This 2008 masterpiece by Swedish filmmaker Tomas Alfredson is one of those movies that transcends genre. Although marketed as a horror film, it’s really a love story, but trust me — it’s not like any love story you’ve ever seen.
Films like this are a mystery — it doesn’t seem possible to plan this kind of magic out. No, there is some kind of alchemy going on here, it’s as if the movie gods smiled down on the production, giving it their full blessing. It shouldn’t work, and yet it’s undeniable.
Impossible road block number one? The leads are two twelve-year-olds. Yeah — the film lives or dies by the performances of two children. What the fuck?! How is it possible to get performances like this out of kids, much less capture it on film?
No spoiler alert needed since the film is marketed as a vampire movie, which it kind of is, but not really. What we have here is an impossibly charismatic, lonely, androgenous pre-pubescent boy who is constantly bullied meet and fall in love with a 12-year-old vampire of unknown gender who has lived centuries.
The actors are mesmerizing — the boy’s longing is painfully heartbreaking. It’s impossible not to be moved by the innocence and purity of his love.
The girl is other-worldly; her performance must be seen to be believed. Together they each provide precisely what the other one needs.
The Swedish location only heightens the sense of loneliness — always snowing and cold, the sun never seems to shine, and there is no warmth anywhere.
Just an endless night of existential loneliness, assuaged by the love of a creature doomed to live forever.