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Friday, November 21, 2008

Twilight vs. Let the Right One In: Which vampire sucks?

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The vampire romance Twilight opens today and is poised to be a teen sensation. Tuesday night’s screening at Parkway Pointe featured the single loudest preview audience I’ve ever heard, approaching Beatles concert levels (probably because teenage girls just like an excuse to yell). If you’re put off by potential crowds, or have heard that Twilight is pretty lame if you’re not already a fan in the books, consider a terrific Swedish import with vampire themes called Let the Right One In, which features some pointed similarities.

UNSUSPECTING HUMAN

Twilight: Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart), a thoughtful, awkward 17 year-old girl who dreams of romance

Right One: Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant), a thoughtful, alienated 12-year-old boy who dreams of revenge

ANGST-RIDDEN VAMPIRE

Twilight: Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson), the mysterious hunk with ever-changing eyes in the adjacent desk in biology class

Right One: Eli (Lina Leandersson), the mysterious waif with huge eyes in the adjacent apartment in the housing project

HIGH SCHOOL DEFINING TRAIT

Twilight: Walking in slow motion

Right One: Bullying comparable to Lord of the Flies

SMALL-TOWN WEATHER CONDITIONS

Twilight: The Pacific Northwest at its most overcast, allowing vampires to pass for human in public.

Right One: Sweden at its most wintry, allowing red bloodstains appear more starkly against the white snow.

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PALEST CHARACTER

Twilight: Patriarchal Dr. Cullen (Peter Facinelli), whose kabuki-level make-up makes his face look as white as his lab coat

Right One: Oskar, whose complexion is as pale as milk — and he’s not even undead

HUNTING LICENSE

Twilight: The Cullen vampires don’t kill people because they consider themselves “vegetarians.”

Right One: Eli seldom kills people because her human operative (Hakan) slays strangers and drains their blood for her.

LINES WITH SUPERNATURAL HINTS

Twilight: “How long have you been 17?” “A while.”

Right One: “Aren’t you cold?” … “I guess I’ve forgotten how.”

SUN PROTECTION FACTOR

Twilight: The vampires avoid sunlight because it reflects off their sparkly skin and reveals their inhumanity.

Right One: Vampires avoid sunshine because it causes incendiary reactions.

SUPERHUMAN FEATS

Twilight: Edward and other vampires leap ridiculously through the air thanks to phony special effects.

Right One: Eli crawls eerily up walls thanks to artful long shots.

HALF-SEEN VIOLENCE

Twilight: A little burning and dismemberment, almost entirely off-camera

Right One: While under water in a swimming pool, Oskar catches only shocking glimpses of Eli’s attack on bad guys.

CHASTE SIGN OF TRUE LOVE

Twilight: Lying side by side in leafy glades

Right One: Tapping Morse code messages from opposite sides of walls or boxes

LIKELY AUDIENCE WITH YOU

Twilight: Teens who will squeal through the swoony love scenes but be less enthusiastic by the end

Right One: Art-house film lovers who will squirm through the chilling murder scenes, but be more enthusiastic by the end

OVERALL TONE

Twilight: Overwrought, draggy teen love story along the lines of a schoolgirl’s emo diary entries

Right One: Compelling, icy portrait of alienation along the lines of Swedish character study films that don't have vampires

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