This year I celebrated the death of the baby cheeses with a full veggie English, copious tea, a little people-watching and a Swedish film about preteen love and vampires.
I met Andrew and Matt for breakfast at Cazimir at 9:30 on Friday morning. I had already performed my good deed for the day, giving directions to some boy racers aiming for King’s College but the wrong side of the bollards on Bridge Street. Apart from them the roads were virtually empty, which goes to show that crucifixions aren’t all bad news.
We later re-educated Matt in the Apple store, hopefully ensuring another convert to a much more beneficial religion. Tea and cake followed in the Picturehouse bar where Andrew noticed that Let The Right One In had a performance an hour later. We were both interested to see it, so bought tickets.
It’s a coming-of-age film with a twist: one of the parties is a vampire, as becomes apparent very early on. But this is neither a comedy nor a Christopher Lee hamfest. There’s no garlic, no crucifixes and no priests, but there is blood-sucking and phobias of daylight and the uninvited crossing of thresholds. Oh, and apparently cats are accurate vampire detectors, much like dogs with zombies (have I mentioned how great World War Z is?).
The film’s set in a small housing estate in a Swedish town in the middle of winter. Oskar, a 12-year-old boy, is bullied at school and not fighting back. His parents are separated, his father lives out of town. Bleak, slow-paced, nicely shot. But then keep that same feel and insert the vampire elements. You get the daily grind – well, a vampire has to eat – mixed with a growing anxiety in the community at disappearances, and a growing friendship between Oskar and the 12-year-old androgynous girl, Eli, who lives next door.
It’s not a high-budget film but the fantastical elements essential to any vampire flick aren’t badly done. If anything the restrictions of the low budget enhance the feel of the film, as you don’t see everything in your face in huge, gory detail – except when you do. It’s all the more effective when it contrasts the sedate pace of the film overall.
The film’s adapted from a novel of the same name, which is going to be re-adapted by Cloverfield director Matt Reeves for an English-language version due for release next year. Given how the novel differs from the existing film (according to Wikipedia) it’ll be interesting to see what he does with the source material. All my instincts are saying he’ll ruin it.
I can confirm that Let The Right One In is my top pre-teen rom-vam Swedish-language film of 2009 so far.
Avaragado’s rating: one dandelion root