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Diluted Blood For The Bebo Generation

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If you say the word vampire to anyone, their immediate reaction, whether it be mental  or vocal, is usually “I vant to suck your blood.”. Which is quickly followed by a terrible over acted laugh, the image of Bela Lugosi pops up, complete with cape and oiled hair, everyone goes away happy. For many moviegoers, Lugosi was, is and always will be Dracula. (On a personal note, I agree). And vampires live in castles in Transylvania, they sleep in coffins and only feast on young buxom virgins. However, two recent movies have bucked the trend, and indeed the associated virtues of the vampire film. Both films focus on the relationships within the “vampire” movie, with vastly different results.

As in, one film handles it well, with sensitivity and grandeur. The other handles it with some pretty young things and a soundtrack guaranteed to make you vomit in your throat a little. (more on that later…) And because I’m a slightly cynical type of person at the best of times, coupled with a very personal, unexplainable dislike of Robert “I’m trying to play moody and angry, but I come across as though I’m just severely constipated” Pattinson, Twilight is the first under the hammer.

Firstly, I have to admit, I had little to no interest when I first heard of this movie. And after watching the full, gruelling hour and a bit of Catherine Hardwicke’s pedestrian effort, I feel justified in my knee jerk assumption. It begins well enough. A female voice over declares some sentimentality about love and hurt, then a shadowy figure can be heard breathing. A point of view shot, which leads to the pursuit of a deer accompanies the speech, needless to say it doesn’t end well for our four legged friend. And sadly, from this point on, it doesn’t go well for the two eyed viewer either.

 

The basic plot is about the new stereotype, sorry indie/emo/strangely attractive girl, Isabella Swan, arriving in Forks, Pittsburgh. Cue the troubled teenager checklist:

 

  1. Strained relationship with one of the estranged parents? Present
  2. Different to the majority of the school, apart from the other “outsiders?” Present
  3. Attractive in a quirky way, a way which will be seen later on? Present
  4. An emo soundtrack that seems to emanate from anywhere she happens to be? Present.

 

Anyway, hot emo girl has trouble fitting in. Go figure. A point that the director feels needs to be underscored by a slow – mo camera that shows the hot emo girl react to different social groups. A technique, while we’re here, that is overly used throughout the god-awful remainder. Most ridiculously in a fight (and I use that term loosely), between the two local vampire gangs. Don’t get excited, I was waiting for them both to break into a song and a dance. A pure waste of what could have been a tense confrontation.

Throughout, the film treats you like a moron. Robert “I’m still constipated” Pattison plays the lead, Edward Cohen like a panto villain, a very bad one. He raises his eyebrows when confused or angry. And if the fact that he is vampire was signposted anymore, he’d have an “I’m with Bitey” t-shirt on. If you have any knowledge of vampires, you will be aware of what happens when they come in contact with sunlight. They melt. Not in Forks, Pittsburgh, they light up like a cast member of The Hills.

The relationship between the two leads is also signposted straight off. Edward can’t be around Isabella (cos he’ll bite her, keep up). But he eventually falls in love and denies his inner lust. A possible decision by the studio, or the powers that be, to ensure they would not alienate all the teenyboppers who lap this claptrap up like catnip. Call me old, but I like my vampire films to have an animalistic, somewhat feral, possible erotic undercurrent. Genuine relationships between the vampire, and the lady he just cannot bring himself to kill. And not one that plays out like Vampire School Musical 4: Diluted Blood For The Bebo Generation.

Which brings me to Tomas Alfredson’s masterful telling of a similar story, Let The Right One In. The film focuses on young, Oskar. A genuine outsider, a fact that in this instance, the director handles fantastically with minimal examples. An absolutely terrible school life, with horrible, vicious little bullies. A home life that has an undercurrent of sadness, maybe divorce, but this is hinted at and not used as an opening. Oskar’s only ray of hope comes in the form of a mysterious girl, Eli.

Eli lives on the same estate as Oskar, is the same height as Oskar, but holds a terrible secret. A secret, which is shown in graphic detail at least four times. Oskar. Now I know what you’re thinking. “Jamie, that’s exactly what happened in Twilight”. I apologise, but I beg to differ. Twilight handled it like an extended version of an MTV music video, for a boy band video. Alfredson handles it like it is in real life. Sometimes, it’s hard to fit in, and eventually you find a person that you can be yourself with, in spite of each other’s flaws. And it’s handled without the use of slow-motion or cheesy emo / pop music.

To surmise, if you like your vampire films watered down, and if you’re 14, you will love Twilight. And you can Tweet something to your 14 your old friends like, “OMG, Robert Pattison is lush, pure lush!! LOL!! Xxxx”. You won’t find any LOL, or Xxxx’s in Let The Right One In. However, you will find an incredibly tender love story, which manages to generate emotion and ultimately love in among its sometimes violent story. Truly, a worthy find in this, the age of High School Musicals, Twitter and god-awful remakes. So do your self a favour, stop reading, put your coat on, and Let The Right One In. (I couldn’t help myself).

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Written by thepanch

September 4, 2009 at 2:10 pm

Posted in Film Reviews

Tagged with , , , , , , ,

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