On the flight home from London, I selected the movie Twilight for my personal seat-back viewing pleasure. My niece is bananas about the book series, and the one thing I knew is that the "star" vampire, Edward Cullen, is supposed to be unbearably good looking. Given my abiding love for Buffy, how bad could it be? The answer is not bad at all. Not at all.
When I was telling E! about it, she mentioned a Swedish teen vampire movie called (this is the translation) Let the Right One In. I placed it right at the top of our netflix queue, and we watched it last night. Holy crap, now THAT's a teen vampire movie.
As movies, these probably couldn't be more different. Twilight has a hip, smooth soundtrack, and Let uses a strained, slow piano track. One vampire (Cullen) is pretty much across-the-board good, especially vis-a-vis his human love. The other one, Eli, is more complicated, beginning with the fact that she is only twelve (or as the character puts it "twelve. more or less") and yet wields so much power. Twilight is an expensive production with some crouching-tiger style special effects, which push it toward the fantasy genre, whereas Let relies on jittery loping movements and old-fashioned film speed to render the superhuman ability to move and move stuff, which yanks it over to the horror genre. What's more, Let has English dubbed in, and the lines are read in a rather deadpan fashion with voices that don't always match the characters, which makes it even creepier.
And yet the similarities across the genre are fun to note. They both stage the daily vampire drama of getting just enough to eat but resisting eating the "wrong" thing--something we can all relate to!--against the most mundane and youthful school scenes, the high school parking lot in Twilight, the playground in Let. There's talk of a prom in one and going steady in another. Both feature the most beautiful, fresh-faced main human characters who are far from naive. Both take place in gloomily gorgeous places--the Pacific Northwest and Stockholm. And both leave lingering the unworked-out (unworkoutable?) plot of human versus vampire lives, necessarily out of sync.
If you're looking for rental recs, I can think of a worse weekend activity than a teen vampire weekend fest. Might as well throw in Lost Boys for old time's sake. Here are the trailers for you, in case you want a little... taste.