Want more recommendations for your family?
Sign up for our weekly newsletter for entertainment inspiration
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
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.
Violence & Scariness
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.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
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.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
The f-word on a few occasions.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Supporting adult characters are a band of drunkards.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
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. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
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. But it 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.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.