The astounding popularity of the Twilight series of books has rekindled an interest in vampires across the country. While many are hooked on the story of forbidden vampire love, the Twilight books are often looked down upon by horror fans for not including the gorier aspects of vampirism, and many believe that pretty boy hero Edward Cullen can’t even be considered a real vampire. For those into horror but still wanting a human-vampire love story, Sweden brings Let the Right One In.
Oskar is a bullied, anti-social 12-year-old boy who meets Eli, a lonely girl who seems to appear in his apartment’s courtyard only at night. Though she appears to be 12, she also claims to have been 12 for a long time. Oskar eventually learns that Eli is a vampire, but they begin to fall in love nonetheless.
The youth of the two main characters make this different from Twilight. While Twilight focuses on the forbidden love between Edward and Bella, Oskar and Eli’s love is about Oskar’s emotional awakening as an adult. Not only does he learn how to fall in love, but he also learns how to stand up to the bullies in his life.
What also separates Let the Right One In from recent popular vampire lore is how the gore is handled. When Eli goes out to fill her hunger for blood, director Tomas Alfredson does not shy away from how swift and bloody the attacks can be.
Alfredson’s direction is also a widescreen photography lover’s dream. The bleak winter atmosphere of Sweden is beautifully photographed and adds an additional layer of depth to the tale of vampires.
With beautiful photography and a haunting story of romance and teenage awakening, Let the Right One In is one of the most original movies playing this winter. While some might be content in enjoying vampire romance through a teen-angst mold, this might be a more rewarding option for audiences willing to put up with subtitles and gore. For a season filled with bad movies and awards bait, this is the best alternative.