Oskar, a bullied 12-year old, dreams of revenge. He falls in love with Eli, a peculiar girl. She can't stand the sun or food and to come into a room she needs to be invited. Eli gives Oskar the strength to hit back but when he realizes that Eli needs to drink other people's blood to live he's faced with a choice. How much can love forgive? Set in the Stockholm suburb of Blackeberg in 1982.Written by
John Nordling, Producer
Despite being asked twice by Oskar, Eli never reveals her true age. It is often speculated that Eli is around 300 years old. See more »
(at around 1h 45 mins) The bully would have had to rotate his arm 180 degrees from the direction in which he'd "normally" hold Oscar's hair, for it to be positioned with his knuckles facing back toward himself, as shown in the underwater shot. See more »
Melancholic vamp drama that combines visceral jolts with a glacial atmosphere
Now if I can like this movie, without being a fan of either vampires or drab interpersonal dramas, those of you who are will definitely love it to pieces.
LETROI reveals most of the problems that plague modern horror by excelling in those respective departments. It should come as no surprise then the fact that it is not directed by a traditional horror name or a well known player for that matter. It doesn't aspire to be a genre picture but instead uses a genre framework to support the story. After all some of the finest horror outings in the history of the genre have come out of non-horror directors.
Poor writing, clichés, not even a fundamendal grasp of mise-en-scene, directing and visual storytelling: lots of fancy words that make all the difference between awshum and crap, these are also some of the baggage greenhorn directors have brought to horror over the years. Why horror, this most tormented of all genres? Because of its dedicated following, because of the number of fans ready to shell out their hard earned money for even the most deplorable of DTV potboilers in the perennial search for chills and thrills.
Why do I mention all these and what do they have to do with this recent Swedish gem? It's because LETROI is everything a horror movie should be, aspires to be everything a horror movie can be and has sadly been neglected the past twenty years. Nuanced, understated, refusing to sit down and explain and telegraph plot points in advance, taking itself serious before expecting the viewer do the same.
Yes, it's a vampire movie where the word 'vampire' is not uttered until 80 minutes in. With a deliberate pacing, that selfsame melancholic and glacial atmosphere many North European films share, excellent writing and a perfect grasp of visual storytelling and set-piece. A certain pool scene readily brings Argento and the 'floor scene' from Sleepless to mind. The Bergman-esquire writing, nuanced and suggestive enough, reminds us it's a Swedish movie we're watching.
I'll stop before I commit the capital sin of over-analyzing a movie and content myself with letting the visceral aspects sink in for what they are instead of interpreting them as allusions to the teenage martyrdom of high school. It's after all pretty clear about the points it makes and I suspect it'll be quite popular with sulky teenagers. Perhaps not the kind of teenager that would go and watch Twilight. Hopefully so.
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