Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Oskar and Eli's infinite playlist
By Edward Copeland
When it comes to the broad genre of horror films, I've always preferred the type that creep you out versus the easy shock or gore. Last year's critically praised (and with good reason) Let the Right One In doubles your pleasure by adding a strong emotional element, since the central plot concerns a friendship between two 12-year-olds, one of whom just happens to be a vampire.
The Swedish film was directed by Tomas Alfredson and written by John Ajvide Lindqvist based on his novel. It really is the story of young Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant), a friendless boy on the verge of puberty, at the mercy of bullies at school and with a crush of the mysterious girl he's seen occasionally living in an apartment near his.
Eventually, Oskar does meet Eli (Lina Leandersson) and they form a tentative friendship. Oskar's hesitancy comes from the fact he's got the hots for Eli. Eli's distance, of course, stems from her need to live off the blood of other humans.
Eli even advises Oskar on his bully problem, making the film at time resemble a warped Swedish remake of My Bodyguard. Eli doesn't do her own hunting for victims. She has an adult protector or slave (Per Ragnar); the movie never makes it clear, who scouts the chilly winter grounds for victims with tools ready to hang them upside down and drain their blood to take back to Eli.
I don't want to give too much away, but rest assured, Let the Right One In provides plenty of chills colder than its wintry setting. It's another example of how in 2008, more often than not, Americans had to cross the ocean to find the truly great and interesting in film.