eye out if he fails. While Oskar is underwater, a commotion takes place above the surface. Jimmy's severed head drops into the pool, followed shortly by the arm he was using to hold Oskar down. Eli then pulls Oskar out of the water. A closing wide shot reveals three dismembered bodies around the pool and Andreas, the one reluctant bully, sobbing on a bench. The film ends with Oskar on a train, Eli beside him in a trunk to avoid the sunlight. Eli taps the word "kiss" to Oskar in Morse code from inside the trunk, and Oskar sends her the same message back.
- Kåre Hedebrant as Oskar
- Lina Leandersson (Elif Ceylan, voice) as Eli
- Per Ragnar as Håkan
- Henrik Dahl as Erik, Oskar's father
- Karin Bergquist as Yvonne, Oskar's mother
- Peter Carlberg as Lacke
- Ika Nord as Virginia
- Mikael Rahm as Jocke
- Karl Robert Lindgren as Gösta
- Anders T. Peedu as Morgan
- Pale Olofsson as Larry
- Cayetano Ruiz as Magister Ávila
- Patrik Rydmark as Conny
- Johan Sömnes as Andreas
- Mikael Erhardsson as Martin
- Rasmus Luthander as Jimmy
- Sören Källstigen as Erik's friend
- Bernt Östman as Virginia's nurse
- Kajsa Linderholm as the teacher
- Susanne Ruben as the older Eli