Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant) is 12 years old and lives with his mother in a housing block in a snowy, churchless suburb of Stockholm.
It's not a happy time for the lad as he is constantly bullied at school. However, his fortunes seem to be about to change when, one night, while stabbing a tree and plotting revenge on his tormentors, he meets Eli (Lina Leandersson), a very pale complexioned girl who seems to be roughly his age and is friendly towards him.
It transpires that she has recently moved into the apartment next door, where she lives with her father Håkan (Per Ragnar). She doesn't go to school and only emerges from her home after dark.
But Oskar's new neighbours are hiding a dark secret, which could well be connected to a series of grisly murders in the Stockholm area, and which Oskar discovers as his relationship with Eli develops.