Monday, February 2, 2009

Let the Right One In

This 2008 Swedish film somehow managed to be cute, romantic, and disturbing all at the same time. Kind of like what I imagine what Stephanie Meyer was going for with Twilight, only, you know, good.

I'll try not to give too much away, but if you absolutely must not know anything about the movie, I suggest not reading this post. Otherwise, read on, and hopefully you might consider seeing the movie yourself. If you don't want to shell out the $18.00 or so, I suggest you seek alternate methods of obtaining the movie, *wink-wink*

Let the Right One In centers around Oskar, a frail, bullied 12 year old boy with a lot of rage and hatred pent up inside of him. Oskar has no real friends until the mysterious Eli moves in next door. Eli is a 12 year old girl, and she is also a vampire. In Eli Oskar finds someone to share his darker feelings with, and Eli encourages him to fight back against his bullies.

The relationship between Eli and Oskar is a lot like puppy love, only deeper and darker. Oskar doesn't find out what Eli really is until later in the movie, but he is suspicious from the beginning. They are both young, and they act their age. Though we never find out how old Eli is, she says at one point "I'm 12, but I've been 12 for a long time." She still has the mindset and impulses of a 12 year old. The love between the two is rather touching, and there is clearly a deep connection between them beyond the usual 12 year old range of emotion, though I don't think either of them clearly understands it. It's unhealthy to say the least, but that's what it's like to be in love with a vampire.

Also present in the story is an unnamed old man who takes care of Eli. We never find out how Eli and the old man know each other, but my personal theory is that he fell in love with the young vampire as a boy, and has been with her ever since. Eli doesn't enjoy killing. The old man, wishing to spare Eli the pain of it, goes out and finds unfortunate victims to kill and drain for Eli. The relationship between the old man and Eli is sweet, and rather unsettling. There's a lot of that in this movie.

Meanwhile, a group of adults that live in the small town have grown suspicious of new man and his "daughter," what with all the recent killings, and one man even saw Eli kill and feed upon a man when her protector failed to collect blood for her. That scene is one of my favorites; it's gritty and violent, disturbing, and it would fit well in a horror film. But the emotion Eli displays afterward, when she breaks down and sobs over the mans dead body, makes it hard to see Eli as a monster.

The movie is filled with emotion as Eli and Oskar explore their feelings for each other, as well as a drama as the group of adults dive deeper into the mystery that has befallen them. The plot is spattered everywhere with blood and corpses, yet I wouldn't call it a horror movie. It all culminates in a rather shocking and disturbing end that will leave you gasping, and possibly throwing up. Seriously, it's fucked up. It is the epitome of the twisted themes present in the rest of the movie, and you'll probably find yourself fighting back tears over the sweet emotion between the two main characters, while at the same time trying not to vomit from the terror and evil of it all. It takes all of the emotions displayed over the course of the film and throws them all at you at once, leaving you not quite knowing what to think.

Overall, an excellent film and a refreshing divergence from the increasingly regurgitated Hollywood formula. Not for the faint-heart or the narrow-minded (by the way, if you're narrow minded gtfo off my blog, I don't like you.), fans of the darker side of entertainment will enjoy this movie.

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