If you’ve read my movie reviews, you know I’m not easy to please. I have a jaundiced eye when it comes to films and expect a lot from them. The formulaic Hollywood churn doesn’t really do much for me anymore. My chosen genre is horror and I’ve almost given up because of what’s gone on out there.
Well, this past weekend I had the opportunity to enjoy a movie I’ve had a difficult time getting around to for whatever reason. I took some time to watch it on Friday afternoon and have to say, it was one of the best films of its type I’ve ever seen. It was atmospheric, moody, well-told and the music was so subtle and understated it really accentuated the whole thing. It wasn’t terribly formulaic and it was actually very traditional.
The movie is a Swedish affair called Let the Right One In. It’s the story of a 12 year-old boy in 1982 Sweden dealing with typical schoolboy issues: Bullies, self-esteem issues, and anger with his mom for being divorced and having custody. In its theatrical version, it was subtitled; the version I had was dubbed. Not as cool, but thank God because I miss a LOT of the visuals having to read the subtitles.
The story is, a little boy, a loner and outcast, meets a befriends a young girl who moves in next door. The catch is, the little girl isn’t. She’s a vampire (which is handled very, very interestingly in the movie). The vampire helps the young boy (Osker) deal wit his problems by giving him diversion. He wants to “go steady” with Eli (the new friend), but Eli isn’t interested. In the end, their friendship is stronger than the other broken relationships in Osker’s life and worth more to him.
I’m not going to tell you how this one turns out. Suffice it to say the vampire tropes are almost completely traditional, the gore is low-level (vampires; there’s gonna be blood, yo), and the movie is story-rich. A lot of good stuff, and some newer stuff I’d not thought about before. It was a good treatment of an old, abused favorite. It felt good to see it. It is, without reservation, the best vampire movie I’ve seen since Salem’s Lot and Dracula (the one with Frank Langella from 1979, not the Gary Oldman and Keanu Reeves version from the ‘90s). And God be praised, they don’t sparkle and they’re NOT silk-wearing sexpots.
It felt good to me. I liked it. If you’re into standards like werewolves and vampires, this one’s worth seeing. As soon as I can, I’m going to add it to my personal collection.
I recommend it highly. And that’s quite an endorsement coming from me.
So what’d you do over the weekend?
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