LET THE RIGHT ONE IN
2008. 114 min. Directed by Tomas Alfredson.
12-year-old Oskar is regularly tormented by bullies at school and fantasizes about revenge at night. Things change when he befriends his mysterious new neighbor Eli, who only comes out after dark, has a very pale complexion, and (surprise) just may be the vampire responsible for a string of deadly local attacks. Could their bloody bond be the key to each of their survival? This 2008 Swedish coming-of-age-horror-drama is a favorite of author Torrey Peters, whose debut novel Detransition Baby is an absolute must-read book of 2021. She writes, “LET THE RIGHT ONE IN is a film that has meant many different things to me, depending on what point in my life I watched it. It is something like a cipher––a film that reflects back at me my current preoccupations… It’s been a couple years now since I’ve watched it, and I’m excited to discover now what it will reveal to me this time about itself, and perhaps, myself.”
Torrey Peters on LET THE RIGHT ONE IN:
LET THE RIGHT ONE IN is a film that has meant many different things to me, depending at what point in my life I watched it. It is something like a cipher–a film that reflects back at me my current preoccupations. The first time I watched LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, I was transfixed, and just kept on saying to my friend: “I didn’t know I liked horror films, but wow, I guess I do,” and then there came an ambiguous moment, an intimation (no spoilers), that perhaps the vampire is trans. Or that something is going on with her gender. This was before I came out, and I realized that I had spent the first hour of the movie-viewing experience unwittingly, but truthfully, proclaiming how this film really spoke to me–this film about a maybe-trans child vampire. Oops, I divulged too much! I think after it was over, I took it home, and then watched it again, alone, some parts over and over, trying to figure it out. Then, during a brief stint as an adjunct professor I tried to use it to teach about the Gothic–which was really just cover for talking about transness and otherness. Then I finally came out, and I watched it again, and it seemed like yet another film all together–a film about xenophobia and the abject. It’s been a couple years now since I’ve watched it, and I’m excited to discover now, what it will reveal to me this time about itself, and perhaps, myself.”
Queer|Art|Film is supported by HBO and presented in partnership with IFC.