Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Rambling Review of Let The Right One In

I saw a movie last night that I enjoyed. It was called Let The Right One In. It was a foreign film with subtitles and therefore not a movie I usually go see at the theaters. I usually bring mandatory reading movies home to view at my leisure (this time leisure should be pronounced "leh shur"). So you may be thiking, if you usually don't go to the theater to watch subtitled films, what were you doing? Well I read Francisco's review ( of the movie and I was intrigued. This movie was originally released in 2008 in super minor limited release but it seems to be crawling through theaters again. Anyway my friend loved it, and he had not steered me wrong on Slumdog Millionaire, so I took his word for it. I went down to the Living Room Theater, which has nice, comfy, giant chairs and a lounge. It also happens to have cheaper movie tickets, normally 7 but right now Tuesdays are 5. I sat down with the previews already rolling just barely making it in time to watch the movie and definitely with no time to enjoy the lounge.

Maybe I should preface this a bit. This movie is not some overly arty foreign film, nor is it a tear jerking romance. It is a story about a vampire. Now if you know anything at all about me you may know that I like reading and watching things about vampires. I just find them interesting. Having said that, this movie is like no other vampire movie I have ever seen. It is a love story and some may say, including Francicso at, it is a coming of age tale. Either way this movie was different and that was a good thing. As I seem to have committed to this movie review without intending too, I shall start this thing with no further delay.

Oskar is a blond haired 12 year old kid that is a constant victim of a few bullies at school. We see him take abuse from these guys almost immediately. Oskar's silence and meek demeanor are only really convincing if you manage to avoid his eyes. In his eyes he betrays his true desire to even the score but he doesn't. Instead he remains a passive victim for the bullies games. Because Oskar is not real wild about being the scapegoat, he spends his nights fake slicing those bullies, repeating the taunts he heard them use on him earlier in the day. In fact that is how we open the movie with him telling us to "squeal lke a pig." That same night a brunette girl moves in next door, Eli. He watches her as she gets out of her car before going back to his bully slicing practice (which consists of him waving his knife around and saying things about squealing). It may surprise you(wink wink) to know that our friend Oskar has no friends and spends a lot of time alone.

Eli of course is our vamoire. She has a guardian, he must be more then that but this idea is only hinted at. Anyway her guardian goes out and gets fresh blood for her but he is getting old and starting to be less capable of doing his job. He almost gets caught the first time we see him doing this. When he flees the scene without the blood, he leaves her to catch her own prey since her hunger is gnawing at her. This is when Eli meets Oskar. Within their first conversation she tells Oskar they can't be friends but a friendship develops anyway. He goes back inside planning to spend most of his time out in the snow so he can talk to her again. Meanwhile she goes out and ensnares a victim, not realizing she has a witness.

Eli, of course, is not a normal girl, although she appears to be Oskar's age she isn't. When asked her age she says "12.... more or less" and does not answer when Oskar asks what she means by "more or less." Luckily for her Oskar is a weird little boy. The pair that "can't be friends" do become friends. When Oskar realizes Eli is a vampire he does not seem shocked or horrified by it. Things continue to build and get slowly out of control but I am done telling you what happens. See it for yourself.

This movie has been dubbed by some as the "anti-Twilight" and I guess I can almost see where they are coming from. These kids have a definite connection and, as I said earlier, it is definitely a love story of sorts. I think they mean that Eli is a vampire but not an only animal eating vampire. She feasts on human blood, like every good vampire should. That being said the movie has some blood and violence. It also had a quick shot of the girl changing as Oskar peaks in on her, which left me feeling uncomfortable. Thankfully that only happened once. Either way I figured I would mention it so you would not be as surprised as I was. My friend Francisco mentioned it in his warnings as well but I read his review several days before and I simply forgot. This movie is not a slasher flick and is more intriguing and suspenseful then scary. It, however, might not appeal to all. If you read this far you might be a person who should see it.

Apparently this movie is so good they are remaking it. The recent trend in Hollywood seems to be: remake foreign horror flicks by recasting them with English speaking actors and eliminating subtitles. What happened to originality? If you have seen a horror movie in the last few years then you might have seen a remake. The Ring, The Eye and The Grudge are all examples of movies that were originally foreign films remade for the American audience. Why exactly do I need to see a remake of a film that was just made and so good that critics love it and American studios are fallng all over themselves to remake? Why not just see the original and read the subtitles? Don't wait for the remake.... see this one!

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