Let the Right One In: Adorable Swedish Child Vampires in Love

This lucid Swedish indie gem, adapted for the screen by John Ajvide Lindqvist from his novel and directed with imagination and restraint by Tomas Alfredson, releases the vampire movie from overwrought conventions, like close-ups on trembling bosoms and bloody fangs, offering instead a coolly balanced and utterly compelling examination of alienation and love. Let the Right One In follows the burgeoning relationship between Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant), a pale 12-year-old tormented by bullies and ignored by adults, and his new neighbor, Eli (Lina Leandersson), who is “more or less” 12 years old and, though less pale, a vampire. Eli enters the friendship reluctantly, but it becomes apparent that each offers what the other lacks. Set in a wintry Stockholm suburb, the film is lit like a Renaissance painting. Wise performances from Hedebrant and (especially) Leandersson infuse the film with a low-key naturalism that allows for maximum believability.