Let the Right One In

  • Review Date: September 23, 2010
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Horror
  • Release Year: 2008

Common Sense Media says

Swedish vampire tale is much grislier than Twilight.
  • Review Date: September 23, 2010
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Horror
  • Release Year: 2008





What parents need to know

Positive messages

Theme of unconditional friendship among lonely young people, with outcast Oskar drawing close to paranormal Eli, who also can't be part of normal society. Foreshadowing that Oskar may come to a bad end later in life because of his association with Eli.

Positive role models

There may not be any "good guys" in this story at all; Eli is a vampire who kills when necessary (though not seeming to enjoy it), while small, bullied Oskar has fantasies of deadly revenge against his enemies. Grownups, even parents, seem distant from the children, though Oskar has a few (very few) cozy moments with his split-up mother and father. Other adults are bitter drunks and hooligans.


Gore in horrific -- but usually brief -- bursts, including severed heads and limbs, snapped spines, a character falling from a high window, a boy hit with a rod, and of course, ferocious vampire attacks on necks. Eli bleeds from skin and orifices, and another character bursts into flames, illustrating famous vampire weaknesses. A near-drowning, and shots of a dead body after the victim's throat was slashed and the blood drained. One character is shown disfigured after acid in the face.


Eli is an androgynous creature who sleeps with Oskar naked (though nothing shown or happens in the way of conventional sex). A brief glimpse of what seems to be a naked male groin with a scar from the penis being surgically removed. A character is jokingly accused of masturbating. The boy-girl relationship at the center of the film starts to take a homosexual turn.


The f-word on a few occasions.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Supporting adult characters are a band of drunkards.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this vampire drama has brief but intense, bloody scenes of biting, dismemberment, beheading, and grotesque images of an acid-scarred face and severed limbs. Sunlight turns one vampire into a fireball, while another begins suddenly bleeding all over. Swearing includes a few uses of "f--k." A "blood brothers" ritual is attempted. There is a bleak depiction of kids on their own in a world where adults are distant/distracted/divorced/drunk, in varied combinations. There are strong overtones of bullying and kids warped by divorce. The boy-girl relationship at the center of the film starts to take a homosexual turn. This movie was filmed in Swedish, but an English-dubbed version is a DVD option for viewers who don't like subtitles.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

The setting is Sweden in the early 1980s. Oskar (Kare Hedebrant) is a misfit adolescent schoolboy living with his divorced mom in the Centrum, a sterile apartment complex, even bleaker in the winter months. New neighbors move in: Eli (Lina Leandersson), a precocious, friendless little girl who only seems to appear at night, and an unsociable, taciturn man who acts as her parent-guardian. In fact, the adult periodically kills strangers to drain their blood to bring to Eli -- who is, in reality, a vampire, incredibly old, strong, and lethal despite a waifish appearance. In the effort to solve the murders, police and other grownups edge nearer to the Centrum; meanwhile Oskar and Eli draw closer as friends.

Is it any good?


The title refers to a snippet of vampire lore (also employed in the more mainstream-Hollywood Lost Boys) that a supernatural bloodsucker cannot enter a private residence unless invited in first. In other words, Oskar's learning the dreadful truth about Eli and her fatal appetite is no deal breaker -- and it even strengthens their relationship as fellow outsiders. Oskar does not reject her, and when it seems Eli might not even be a "her" at all, the film suggests unconditional love, albeit in a kinky and grisly way. Shot in austere style, often with long, formal takes -- hardly any MTV-action stuff -- LET THE RIGHT ONE IN sacrifices much of the character development in the Swedish source novel (very dense and Stephen King-like) but remains strongly focused on the Oskar-Eli relationship, which is creepy and compelling in a way similar movies aren't because the Swedish lead thespians are obviously real children, not 20-ish actors playing a decade younger like in Twilight adaptations.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about whether Eli is an "evil" vampire or not. What do you think will happen to the characters after the ending?

  • Oskar is a regular target of bullies. Talk about Eli's advice for him to fight back -- hard -- and whether that's a good idea or not in real world.

  • Vampire movies continue to be popular. Ask kids who their favorite screen bloodsuckers are and why.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:October 24, 2008
DVD release date:March 9, 2009
Cast:Kare Hedebrant, Lina Leandersson
Director:Tomas Alfredson
Studio:Magnolia Pictures
Run time:114 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:some bloody violence including disturbing images, brief nudity and language

This review of Let the Right One In was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 13 years old Written byHWADOB April 17, 2011

Beautiful, violent movie.

Really great movie! I appreciated the differences between this movie and that other horrible paranormal romance series that I don't say the name of. First of all, when Oskar finds out, he takes a bit to get used to it. And, as stated before me, the movie was slow, which REALLY bored my 10 year old brother. But I thought was absolutely beautiful.

Now, for the BAD things about this film. Very, very violent, and the suspense is almost always there, wheather it be with music or just the dismal surroundings. Oskar is ruthlessly bullied, and is filled with hatred for those boys. After being encouraged to "Hit back. Hard." by Eli, he gives the main bully a good smack on the head, therefor protraying that violence can solve your problems. A few f-words and a couple uses of h--- are used.

What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Adult Written bymasterofthemovies February 1, 2011

Fine for most (if not all) kids past the age of 14. an Amazing film!

i LOVE this movie. while there are some violent scenes, they dont show the gore or it is in quick bursts. the thing that kids wont like is that its slow and that they wont fully get the meaning of the story.

What other families should know
Too much violence
Great messages
Adult Written byashbudgie1 June 25, 2011

Sad and dull

Just a depressing movie. It's more sad than scary. The adults in this film are pathetic and unsupportive, and the kids are left to fend for themselves in a "Lord of the Flies" kind of way. I wouldn't really recommend this movie to anyone, unless you really want to be depressed.

What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking


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