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I was pretty happy when Wilson dictated this movie to me. I was rather excited to watch it when I first heard about it but then it got so much positive buzz on the boards and elsewhere that it all felt over-hyped and I put off watching it, all the time realizing that I might be overlooking a gem of a film. So being forced to watch it before the Filmspots felt like a great idea.

On the plus side, the film is not just a vampire picture but a rather neat little coming of age film with a supernatural layer added to it. It’s beautifully shot and all the scenes of this little Swedish town all covered in snow even looks and feels magical throughout. One of the most surprising things about the film for me was how grown-up the movie turned out to be in terms of all the gore and violence being genuinely chilly and nightmarish and how seriously the relationship between Eli and Oskar is treated (my favorite part about the film for me). It captures teenage alienation and isolation and the longing for connection really well and I loved the poignant depiction of a first crush (Oskar’s utter devotion to Eli is so touching and sweet and I felt a little pang every time he gives her a protective hug).

On the other hand, I found all the school bullying and vampire stuff rather cliched and even a little ridiculous. The whole CGI cat stuff was awful and all the subplots with the victims didn’t work for me at all.

I thought the final sequence worked really perfectly and found it great, albeit rather depressing and disturbing.

I loved the performances by the two kids and overall had a pretty good time with the movie (as did my friends who I watched it with). So thanks, Wilson!

Grade: B-

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