Let the Right One In (Devil's Advocates)
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Audiences can't get enough of fang fiction. Twilight, True Blood, Being Human, The Vampire Diaries, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Blade, Underworld, and the novels of Anne Rice and Darren Shan―against this glut of bloodsuckers, it takes an incredible film to make a name for itself. Directed by Tomas Alfredson and adapted for the screen by John Ajvide Lindqvist, The Swedish film Làt den rätte komma in (2008), known to American audiences as Let the Right One In, is the most exciting, subversive, and original horror production since the genre's best-known works of the 1970s. Like Twilight, Let the Right One In is a love story between a human and a vampire―but that is where the resemblance ends. Set in a snowy, surburban housing estate in 1980s Stockholm, the film combines supernatural elements with social realism. It features Oskar, a lonely, bullied child, and Eli, the girl next door. "Oskar, I'm not a girl," she tells him, and she's not kidding―she's a vampire. The two forge an intense relationship that is at once innocent and disturbing. Two outsiders against the world, one of these outsiders is, essentially, a serial killer. What does Eli want from Oskar? Simple companionship, or something else? While startlingly original, Let the Right One In could not have existed without the near century of vampire cinema that preceded it. Anne Billson reviews this history and the film's inheritence of (and new twists on) such classics as Nosferatu (1979) and Dracula (1931). She discusses the genre's early fliration with social realism in films such as Martin (1977) and Near Dark (1987), along with its adaptation of mythology to the modern world, and she examines the changing relationship between vampires and humans, the role of the vampire's assistant, and the enduring figure of vampires in popular culture.
love story. ‘I didn’t want him to be just a monster,’ says Lindqvist, and he’s not – Håkan is all too human. In the film, his true nature and proclivities are left ambiguous, for the viewer to guess, and while he is still a despicable character (he kills without qualm) he’s also pathetic, so obviously at the mercy of his feelings for Eli; without in any way condoning his actions, we feel sorry for him, and also find him slightly absurd. There’s another reason for playing down the paedophilia, and
she says, firmly: ‘Then I’ll help you. I can do that.’ After a couple of centuries of fending for herself, Eli is an expert at violence and its consequences. The atrocity to which she was subjected right at the start of her career as a vampire (in the novel, there’s a flashback to his/her genital mutilation at the hands of a Gilles de Rais-type character) was a form of extreme victimisation. It’s not even particularly wise or useful advice she gives Oskar, since the consequence of his hitting
prior to Caleb’s arrival, as a relationship between equals, while she, one imagines, did not. Oskar, having concluded Eli is a vampire, asks if she’s old, to which she replies, ‘I’m 12. But I’ve been 12 for a long time’. Perhaps she really is still 12, as opposed to an older individual merely posing as a 12-year-old. In any case, that two 12-year-olds, one of them naked, can be shown in bed together, being affectionate towards one another, but without a trace of prurience, is one of the most
centuries-old vampire ‘grooms’ a pubescent boy to replace the human helper who is growing old, ugly and inept. 4. As a story in which a solitary boy, bullied at school, conjures up a soulmate with supernatural powers who will help him fight back against the bullies. Even before it was released, the film was already being acknowledged as a modern classic, and in a class of its own, distinct from other contemporary vampire and horror movies, and offering a new spin on an old genre. With remarkably
(Sight & Sound, May 2009, p35), Let the Right One In ‘falls into that category of truly great movies which are best defined not by what they are, but by what they are not’. Eli is nothing like traditional movie vampires such as Dracula or Elizabeth Báthory, and the only thing she seems to have in common with more recent movie vampires, such as Selene from the Underworld films or Edward Cullen from the Twilight series, is her preternatural strength and speed. As in Twilight and the TV series Buffy