“Let The Right One In” is actually not very hard to understand or analyze. Upon first look, it is clearly a horror film. It has all the elements of gothic screen art: dark and light contrast, shadows, an atmosphere of suspense, and a lot of blood. But if you take a deeper look into Let The Right One In, you find that it’s a classic hipster take on forbidden love- one actually more conventional than you think. It has your typical lonely boy who lives with only one parent, and the quirky girl next door, who coincidentally also happens to live with only one parent, giving them a common denominator. As usual, something gets in the way of their love and they are forced apart only for one of them to return at a time of need.
What makes this movie so different from your typical romance film, however, is that the quirky girl has more than just brightly dyed hair- she lives off blood, and she is 12. And Oskar likes more than just indie music- he is obsessed with the idea of murder, and the two of them find in each other what they cannot find anywhere else: acceptance and understanding. The only thing sadder than the fact that this doe-eyed little girl cannot help her bloodthirst is that her pathetic and frail father must be the one to get it for her.
There was one particular and very glorious scene in the film that brought me straight back to Barbara Creed’s explanation of the role of bodily fluids in horror-
Such wastes drop so that I might live, until, from loss to loss, nothing remains in me and my entire body falls beyond the limit – cadere, cadaver. If dung signifies the other side of the border, the place where I am not and which permits me to be, the corpse, the most sickening of wastes, is a border that has encroached upon everything. It is no longer I who expel. ‘I’ is expelled. (p. 70)
All I can think of is Oskar forcing Eli into his home without giving her permission, and blood literally pouring out of her. She was expelling herself of fluid that literally composed her- she was killing herself. For what reason, I’m not entirely sure. To prove her love to Oskar? That would make sense in the conventional love story formula, but it doesn’t seem to quite fit the concept of this horror-romance. Provocation usually turns one away from proving his or her love, so Eli probably just wanted to prove a point to Oskar more than anything else- that she is not human and that her condition has consequences. Like any other girl in your typical romance film, Eli wanted to save Oskar from her issues.
Horror is a genre so often synergized with suspense, thriller and drama- Rarely with romance. I’ve come to enjoy the horror-romance subgenre almost as much as romantic-comedy because of its unique taste and take on love. Let The Right One In portrayed the indie love story in a dark and twisted way, and Oskar and Eli have joined the ranks of unconventional love teams beside Tyler Durden and Marla Singer (Fight Club), Eva and V (V for Vendetta), and Joel and Clementine (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind).