Friday, November 14, 2008

Got them Swedish bloodsucker blues

Hey, everyone. I’m usually suspicious when the film punditocracy raves about The First Really Scary Movie in a Long Time. But I have to say that the Swedish vampire chiller “Let the Right One In” fulfilled most of the freaky-ass promises that its pre-publicity made. It is visually beautiful, emotionally confounding, and deeply off-putting all at once. The director unleashes all kinds of effects—howling cats, spontaneous flames, blood stains on snow banks—to rattle the subconscious.

The funny thing about this elegant, mean-spirited little horror movie is that classic vampirism (a.k.a. the fangs-in-the-flesh variety) is pretty much kept on the down-low. Center-stage is a chaste but hardly innocent adolescent love story between blonde mortal Oskar and brunette bloodsucker Eli. They share a compulsive fascination with bloodshed—and a residential proximity in the same Polanski-esque apartment building. Their relationship is abetted by the movie’s freakiest conceit—that all adult authority figures are drunken, undependable, or absent, so let the kids be ruled by their worst id-inspired nightmares and fantasies.

Kristian, you’re exactly right that this wintry, brutal vampire love story probably offers a sober counterpoint to the upcoming film version of Stephanie Meyer’s "Twilight.” (Which I haven’t seen). If you missed it at LSIFF tonight, “Let the Right One In” has just opened a run at the Angelika in Dallas. It’s worth a trip across I-30 for lovers of extreme art-house macabre.—Jimmy Fowler.

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