One might think that it was terrible luck for Let the Right One In, a small Swedish vampire movie, to hit American theaters alongside the Twilight juggernaut, but I suspect the timing was actually a blessing (perhaps even intentional). The slow-moving subtitled film can’t actually compete with Stephenie Meyer’s massively successful franchise, but it can piggyback on the vampire madness as a kind of counterprogramming. Contrarians and snobs, who might otherwise have overlooked the moody little genre flick, will seek out Let the Right One In so they can rave about the good vampire movie, the one that doesn’t feature constipated acting, simplistic sex-is-bad messaging, and goofy sparkle-skin mythology. You laugh, but obviously the trick worked on at least one person.
The ironic twist is that Let the Right One In turns out to be a genuinely great movie—disturbing and haunting and beautifully filmed—and it deserves more than to be used as an ineffectual shiv in the side of a dumb Tiger Beat blockbuster. I hope that the audience it attracts with spite takes the time to admire its subtleties and appreciate it not just for what it isn’t (i.e., Twilight) but for what it is.