Let the Right One In

This movie didn’t appeal to me that much, mainly because I’m not a fan of vampire movies. These blood-sucking monsters are just too mediocre for me. There have been so many versions of vampires that the real essence of one is already lost. The variety of the characteristics of a vampire made it too unreal. When you her all sorts of different things about a certain thing (aliens, for example), you may tend to doubt its existence more.

One of the most striking revelations in the movies is the gender of the monster, Eli. Throughout the earlier parts of the movie, I thought of Eli as a mere little girl vampire. I’m sure it wasn’t only me. It was made to fool the audience into assuming that Eli is a girl. As it turns out, she, or rather, he was a boy. I think this caused a major turn in the relationship between the two. At first, their relationship seemed to be romantic. It seemed like puppy love, considering they were just a bunch of 11-year olds. But at the time of the revelation, it just seemed to be friendship, a deep, deep friendship. One may even think they’re getting in a homosexual relationship. I guess that’s understandable. I myself am on the brink of thinking the same thing. Given this, what’s really going on between the two? Was it mere friendship, or a romantic relationship?

This movie presents a marginalized hero, a kid who’s always bullied. Basically, the hero’s a loser. This kind of hero is quit common in movies, even in those not belonging to the horror genre. The hero is usually an insignificant person who rises up in the end. In this movie, the hero, Oskar, kills someone. If you don’t consider this as a rising up, maybe the scene where almost every one of the bullies gets killed should’ve convinced you. Technically, it wasn’t him who killed them. It was Eli, but Eli did that for the benefit of Oskar, so you can still trace it back to Oskar.

The ending is quite confusing for me. It was open-ended. Was it a tragic or a happy ending? I guess its up to the audience. It can be a tragic one since they seem to have committed themselves too much to each other that they can willingly kill others for the benefit of the other. It has become a quite possessive and obsessive relationship. It won’t be long before things go wrong. Of course, that’s looking beyond the movie, but it’s still a possibility and the audience might still ponder on it. However, it can still be a happy ending because they end up together. Maybe it’s kind of weird that the hero and the monster end up together, but the story evolves around their relationship.

It’s the kind of movie that leaves the audience either the feeling of disgust or satisfaction. It depends.

Let The Right One In

Let The Right One In for me was not the ordinary kind of vampire movie where you have immortals with hidden agendas who go after innocent beings. Having a young vampire who is actually good in nature will not seem so monstrous and horrific. But Eli’s unique character can ironically be the source of horror in the film, when we relate it to Robin Wood’s account on the unknown—not knowing what Eli can really do bothered me while we were watching. I say that she is in actuality good, as supported in the scenes where she was ‘warning’ Oskar to stay away from her, and when she was helping Oskar out when he was being bullied.

With Eli, at first we see a fragile little girl. However, in the duration of the film her true self is exposed, and she is turned into a blood-sucking animal, which of course injects fear on us all. Her deceiving façade (as seen in two scenes: 1) When she was trying to ‘ask for help’, but suddenly attacks the man and kills him, and 2) When she was trying to get in the hospital, with the nurse not knowing that she was actually the reason behind recent murders in their town) can be seen as a symbolic view on women—on how females are usually depicted as a tease.

Aside from this, there are a lot from Eli’s character which I found interesting. Her ritual of asking “May I come in?” at first seemed odd to me—why would she have to ask for permission when she was obviously capable of going in?  With all the vampires I was familiar with, I was not accustomed to seeing the likes of Eli. The scene where she started bleeding when Oskar didn’t answer this question miraculously did not give me the shivers at all. This proved that she was in a way, just like any other human. Something in me sympathized with Eli, understanding that she was killing people only because she had to.

In relation, I admire how Oskar did not care about Eli being a vampire at all. What kind of love he felt towards Eli doesn’t matter; point is he loved her regardless of how things could turn out to be. This was really striking for me. It showed how children, though they may be naïve, can sometimes be more mature than grown-ups. Sure, Oskar didn’t know the risks of being with someone like Eli, but nothing hindered him from following his heart. What mattered most for him was that they were together, and with each other, they were happy. Oskar’s character teaches us to love without limits.

In line, Eli’s character teaches us to accept ourselves and be aware of who we are in society. She also teaches us how to respect others.

