Scandinavians have been busy with their vampires!
I’m writing this to bring to light TWO great movies from two really cold places.
We’ve all heard the hoopla about Let the Right One In. “It’s so amazing!!” or “It’s the best vampire film of the decade!” so on and so forth. But wait a minute. Though awesome in its own way, Let the Right One In is not the only awesome Scandinavian vampire export to come out this past decade.
Frostbiten release in 2006 from Sweden tells the story of a mother and daughter that relocate to Norrbotten for the mother’s work. Once there, the mother discovers a dark secret in her boss’s research tied into WWII and vampires. While at the same time, the story breaks off into a teen angst movie as the daughter finds her way at her new high school. The two stories collide when a co-worker of the mother steals a few experimental pills from the top-secret project and they end up at the house party the daughter attends.
I have to say, I’m a big fan of sharing the story. How many times do we see horror movies where the parents don’t do much and are oblivious to what’s going on? The cliché is so boring. It’s refreshing to see both family members having an active role in the plot. This movie is a prime example of what a cult horror classic should be. You’ve got lots of laugh and plenty of scares with writing that speaks to our times, doesn’t insult our intelligence all while not taking itself too seriously. Note: This film came out before 30 Days of Night.
Then there’s Let The Right One In. Release in 2008. This pick from the neighbors in Norway begs the question: Are vampires bad to the core? Here we are greeted with the most innocent and genuine of friendship/love story that has ever been on screen. A little vampire girl meets a little outcast boy. It’s hard yet soft and beautifully brutal. At the end your heart breaks but you’re happy you were there for the experience. Yes, it’s a great film. I also think it helps that the both leads were not international celebrities and that this was their first film. There is an amazing freshness that will be lost if they do indeed bring it to the US.
Looking at both films I see apples and oranges, same category-different flavor. Frostbiten is more like a teenage roller coaster that is FX driven and fast paced fun. Whereas Let the Right One In is more of a youngster on a carousel-slow paced, story driven and in general a well written piece that just happens to have a vampire in the lead.
I say see BOTH but appreciate each for what they are and set out to do.
So now what?
Well I say keep your eye on Finland!!!
Written by Daniel Ojanlatva & Pidde Andersson
Directed by Anders Banke
Starring Petra Nielsen & Grete Havneskold
LET THE RIGHT ONE IN (2008)
Written by John Ajvide Lindqvist
Directed by Tomas Alfredson
Starring Kare Hedebrant & Lina Leandersson