The film opens with the reflection of a young, towheaded, swedish boy, Oskar (Kare Hedebrant), as he somberly looks out his window to the dark, snow-laden ground below. We learn that he has much to be melancholy about – His parents are divorced, has no friends, and he is constantly tormented by a gang of bullies at school. One day he meets a 12-year old (more or less) girl (although she says she “isn’t a girl”) named Eli (Lina Leandersson) that doesn’t think too much of the cold and has a funny smell about her. As mysterious murders plague the town (a “girl” has got to eat!), Eli and Oskar become friends, learn Morse Code together and she helps him find the courage to stand up for himself.
What I enjoyed most about this film was the story. To often we, this incubus-fantasizing-society, fixate on the vampire’s religious alienation and lecherous associations of sexuality and not necessarily on the messy reality of what happens during “meal time.” In the movie, Interview with a Vampire, feeding was clean, as if their incisors were slurpy-straws. How would this type of forced killing feel to a young person – even one that has been a young person for a long time?
We don’t think too much of loneliness and isolation with kids that are able to go to high school and later, conduct jobs (except on days of sunlight) like the characters in Twilight [who oddly enough aren't expelled for skipping too many days]. But if we ask ourselves, “How would it affect me if I had no one? How might I look at killing (if I’ve always been a vampire)?” The film shows us that there is a humanistic compulsion that resides deep within the pale skin of Eli; that she doesn’t want to spend eternity alone.
The second question that arise is one that I am glad this movie brought out. At one point in my life I wanted to try and become a vegetarian. Time and time again I would try and fail. In a conversation with a vegetarian friend of mine, he said, “most people these days, if personally killing a cow all by yourself , would turn away from meat.” Meat is murder*.
But alas, we are animalistic in nature and designed for the hunt. Eli feels that way about what she must do to survive. There is little (if any) remorse for the dead. The world is her dinner plate and we are but tender, succulent morsels on it. Of the people that walk, cattle-like, in the snowy landscape, it is not surprising that she desires one as a “pet.”
Staying to the Joyce Review code of “no spoilers,” is hard with this one because, as a vampire film that quickly became my favorite vampire film, I have a vampire’s compulsion to tell the story to everyone I see and talk with. One thing I will say is that I enjoyed the ending a great deal and I plan on reading John Ajvide Lindqvist’s book of the same title. I cannot say enough that, if you are a fan of vampire films, you are bound to enjoy this one.
Watch before they give it a Hollywood remake – which I hear is already in the making.
I leave you with the last words communicated in the film. Figure it out if you can.
[In December, I'll write in what it was (for those that are too lazy to figure it out on their own).
* dot * dash * dash * dot
* dot * dot * dash
* dot * dot * dot
* dot * dot * dot
Lines are open! ....
*In Swedish. [Enlish Subtitles] 114 minutes.
*Meat is Murder is a song by one of my favorite singers, Morrissey. He’s a vegetarian and believes strongly in that eating meat is a vile thing. [don't know if that had any significance or not]. The title of the book (and the movie) Let The Right One In was taken from Morrissey’s song “Let The Right One Slip In.”
*The Morse Code at the end of the movie spelled the letters P-U-S-S. Stop right there you dirty-minded people… “puss” the Swedish word for “KISS.” Awww… now isn’t that a sweet ending?