In honor of the November 20 release of “New Moon,” the Gore Girls are going to put the focus this month on vampires. First up is “Let the Right One In,” which is currently getting an Americanized remake — “Let Me In” — from director Matt Reeves. The original Swedish film, directed by Tomas Alfredson, follows a young boy named Oskar who seeks vengeance on those who have wronged him after he meets Eli, a young girl who turns out to be a vampire. Take it away, Jenni and Terri!
Jenni: “Let the Right One” works as so much more than just a horror/vampire movie because of how well the characters are written, I think, which gives it a foundation for also being about growing up, being a pre-teen, stuff like that. And of course, it’s very lovely from a cinematic standpoint. Something about the Swedish landscape and the way it was filmed suits the topic.
Terri: I agree. The world they live in was particularly barren — not saying Sweden is barren — but there were only really four locations where the movie took place. There was Oskar and Eli’s apartment building, a school, a restaurant where the locals would talk and the woods/wilderness. But the solitude of it worked really well for a vampire story.
Jenni: And for Oskar and how lonely he is. I found his character oddly touching.
Terri: I definitely agree, though there were a lot of close-up shots of both him and Eli throughout the movie that I found more annoying. The sexuality in this movie is so far gone from anything we would see in an American film, and I definitely want to touch upon that. There are moments when Eli, who physically looks like a girl, will make a comment to Oskar asking, “Would you still like me if I wasn’t a girl,” to which he immediately answers, “Yes.” And the first interpretation of that is that no, she isn’t a girl, she’s a vampire, but also we later see in a quick shot of her nude that she doesn’t have any genitalia at all. And I think the idea that their relationship, whether friend or otherwise, can transcend that is on one side a really interesting look at the more accepting aspects of prepubescence but also at what exactly their relationship is.
Jenni: Well, Eli has this very prominent scar across the groin that could be where male genitals were, so I’m not sure if we’re supposed to infer that Eli has no genitals or that they were removed, but yeah, I was really, really fascinated with how readily Oskar accepted Eli, no matter what. Why do you think that he did? And how do you think that will be addressed in the remake?
Terri: Is it too naive to say I think he did it because he didn’t care what Eli was, but who Eli was? I mean, we never see Oskar as having any friends, just bullies. Eli isn’t like anyone he’s ever met, and they have this instant connection that it seems he only experience with his dad, but he lost.
Terri: As for the remake, well, let’s just say I wouldn’t be surprised if it was cut. I remember when this came out and so many people were telling me, “Forget ’Twilight,’ go see ’Let The Right One In’,” and if you look at the two of them side by side, it’s so interesting their different takes on the sexuality of vampires. Granted they are looking to achieve entirely different aims, but I felt that “Let The Right One In” was so unique and special in that way.
Jenni: “Let the Right One In,” I think, accurately portrays the loneliness of a real outsider — both Oskar and Eli, in their own ways, whereas “Twilight” portrays the super-romanticized outsider that’s beautiful and troubled and so on. The scenes of Eli feeding aren’t sexy. Eli isn’t sexy. Not that a 12 year old should be, but I’m just saying, the vampire isn’t being portrayed as sexy. It’s gobbets of blood and slurping and gross. And Oskar is just a skinny kid in Y-front shorts.
Terri: And yet their relationship is so much healthier than that of Edward and Bella! Did you think this classified as horror? It definitely isn’t horror in the sense of the movies we’ve been watching recently.
Jenni: Actually, I was just talking to someone who thought it was more like a thriller/drama than horror. It is horrific in parts, as far as the violence, but it is really about the connection between Oskar and Eli. I think that’s why people were so into it, because it’s so different and interesting than what’s normally being thrown up on the screen for horror fans. It’s got a really dreamy feeling to it.