A movie like this makes me reflect on the character ages in all the other horror films we viewed in class. When dealing with children, audiences tend to sympathize more and expect less from their actions. Kids supposedly don’t completely understand the gravity of their doing especially when they end up getting into trouble, which is why when adults punish them, they are told to “think about what they’ve done.” In these horror films, however, children end up playing the braver roles. It is because they don’t overthink situations that leads them to acting on instinct. Twelve-year olds aren’t exposed to the real dangers of the world thanks to the protection of their parents, but if they are to be handed an opportunity to explore something new without their parents’ knowing, they wouldn’t stop.
Oskar doesn’t have any friends in his school and doesn’t actually seem all that dangerous, despite his keeping of a knife with him at all times and his collecting of newspaper clippings of crimes. Although he doesn’t ever tell his parents about all the bullying he receives, his late night monologues tell us his secret desire to seek revenge upon his bullies. As Eli enters the picture, a strange new neighbor whose body is cold as ice and reeks of an odd smell, Oskar is suddenly drawn to this also lonesome kid. Even without knowing her whole background or why she acts strangely, it doesn’t stop him from reaching out to her. This is exactly the difference between adults and children. With all the knowledge regarding violence and pain, adults become more guarded when people don’t act in their own code of what is normal. Oskar doesn’t care that Eli is a vampire because he had gotten to know the person within her monstrosity.
Just as Barbara Creed talks about women as gendered monsters, this film portrays it in a literal and more exaggerated way like in the older horror films. Instead of Oskar turning into stone as he gazes upon Eli’s eyes, he goes through a more emotional stiffening wherein his infatuation with her causes him to act out of his normal self. The power of even a little girl can cause the opposite sex to change. We see this as he finally fights back against his bully, and as he goes out of his way to learn morse code and teach it to her. With just a few words exchanged during their conversations at night, it is the gaze of her eyes, as described by Williams, which causes them to get into trouble. He ends up becoming the actual victim of Eli as she gets him to decide to leave his old life behind and travel around with her. In the ending we see him in the train tapping to Eli as she lies inside a box. Somehow it tied the entire movie together. As Oskar grows more in love with Eli, he will also be growing old as she stays a 12-year old. It brings us to wonder that maybe the older man who used to take care of her was her previous love who stayed by her side until he was too old to continue killing for her. As he sees that she has found Oskar, perhaps it is what helped him decide to willingly take his own life since he had nothing left to live for at that point.
To end the semester with this film was a good choice, for me. It helps us reflect on what exactly is supposed to be considered terrifying given a horror plot and it tests us to see just how brave we are to realize that we have our own monsters dwelling within our very selves.