What an ironic way to end the semester. I wasn’t sure if what we watched was really a horror film. To me it seemed like a Nicholas Sparks halloween special. It was like watching a more sophisticated version of Twilight, ironically so since the love team here are much much younger than Edward and Bella. But still I thought these children, young though they may be, did a much more fantastic acting job than the previous two ever could.
The movie, for me, was more of a love story than horror. The elements of the movie, from the title itself, all seemed too cheesy for me. Yes, although there was a blood sucking 12-year old girl, still, I thought the lovey-dovey elements of the movie outmuscled any terrifying elements the movie may have had. But perhaps this effect was deliberate. Perhaps the makers of the movie intended it to be so, to note something so very true about the human experience of love.
In the movie, we are presented with the story of two children who come from very similar backgrounds. They are children who live in a not-so-pleasant situation, with so much stress and anxiety that they are often forced out of social groups within which they supposedly belong. Most times, they are but spectators to the whole commotion of life. They are outsiders looking in, and do not contribute much to the goings on in their lives.
Oskar was your typical wallflower. Meek, bullied, helpless. Eli, was your typical sickly child. Weak, dependent, also helpless. Both live their lives in silent suffering, Oskar of his tormenting peers, Eli of her tormenting condition. He is a victim of violence within his home and even in his school. She is a victim of her dependence on blood and her uncontrollable instincts. Both find sanctuary in the silence of their own selves; Oskar in his pretensions of being strong, his own made-up world where he is the predator and not the prey, Eli in her apartment, curled up in a lightless room, protected by a devoted father. They meet through the Rubik’s cube, which is probably the only thing in the world that understood them. It was as much a puzzle as they were and it is in the painful twisting and turning that the three came together.
Oskar and Eli built in their own lives, fortifications to protect themselves. Oskar’s made up world allowed him to soldier on despite the many abuses. His illusions of strength lent him the courage to at least face his tormentors and not cower away. Eli’s fortress was her pathetic excuse for a home, where she was able to contain the beast inside of her, protected by an equally pathetic excuse for a father.
But when they meet, when one prisoner lays eyes on another, it is as if their hearts were doing the talking for them. “We cannot be friends,” says Eli. Probably true, because they were meant to be more.
They get along so well, perhaps due to the deep seated understanding one had for the other. No one can understand a captive better than another captive. And so, as the title suggests, they let each other in their own fortresses. They hold hands, lie in the same bed, experience each other’s nakedness, they kiss. Together they share in one cell. Together they freeze in the same prison.
Eli, though she lives on blood, is and can never be a vampire because vampires are monsters. And Eli is and can never be a monster. Cold and photophobic though she may be, she is still human because she has the heart to love. She loved Oskar enough to reveal to him her true self. She showed him what she was despite her fear of losing him in doing so. She does not impose herself on him and would only enter if he asked her to. She loved him so that despite the temptation to suck him try, she runs away and unleashes her fury on somebody else.
Oskar was capable of love too. And he did love. He loved Eli. He made friends with her though she pushed him away. He got to know her. Even when he found out what she was, he was not afraid. He was never afraid of her. He was probably the only one who wasn’t. He did not fear her, because he loved her. He loved her dearly.
In love, there can be no room for fear. When one loves, and loves truly, one runs the risk of pain, suffering and death. Yet one loves anyway and is not afraid of such consequences. For love is so humongous a thing that it cannot be contained in the heart with something else. Love, true love, is ultimate and it must take the most central place in one’s self, so much so that the lover puts the beloved as the center of his universe. Even the place the lover reserves for himself, is given up for the beloved. There can be no other way. When one loves, one does not fear. One cannot fear. One destroys all the walls, all the defenses which he built in order to “Let the Right One In.”
Perhaps this is where the beauty of the movie comes in. It had elements of a love story and a horror story and yet the former outdid the latter. I felt more love from it than horror. I felt more the love between the two children that the horror of the girl being a blood sucking killer. Because there can be no room for fear where love already is.