Let The Right One In is a vampire tale for the ages. It involves a young boy named Oskar who is brutally bullied while at school and has a broken home life with virtually no escape. Although he has a troubled life, he soon meets a peculiar young girl who drastically changes his situation. Let The Right One In was produced in 2008 by Swedish director Tomas Alfredson. It was based off of the novel of the same name by John Ajvide Lindqvist, and then redone under the title Let Me In in 2010 by US director Matt Reeves.
#LetTheRightOneIn was originally set to have a television adaptation by TNT but was scrapped pretty recently. The show is now in limbo until another network picks up the rights. However, with the 2008 version being a fantastic film and the US remake not meeting the quality of the Swedish version, might it be better to let sleeping vampires lie?
Let's take a look at the visual motifs and film elements that Tomas Alfredson's Let The Right One In used so incredibly and why it might be better to let the original stand alone to tell the story of Eli and Oskar.
The Rubik's Cube
The Rubik's Cube is actually a central part of the film, and it serves two equally important purposes. The first is that it gives this story a time period, as the Rubik's Cube places the film in the late '70s early '80s. It is also a puzzle, an obvious fact, but an essential one nonetheless. Oskar is trying to work out the puzzle just as he is trying to work out Eli. Eli herself is a puzzle, and the fact that she solves it so quickly is a testament to the certainty that Eli is not like Oskar.
This square, symmetrical design is mimicked throughout the film. Take a look at the playground set and building architecture for example.
This symmetry is constantly alluding to the cube and the puzzle that is Eli.
'Tis The Season
It is common throughout literature, to use winter as a symbol of death. It has been done for centuries and Let the Right One In is no different in this respect.
The entirety of this film takes place in winter: The season of death. This ever-present visual motif constantly refers to the fact that Eli is death — she causes it and embodies it herself.
In the scene above, Håkan can be seen draining a man of blood, doing Eli's dirty work for her. Not only does this fit the winter motif, but this white landscape also lends a hand in showing extreme contrasts of color.
Abrupt Color Contrasts
As is highlighted in the pictures above, Let The Right One In, works with a very dull and mute color scape. That is, except for when it comes to the color red.
A still from the scene described above shows the abrupt color contrast. From the sterile white background of the snow to the deep red blood being siphoned from this man's body, this highlights the obscene fact that Eli's life revolves around killing and blood. Not only are these drastic changes in coloration evident in the blood-splattering scenes, but also in some of Eli's clothing.
This image serves the duel purpose of dressing Eli in the color of the substance she depends on and also showing the contrast between herself and Oskar — Oskar in a cool color, representative of his innocence, and Eli in a bright red sweater. Both are surrounded by muted tones to really bring the focus in on the children.
Leave It Be
Let The Right One In is a classic for a reason, and although I can see why many networks are trying to chase the success of this film, it is probably a better idea to leave this one alone. Tomas Alfredson uses visual elements to support this storyline. These components are so varied that a full analysis would take as long as Eli has been alive (OK maybe not THAT long, but you get the point).
In my opinion, this story should be left to the 2008 version, as it was done with love, care and beautiful cinematography. Now, if this new version does get picked up by a major network, my hope would be that they do this film and the book justice, taking cues from Tomas Alfredson.