Låt den rätte komma in

Is this the end of Zombie Art House Cinema?

Eight buckets of blood. Acid face guy. Little Girl Vagina. Joe Bob says: 'I'm gonna get arrested!'
Reported on 13th of November, 2008

What is it about an abandoned mall? Is it the allure of having a whole post-apocalyptic world to yourself? Do we see ourselves in the eyes of the empty non-starbucks coffee shop windows, cast aside, hoping someone will buy a muffin? It is all these things, but in the case of the Sunset 5, it is in particular, the charm of a lost and forgotten era. Ah, you say to yourself, remember 1995?

Låt den rätte komma in

12 November 2008 @ The Sunset 5

$5.20 or, if one must be prosaic, and one must... 
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆


The Crescent Heights/Sunset complex is probably cursed, since it occupies the spot which used to be occupied by the Schwab’s drugstore, which was the place where Lana Turner wasn’t actually discovered. It’s now just as dead as Schwab’s, with two empty floors of exposed plywood standees from a once flourishing Virgin Megastore, the paint shadows of signs marked CDs and DVDs peeking through the floor to ceiling glass. A visit to the Sunset 5, and you are transported to a carefree time of television that you couldn’t fast forward through, cell phones that you couldn’t talk on (we called them pagers) and moments in your life where you weren’t constantly connected to all the knowledge in the universe. 1995, when people ‘bought’ ‘music’ at a ‘store’.

That’s what she said.

Are you calling me a plagiarist?

Movies are supposedly going the way of the Sunset 5 complex, and you immediately get that feeling when you use their loathsome parking ticket computer, which seems to hail from 1985. When you get home to your time machine tonight, would you travel back twenty years, and tell engineers that having the computer voice of a Mac SE say “Please wait” every five seconds for the baffling 60 seconds it takes to read your ticket and give it back to you having done nothing, has the opposite of the intended calming effect? And maybe you can kill Hitler or something.

A dead mall was, without meaning to be, the perfect place to see Let The Right One In, which I hope is the correct translation, because it seemed like pretty much everyone let the wrong one in, and that they would have let the right ones in, if there were any right ones to be let in. Trust me, that last sentence makes a lot more sense in Swedish.

In any case, around minute 40, an older gentleman waddled in and promptly sat down right in front of me. He did this, I assume, to keep me entertained, as I immediately started imagining the movie that he saw: 12 year old girl, who were not supposed to think is hot, climbs up a five story hospital, sucks acid skull face guy dry, then has naked bedtime with 12 year old boy. That’s when he booked out of there. It’s fifteen minutes long, and it’s a hell of a film. I wish I’d seen it.

But I’m not a fan of the sample; I can’t, or won’t see just part of a film. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a firm believer in the sneak. On some of my tickets, I’ll even write the name of the film I snuck into under the one I paid for. The most poetic: Clockers, followed by a sneak into Hackers, which happened at the equally dead (and now disappeared) Hollywood Galaxy 6, the only location on earth that was able to drive a Ben & Jerry’s out of business. Though with sneaks, like mix tapes, you’re also trying for diversity, and in the tradition of following The Happy Flowers with Kylie Minogue, the winner there was Turner & Hooch, Wired, followed finally by Sex, Lies & Videotape, all for $3 at a 12 screen in Columbus, Ohio.

No, I have to see a movie all the way to the end. And having seen the entire film, I am left with what can only be called a Swedish Tentpole.

That’s what she said.

Are you calling me a plagiarist?

In America, we have our tentpole films, which are themselves tentpoled by trailer moments. The transformer transforms, the guy tells the one funny joke, and the girl takes off her top while walking away really fast. And so, with Let the Right One In, we have its Swedish counterpart, with what is supposedly a famous trailer, though not famous enough to get the movie in a theater besides the Sunset 5.

The Language of Ticket Printing Machines Revealed!

The Language of Ticket Printing Machines Revealed!

You’ve got your little girl jumping on a guy and drinking his blood, your lady on fire in a hospital bed, your close ups of said girl with blood dripping from her mouth, your severed head dropped in a pool, your close up of said girl with blood dripping from her eyes, your body frozen halfway through an ice sheet, your 1970s Swedish CGI kitty attack and your close up of said 12 year old girl’s vagina. Yeah. That last shot didn’t make it into the trailer, but it made it into the film, and I feel fairly sure that I’m about to be arrested at any moment.

Now I like trailer moments, since usually they’re the only thing I remember about films. Ransom? ‘Give me back my son!’ Actually, that’s more than I want to remember. But in between the trailer moments, there’s all this unnecessary stuff they use to keep us in our seats after we’ve seen the trailers. In American tentpole movies, the characters find oddly peaceful times between getting shot at or jumping about to speak the producer’s notes out loud. The scenario would go like this: the Producer would tell the Screenwriter (and the dutiful Screenwriter knows enough at this point to simply write it down verbatim): “He should say something like, ‘My father wasn’t there for me, and I’m sad.’, and she should say something like, ‘That makes me sad.’”

Okay, that’s actually way better than what winds up in most movies, but you get the idea. The characters talk about some psychological thing they have to get over. Then, they get over it. In this film, they don’t say anything, which, while infinitely preferable, is still not as a good as, say, something happening, or someone saying something clever. So I spent a lot of time imagining the various fifteen minute versions of the film that could have been.

This is a little unfair, as I think I liked this film, but having seen it, not in seeing it. You heard me. If you asked me now, I liked the mood that the silences created. I liked the unexplained bit where the lady who might be a vampire, might be the one who picks up some random truck driver whose blood she might drink, only you just see a silhouette on a road. And you never go back to it. I liked the boy’s father bringing in some random guy we’d never seen before, saying ‘You have to drink with friends’, and a lot of weird looks shared between everyone over what might be My New Gay Stepdad. And you never go back to it.

So the next day, I am remembering all the good bits, and even the film as a whole, and saying that I liked the movie, or at least remember it fondly. If you asked me while I was watching, I was bored out of my mind. This not so bad, since the movie will occupy a lot more time in my past than in my present.

That’s what St. Augustine said.

The Take

Eight buckets of blood. Acid face guy. Little Girl Vagina. Joe Bob says: ‘I’m gonna get arrested!’
Total Profits
Thinking that shock and suspense are the same thing
Making a movie about a rescuing a little boy from bullies and failing to make me cry.
Total Losses


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