Friday, July 10, 2009

Let the Right One In

Most horror films usually encompass similar concepts and effects. They ultimately offer drama and suspense, while evoking fear. Vampire films are known for including blood-sucking villains and by the end, typically, the audience is hoping to see that the hero of the film will drive a wooden stake into the heart of the cold, heartless monster and that everyone will live "happily ever after."

Thomas Alfredson, the director of vampire drama-horror film, "Let the Right One In" uses a variety of techniques to connect the audience with the characters of his film in a different way than most. Throughout this film, the audience finds itself supporting the blood thirsty twelve year old, Eli, because ultimately her vulnerability has been exposed. The first main difference in this film is that although Eli is a vampire, she is first and foremost a child. Although different from her "peers," Eli maintains an innocent outer shell and still enjoys the company of other children, like her insecure next door neighbor, Oskar, who is twelve years old. The next important difference is that Eli does not hunt and kill for evil, but for hunger. This is a significant element emphasized by Alfredson because it is human instinct to feel sympathy towards a hungry child with a grumbling stomach, even if it is human blood she is hungry for. The next key element that separates this movie from the average vampire movie is that Eli and Oskar develop a friendship which leads to a childhood romance. Childhood love is sweet and pure and the audience watches the two engage in activities that any normal twelve year old would engage in. At the end of the film, Eli and Oskar save each other's lives in different ways. Alfredson is able to use the suspense of these moments to capture the hearts of the audience. As the school bullies are torturing Oskar by forcing him under water, a feeling of relief settles over the audience when Eli shows up with determination to save her friend and of course, an appetite. The survival and escape of Oskar and Eli is not your typical "happily ever after," but Alfredson has manipulated the audience so that they crave this finale like Eli craves her next victim.

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