I never knew I could learn so many things from films, much more those from the horror genre. Usually, being the scaredy-cat I really am, I would expect to be in a state of paranoia after watching scary movies. But with Let The Right One In, I stand corrected. Like Oskar, I have realized that truly, there is beauty in everything.

 

Let the Right One In

Years ago when I first viewed Let the Right One In, there was a certain sense of dread and fascination that appealed to me. It is not your typical horror film because of its artsy approach. But despite having the famous artsy slow plot transition, it did not lack scares, for the lack of a better word. Aside from its artsy direction, the film also succeeded because of its superb attention to character detail. It would be almost impossible to not have a genuine affection for Oskar and Eli. As such, out of all the horror films that I have watched over the years, Let the Right One In ranks as one my all-time favorite.

On a scale where the extremes are pure cheap thrills, such as the Halloween remake and Dead Alive, and slow atmospheric buildups, such as House of the Devil and Paranormal Activity, Let the Right One In finds itself smack in the middle of the spectrum. It successfully dished out horrific and gory scenes while slowly building up a creepy atmosphere. In turn, the creepy atmosphere was finally culminated by the ending pool scene which is one of the most subtle yet shocking scenes in any genre.

The characterization of Oskar and Eli were impeccable. From the get-go, Oskar is portrayed as an abused boy who is yearning for a normal life while Eli is depicted as a frail vampire who is not what she seems from the outside. There is a certain mystery attached to the character of Eli which makes her so intriguing to watch and see develop. In this sense, Noel Carroll’s idea of a plot flow was perfectly exemplified as I was eager to learn more about Eli’s character which made my viewing of the horror film all the more captivating. By the latter half of the film, both Oskar and Eli undergo character changes. Oskar becomes more liberated and brave enough to fight off his initial bully while Eli starts to show her poignant side and at the same time demonstrate her vampiric prowess. The transition was outstanding as the film had another layer of a coming-of-age feel attached to it.

Upon re-watch, the most striking thing that caught my attention was the part where Eli told Oskar that she is not a girl. Throughout the film, it was never really explored and a definite answer was not given whether Eli was a boy or if it was merely an allusion to being a vampire. But nonetheless, this scene piqued my interest with regards to our horror readings and more specifically, the woman-monster. As stated in Linda Williams and Barbara Creed’s respective articles, a woman-monster is punished because of her castration threat. This overwhelming power makes men cringe and attack women in hopes of stopping the manifestation of the power. In connection to the film, maybe Eli was given the gender anonymity because of her overwhelming power. With her prowess, Eli could not have been a woman.

From the main plot to the subplots, Let the Right One In proves to be a well-crafted horror film that will garner the praise of normal movie-goers and movie critics. It truly deserves the numerous awards and recognitions it has received throughout the years.

LET THE RIGHT ONE IN

             Let the Right One In for me was actually pretty interesting. I thought of it as more than just a horror film. I felt that it had a dash of drama and a hint of romance – of young “love” to be more specific. I liked it because it wasn’t the type of movie that drew out its power to horrify by scenes that had the tendency to shock people or make them jump from their seats. Of course the movie still had scenes that produced that sort of reaction from the viewers, but there was depth in the movie. The idea of vampires that don’t sparkle is scary in itself, yet somehow, for me, the fact that Eli was a young girl and a vampire made her more horrific.

            When Eli first appeared, I immediately found her weird and I knew there was something off about her. However weird she was, I still found her oddly endearing. I found myself wanting to pat her on her back or hug her and tell her everything was going to be okay. I guess, somehow, this is what made her more frightening. She’s a vampire. She’s a child. She’s a girl. And she’s pretty. I think these characteristics make her more scary because if you didn’t know she was a vampire, then you wouldn’t mind being friends with her or getting close to her. And that’s where the danger lies. You become the unsuspecting victim. You think she’s an innocent, little girl in need of a friend, but in reality, she’s a killing machine and a literal man eater. In my opinion, Eli exemplifies the female as a monster that Williams, Creed, and Clover talk about.

