(Sorry, I am listening to T. Rex right now.)
Seriously, which of these looks more awesome?
Twilight and the Swedish film Let the Right One In could be summarized in the exact same manner.Â A lonely outcast, reeling from the effects of their parents’ divorce, and, specifically, their mother’s self-involvement, befriends a beautiful, fascinating stranger.Â This stranger seems to be their age, but exists in a different universe than their own constrained teenage lifestyle.Â Our human protagonist starts to fall in love, and the stranger is drawn as well.Â The stranger uses his or her capacity for violence to aid the protagonist, and grows increasingly protective.Â The protagonist, in turn, gives the stranger a taste of “normal” life that has before then been unknown and forbidden.Â When their bond is already cemented, the protagonist discovers (surprise!) that this beautiful stranger is a vampire.Â Instead of running away screaming, the protagonist stands by their vamp.Â They are drawn deeper into the vampire’s violent world, until a life-changing act of violence causes the protagonist to realize that they want to be exactly like their blood-sucking paramour.Â The vampire does not allow the protagonist to do this, however, so both stories end in an odd romantic/creepy surrender.
I have not seen the film version of Twilight, so I won’t argue that Let the Right One In makes better use of its claustrophobic setting or portrays its violence more unflinchingly, though I’m guessing both are true.Â But Right One is a more effective version of the story above for one reason in particular: it refuses to ignore or push aside the vampire’s status as predator.Â Twilight creates a violent, obsessive character and then asks the audience to believe he confines that power to killing mountain lions and protecting one unremarkable teenage girl.Â Let the Right One’s vampire, on the other hand, expresses her love through acts of protective violence because her entire nature is violence.Â There is no easy out, no deer to kill instead of people.Â She is a predator, and while the audience I saw the film with cheered when Eli ripped her true love’s bullies to pieces, ultimately the film makes it clear that she is preying on Oskar as much as she does on any of the villagers.Â Her love transforms him into a predator, too, and this is useful to her. Earlier in the film, the older man who did her killing for her dies; at the end of the film, it’s clear that Oskar has become his replacement.
As much as Bella claims she is “doomed” for Edward, the narrative of Twilight is one of misunderstood, redemptive love.Â Edward’s controlling behavior is “concern,” his obsession “romantic” his actions “brave.”Â Â He does them for Bella’s sake, so they must be good.Â Let the Right One In does not whitewash Eli’s behavior, and their love, while freeing, is not redemptive in the least.Â So, avoid the 24-hour-lines and save Twilight for some sad evening, five years from now, on TBS.Â Let the Right One In is worthy of your $12* to see it on the big screen.
*NY money.Â Perhaps you live somewhere where it’s still only $10?Â JEALOUS.