The Vampire Double Feature: Let The Right One In and Twilight by Jamie
17/02/2009, 6:52 am
Filed under: Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Ah, Vampires. I’ve always liked the undead, blood-sucking little bastards. Wow, Microsoft Word doesn’t recognise the word undead. That’s unexpected. Anyway, blood drinking monsters have existed for as long as civilisation but the suave, pale seducer that we know as the vampire today has only really been around since the 19th Century and is most famously portrayed in Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel Dracula.
In this day and age, Vampires are not just some of the most popular movie monsters but also some of the silver screens most popular sympathetic characters. They symbolise the gift and curse of immortality, the inherent loneliness of living forever, the harsh truth behind the fantasy. They also represent a dark side to our sexuality, a very real, forbidden predatory nature with the act of penetration replaced with the biting of the neck and the drinking of the blood.
So with that in mind, let’s get into today’s two reviews, the 2008 Swedish language film, Let The Right One In and another 2008 film, this one in English, Twilight. Let’s begin with Let The Right One In.

Directed by Tomas Alfredson and based on the 2004 novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist of the same name, Let The Right One In, tells the tale of a 12 year old Swedish boy and his blossoming friendship with a 200 year old vampire.
Set in the 1980’s, Oskar is a young troubled boy, bullied at school, who spends his free time alone stabbing trees. It’s whilst doing this that he first meets Eli, someone who has recently moved into the area with a man who is apparently her father. She only comes out during the night and has an odd choice of clothing for the freezing cold weather.
Over time their friendship grows, cemented in the fact that they are both outsiders with no friends but each other. They begin communicating with each other by banging on the wall between their rooms when they can’t be outside together. Their relationship eventually reaches a point where Oskar decides to cement their relationship by cutting their palms and mixing their blood. At this point Eli cannot help herself and so her secret is revealed to Oskar.
This is about all I’m willing to reveal about the plot. I honestly cannot express how much you owe it to yourself to see this film. It manages to tell a sweet, romantic story between the mortal and the immortal, whilst balancing it perfectly with the acts of horrific gore that Eli must perpetrate in order to survive. It also touches on some of those familiar vampire themes mentioned earlier, particularly the loneliness of the immortal soul but it also manages to place equal emphasis on the loneliness of the mortal in this relationship as well.

And so to the second film in this double feature, Twilight, another vampire film based on a novel, this time the wildly popular 2005 first novel in the series of the same name and tells the tale of a seventeen year old American girl and her blossoming romance with a 108 year old vampire.
The story begins with Bella Swan moving from Arizona to Washington to live with her father since her mother and step-father are going on a bit of a road trip. At school she makes a few new friends and becomes interested in an apparently young man by the name of Edward Cullen. It seems at first that Edward is repulsed by Bella but a few days later he saves her life when she’s nearly hit by a van, apparently making use of super speed and super strength. A few days later Bella figures out Edward’s secret.
In the sake of fairness I’m going to leave any revelations about the plot there, though this certainly isn’t a film you need to see in the same way as Let The Right One In. I was however surprised by it. I wanted so much to hate this film. It seems, though I consider my self politically liberal, when it comes to movie monsters I’m deeply, deeply conservative. I want my zombies slow and numerous, my werewolves to be vicious, instinct based killers and my vampires to be fanged and to worry a little more than sun burn if they go out in the daytime. And for the first part I did hate this movie. I felt cheated that after 45 minutes I’d seen more compost than blood and more dress shopping scenes than on screen kills. In fact most of the first half of the film seemed to be made up of awkward, furtive glances across a school cafeteria but in the second half of the film things pick up a little with an awesome special effects-laden baseball game and finally a little bit of violence.
Once more the main theme of this film is loneliness and accepting the fact that the immortal can find companionship in a human, but it also explores the relationship between the predatory nature of the vampires and how they regard humans, their prey, which I thought was a nice touch.
Overall I have to say I did enjoy Twilight. I’d definitely recommend it for a rental when it comes out on DVD and depending on the special features, I might even consider adding it to my collection. I mean, hell, I own The Super Mario Bros. movie on DVD and I don’t enjoy that at all.

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