Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Halloween Foreign-Film Wednesday: Let The Right One In (2008)

Let the Right One In
asks a very interesting question: what would happen if you took a genre-savvy 12-year-old vampire and her stressed out familiar and plopped them down in modern day Sweden, and introduced them to a lonely boy with no friends? Probably just kind of what you might expect to happen.

This movie, released in 2008, tells the story of Eli and Oskar. Eli is the vampire; she looks like she's 12 but we don't really know how old she is. She's been 12 "for a long time" and she lives with a middle aged guy called Håkan, who is basically her familiar. And being a familiar is not the glamour job you think it is if you watch What We Do in the Shadows; you've got commit and cover up lots of murders, and buy lots of tarps and buckets and splashproof pants, and try not to draw attention to yourself or the very pale "12 year old girl" you live with.  I mean the laundry bills alone, amirite? So it's a tough row to hoe. Meanwhile Oskar, a fellow preteen, is a loner who is bullied at school by some mean kids. He is drawn to the enigmatic Eli who along with being a cute girl is very low key and does weird stuff like climb on things and move fast and get obsessive about Rubik's cube. She only hangs out at night and at first insists they can never be pals. What friendless loser could resist that siren's song?

Not super gory, Let the Right One In is like an art-house vampire movie for people like me who like The Smiths but don't watch a lot of horror. It's got its share of the gruesome, like when Håkan's last grocery run goes very very bad, or like when the Swedish Scut Farkas finally gets his at the school swimming pool.

I liked this movie a lot and my husband and I were still talking about it days later- all the little genre touches, the character development, the narrative twinning of Oskar and Håkan, how they are like past and future versions of each other, and that weirdo ending.  So I'd definitely recommend it in general, including to people who generally eschew horror like me. It's like the thinking person's vampire movie.

Happy Halloween!

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