Prepubescent vampirism and X marks the spot ... kind of

On the recommendation of fellow BW freelancer (and coincidentally the guitarist at my upcoming wedding) Ryan Peck, I Netflixed a Swedish film this week. "Man, it was cool, but super weird" being the only description he gave me. After having seen Let the Right One In, if I was only allowed seven words to describe this movie, those might very well have been the ones I chose.

A 12-year-old struggles with bullies at school until a new, similarly aged neighbor urges him to fight back. The pair begins to develop a friendship, despite the fact she's a bloodsucking vampire slowly picking off residents of their small town.

This is about the furthest thing from any of the other vampire films I've watched or re-watched of late, including 30 Days of Night and the Blade trilogy. The only other flick in remotely the same neighborhood would be Twilight, but only if Edward and Bella reversed roles, were still pre-teens and instead of running angst-ridden through the woods, they sat around in the snow chatting a lot.

Let the Right One In, I should warn you, is very, very slow. With a nearly two-hour run time, you risk passing out if you start the DVD too late in the day. But the content is interesting and well-assembled, save one very quick, seriously disturbing staged shot of the pint-sized heroine changing clothes.

Despite the deliberate pace, feel free to still say "ja" to this one, fans of the undead. It may be super weird, but it's also pretty cool.

Peeling myself off the couch, I accompanied a group of friends to the downtown multiplex to see X-Men Origins: Wolverine. I had trepidation about paying that much to see what looked like a mindless roller coaster ride, but ever since I introduced her to older comic book movies, the fiancee has been all about them. That said, one of us left the theater satisfied, the other ecstatic.

I'm pretty confident that if this hadn't been a Hugh Jackman project, the film would've faltered like Dumb & Dumberer trying to cash in on a young Carrey/Daniels vibe. As it stands, the action sequences are good and, no surprise, Jackman's scowls are great. Even dramatic veteran Liev Schreiber as Wolverine's personal nemesis is pretty cool. But the script just begs to be laughed at. For instance, at one point, Wolverine kneels over his fallen girlfriend then yells angrily at the sky; a trite scene, even for a comic book movie.

True fans of the X-Men comic should feel slighted by the lack of exploration of additional characters. Although a lot of new faces pop up in the film, they get so few lines it hardly counts--especially Gambit (Taylor Kitsch, Friday Night Light), whose role and Cajun-accent are thoroughly understated.

Because of the action and stunts, seeing this film at the multiplex is still almost worth it for those who love the franchise, but I wouldn't blame you if you decided to wait it out in favor of the home theater. :

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Let the Right One In (Lat den ratte komma in)
Rated R · 114 min. · 2008
Official Site:
Director: Tomas Alfredson
Writer: John Ajvide Lindqvist
Producer: Carl Molinder and John Nordling
Cast: Kåre Hedebrant, Lina Leandersson, Per Ragnar, Henrik Dahl and Karin Bergquist

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