            Eli’s character shows us how monstrous females can be – not just because she’s a vampire, but because of the power she displays. A scene where she displays this power was when she brutally murdered those who were bullying Oskar. The power I’m referring to is not just her capability to kill, but her impulsiveness to do so for the one person in the movie that she truly cared about. This impulsive and reckless attitude, I believe, makes Eli scarier than she already is.

            Other than Eli, another character that I found rather frightening way (unlike the way Eli is frightening) was Eli’s dad figure. I found him scary because he was human yet he had the capability to kill just about anyone to feed Eli. I saw him as a murdered and, realistically speaking, murderers terrify me. I found him to be like Eli somehow, impulsive in a way that he would do anything – even if it cost him his life – for Eli, for someone dear to him. I find this characteristic both endearing and frightening. Oh, the things people do out of love!

Let The Right One In

As a child, I have been greatly fascinated by the idea of vampires. The prospect of having someone as powerful as Dracula (the Gary Oldman version) so enthralled and fascinated by you (if you were Mina) and willing to do everything in his power to have you just seemed like a fairytale for me. As I got older, the thought of having someone as beautiful as the vampire Lestat de Lioncourt (from Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles) be someone you often saw and socialized with was the ultimate sign of power, in my imagination at least. The blood drinking was never a problem or a source of fear and the myths were as fascinating as any fairytale could ever be. Their ability to fall so deeply in love with certain humans made each of them more human than creature and yet their ability to be cunning and cruel in the face of danger will never be dismissed as a minor detail or something awfully excessive for any created character.

While my love for vampires is pretty broad (as long as my vampires don’t sparkle) and does not think of gender as a limiting factor of said love, it is pretty obvious that the ones I’ve mentioned are all male. It seems as if there is no place for good, strong female vampires. Akasha, while a strong female vampire, was the Queen of the Damned and yet she was the villain, someone who intended for bad things to happen to the good people of their vampire community. While the monster turns out to be a boy, Eli’s feminine appearance gives him a certain weak and human look and because of this, being weak is again connected to not being a girl. The film tries to be subtle with its proclamation of Eli being an actual male by letting viewers mistake his line of “I’m not a girl” to mean “I’m not just a girl, I’m a vampire.”

In its exposition of Eli’s sutures as Oskar sees them, the film then shows that not only are females weak but that homosexuals like Eli were the other, people outside of the community, people different from the norm and at the same time so similar that their real differences could not be specifically defined. In the way that society does not even try to understand how homosexuals are similar and yet different to them, Eli seems to represent the same, choosing to stick to his simple “I’m not a girl” instead of expounding on it. Oskar turns a blind eye to the fact that Eli’s a boy in the way he turns away from his sutures. At the same time, Oskar represents how society tries to deal with homosexuals, blindly accepting Eli for what he is even though he does not fully understand Eli as a person but somehow understands him as a creature, as an other.

At first, it was as if Let The Right One In tried to be different, tried to make Eli a powerful female vampire who commanded loyalty and servitude from anyone who wanted to take care of her and then she turns out to be a he. While trying to give the viewers the usual romanticized vampire-human relationship, the film gives you a “boy meets girl, they like each other, girl turns out to be a vampire and (wait for it) another boy” twist to the story. Oskar, the young and troubled neighbor that Eli meets in the playground, instantly connects with the silent but strong presence of his new friend.

Let the Right One In is a vampire movie. It has the usual strong individual that needs blood to live. It has the human that works hard to understand the other. It has the unexplainable connection that connects vampire to human and the myths like having to invite them in and their aversion to sunlight. It even has the funny “I’m 12, I’ve been 12 for a while” that sounds like a line from Twilight. Yet it was so intelligently put together that there is symbolism that can be found within, almost, every scene. It’s different. It’s the same.

Let the Right One In

I like vampires. Not the types like Edward from Twilight but more of like Louis de Pointe du Lac from Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles. There is something about how they are romanticized that makes them appealing. You don’t overlook the fact that they are ruthless killers that feed on blood but this fact is somehow made less revolting by the fact that they are also portrayed as lonely wandering beings. It’s also interesting to look at their supernatural abilities because when you look at them as monstrous creatures then these abilities make them even scarier but when they are viewed as beings we can sympathized with then these abilities become more like cool super powers. They can be the monsters everyone is afraid of and seeks to destroy or they can be like the superheroes that people root for and fight on the same side with.

