The film centres on Oskar, a 12-year-old loner from a dysfunctional family. Frail and androgynous, Oskar is unable to stand up for himself and is often bullied at school. He slowly befriends a mysterious neighgbour, Eli, who has recently moved into the same apartment block. We learn that Eli has been twelve years old for a long long time, and that she lives on blood which she gets either through a man who kills people and collects their blood or by attacking victims herself. Only slowly does Oskar realise the truth about his new friend. But before this realisation, they have already developed a deep friendship.
The film is beautifully shot. Almost every frame of the picture is immaculately constructed and the director lets his camera linger on these images, turning them into slowly moving postcards. Here, the film departs dramatically from the style of recent American horror films which generally feature a dizzingly-paced cutting. Alfredson’s picture, like Sweden’s winter landscape, seems frozen, punctuated by a few scenes of horror.
However, the true heart of the film lies in the tender relationship of the two lonely misfits, which is nicely presented in the final scene of the film. The story ends on a train where Oskar taps a morse code kiss (in response to Eli’s) through a suitcase in which Eli is hiding from the sunlight. We don’t know where they are going, but it does not seem to matter.
Jeff said: The movie is indeed beautifully made, especially visually. The movie moves slowly, perhaps reflecting the freezing environment of Stockholm. However, I found the movie has a strange mix in tone, at times poetic and at other times it plays almost like a parody of the horror genre, reveling in dark humor.
I said: I was a bit dismayed to learn, just now, that Oskar maybe the new Håkan. When Oskar grows old (unless Eli turns him into a vampire), Eli will remain ‘young’ (in the book she’s said to be at least 200 years old) – and at that time, she may look for a new companion. This is chilling.
Gontran said: You hadn’t thought of it when watching the movie? That’s the thing I most readily noticed. The ambiguity, I mean: “Best Friends Forever” or “Find Me Some Blood, Slave”? that is the question.
(for example: didn’t you notice that when, finally, Eli decides to have a nap in Oskar’s bed, it’s… the night just after Håkan’s death?)