Let the Right One In

Director: Tomas Alfredson
Year Released: 2008
Rating: 3.0

Mash-up of two genres - the coming-of-age movie and the vampire movie - into a flawed but strangely compelling whole: lonely, frequently beaten-up boy befriends a mysterious, dirty and usually underdressed "girl," he discovers that not only is "she" not a girl, but "she" kills people, drinks their blood and can fly (he learns to be okay with these things: young love means compromise). The gender issues are poorly handled - the boy/"boy" relationship is 'dodged' by casting a female in the androgynous role, and there's that quick crotch shot of mutilated genitalia that confuses more than it enlightens - and the Bullied Kid in School aspect isn't well developed (unlike, say, an episode of Freaks and Geeks or some of your better teen movies there isn't much of a shaded view of school life when one is on the outskirts of popularity) but the compelling core storyline is what makes this resonate: here are two people in need of some kind of redemption with his repressed bloodlust finding literal manifestation in "her" daily life. The ending is psychologically unhealthy - as our frail lead fails to learn how to properly deal with bullies in a healthy, productive way - but this is another reminder that this is not an after school special (and that apparently Swedish police aren't exactly the most skilled or astute investigators around).