With Eli, he is the type of vampire that the audience can sympathize with. I find the character of Eli ironic. On one side, Eli is a vampire that is suppose to be powerful and we see this when he saved Oskar and killed people but on the other side he is in a body of a kid that looked to fragile and weak. Yes, Eli kills innocent people but this act is not looked at as “Oh my gosh, pitiful people, Eli is so evil” but more like “Eli has no choice, he needs this to keep living, it’s acceptable”. Add to this the fact that Eli does not look threatening at all, being a kid and looking so frail. To the viewers, Eli is just a kid who happens to be a vampire but to the characters in the film, Eli is a vampire first. Here we can see the contrast between how vampires can be viewed. Eli alternates between the terrifying vampire and a friend next door. She is both creepy and admirable. Another thing that can also be noted is that Eli and Oskar being kids generate more reaction from the viewers. The fact that they are kids makes it creepy and disturbing because they are going against the normal concept of children who are suppose to be pure and innocent. But at the same time because they are children, it makes what they are doing less disturbing because some of that innocence that is connected to being children carry over to whatever they are doing.

At first glance, Let the Right One In truly looks like a horror film (because of course it was shown in a horror film class) and even at the start of the movie, the mood and feel is already dark. We see blood and other disturbing scenes but when you really look at it, it’s more of an odd movie about friendship and young love than a horror film about vampires. You see the usual concepts that go with vampires but these details are pushed aside. Front and center is the relationship of Oskar and Eli and the other stuff just became details to their friendship. I enjoyed the film because it was interesting to see the development of Eli and Oskar’s relationship but for a horror film, it seemed a little dragy but all in all it was still a good movie.

Let the Right One In

When I was young, the vampire movies such as Queen of the Damned, Interview with a Vampire, and Blade scared me.  As I grew older, the image of vampires in media got softer and less scary.  They became romanticized and adored, contrary to what they are supposed to be (they should be feared).

To be honest, when I heard that the movie Let the right one in involves vampirism, what came to mind was the movie “Twilight”.  Initially I had low expectations for the movie because my concept of vampires is tainted by the movie Twilight and other vampire movies nowadays.

Let the right one wasn’t a really scary movie for me, perhaps because I’m used to seeing vampires, or because the scenes weren’t as disturbing as other horror films.  However, what I really liked about it was that it was more than the love story, unlike Twilight that focused more on the love story of Bella and Edward.  It tackled a different kind of issue: the issue that is homosexuality.

Eli, the vampire, can be seen as a homosexual because he used to be a boy, but was castrated before he became a vampire.  There is a certain parallelism between the vampire in the movie and the homosexual in the society.  Eli as a vampire was feared by a lot of people.  He was seen as a threat because he needed to feed on other people’s blood.  The homosexual on the other side, is seen “as a threat to the community and other components of culture – homosexuals supposedly represent the destruction of the procreative nuclear family, traditional gender roles, and (to use a buzz phrase) “family values” ” as Harry M. Benshoff described it in his article “The monster and the homosexual”.  They are alike in a sense that the two are the repressed in society; they are the Others.  As Robin Wood puts it: “The concept of Otherness can be theorized in many ways and on many levels. Its psychoanalytic significance resides in the fact that it functions not simply as something external to the culture or to the self, but also as what is repressed (though never destroyed) in the self and projected outward in order to be hated and disowned.”  They are different because vampires do hurt people, but homosexuals do not.

I guess that the parallelism between homosexuality and Eli as a vampire depicts certain issues in our society.  It depicts that our society is not that accepting of homosexuals.  This non-acceptance leaks even to the core of homosexuals and some don’t even accept their own sexuality.  They see themselves as abnormal, because everyone around them tells them so.  In the movie, Eli mentioned twice or thrice a line that proves this point: “I’m not a girl”.  Eli mentions this to Oskar because he isn’t a girl; girls are supposed to be with boys (as the society tells us).  It is clear that Eli is not comfortable being cared for by Oskar because of what society dictates.

Despite all this, Oskar shows his affections to Eli.  This shows that there is still hope for the homosexuals to not be repressed in our society.  It can be seen that homosexuals and generally, the LGBT community, are slowly becoming accepted, or even tolerated by many.