Recognizing that the films title functions on both of these levels is important because it reveals how Alfredson deploys common vampire tropes in novel ways which serve to elevate the emotional content of the film, so that the “rules” surrounding vampires become metaphors for the emotional development both characters undergo. Thus, following Hakans death, Eli goes to Oscar and he invites her into his room at the same moment that she implicitly invites him into her life, revealing to him the first explicit hints that she is something other than a twelve-year-old girl. From this point on, the two work to protect and comfort each other while providing each other with the confidence and companionship they need in order to be happy. Oscar confronts his bullies, and after a period of initial unhappiness, Eli gains a friend who accepts her as a vampire.
Though Eli initially has far more agency and power than Oskar, she is no less isolated, lonely, and anxious about her existence, and the film uses her status as a childlike vampire dependent on an ineffectual adult to mirror Oskars relationship with his parents and school teachers, all of whom are completely unaware of the bullying he must endure and the crushing loneliness which characterizes his life. Thus, while the two characters begin the film with an apparent distance between them in terms of agency, over the course of the film their lives are revealed to be not that different, at least thematically, if not literally. This similarity is what gives the film its poignancy, because as their relationship develops, Oskar and Eli give each other the necessary support that they have been lacking, and have fruitlessly sought in their interactions with adults.
Let the Right One In uses the tropes of the vampire genre in order to explore the isolation and anxiety of childhood, and it does so by mirroring the experience and emotional isolation of Oskar with the vampire Eli. By examining how the title simultaneously refers to the rule regarding inviting a vampire into ones home and the process by which Oskar and Eli invite each other into their inner lives, revealing their fears and hopes in a way that they cannot do with the adults in their lives. As Oskar lets Eli into his room, Eli lets Oskar into her life, and the two develop a bond which ultimately serves to save their lives, as Oskar rescues Eli from a vengeful townsperson and Eli rescues Oskar from the bullies attempting to drown him. In the end, the film demonstrates the unique brutality and compassion of childhood, and shows how two children, despite their actual ages, can come together to form a bond that defies not only their circumstances, but the audiences assumptions regarding the nature of vampires, violence, and love. Works Cited Anderson, John. “A Boy and His Ghoulfriend: Beyond the Genre.” Washington Post 07 Nov 2008, n. pag. Print.