Horror. The word spins tales of madness between moments of lucid thought. The darkest moments in our lives become our episodes of horror for us to share with those who know nothing of who we really are. Horror.
As part of my Women Who Wow Wednesday series, for the month of October I’m focusing on female roles in Horror movies. I began the event last week with Rachel Keller, the lead character in The Ring, a film about a cursed video tape capable of killing anyone who watches it.
This week, I’m looking at two girls, both the same yet very different. Two girls because the film came out in Sweden in 2008 and Hollywood adapted it to American audiences in 2010.
The girls? Eli (Lina Leandersson) of Let the Right One In, and Abby (Chloë Grace Moretz) of Let Me In.
My friend, who is an undisputed Foreign Film buff, led me to the movie Let the Right One In a couple of years ago without a hint of its plot. He said, “Watch it.” I had no idea.
Circa 1982, Eli is a young girl who moves into an apartment complex with her guardian. It’s night. Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant), a boy about the same age as Eli notices their move. They meet alone in the dead of winter at the playground between apartments. He offers her a snack, but she’s not very hungry.
As the friendship blossoms they have this conversation:
Oskar: How old are you?
Eli: Twelve… more or less. What about you?
Oskar: Twelve years, eight months and nine days. What do you mean, “more or less”? When’s your birthday?
Eli: I don’t know.
Oskar: Don’t you celebrate your birthday? Your parents… they’ve got to know.
Eli: [Eli looks down on the ground]
Oskar: Then you don’t get any birthday presents, do you?
Something about Eli bothers Oskar. She’s not like the other girls. Why isn’t she in school? From where did they move? Why did they move?
In the meantime, a serial killer is on the loose. The killings started about the same time Eli and her guardian moved into the Blackeberg suburb.
The film is a slow build feature. Much of who Eli is does not come out until later in the movie when Oskar confesses to her how he has enemies at school, who just as well rather see him dead than have him live a fulfilling life. Eli encourages Oskar to fight back and in turn becomes Oskar’s closest friend, which soon enough becomes love.
The charm with Eli’s character is seeing how she reveals to Oskar who she really is. In the American version Let Me In, Abby’s revelation comes at a more intense moment than is otherwise expected.
Don’t worry; I won’t reveal the nature of who Eli/Abby really is. Although I do feel it somewhat my duty to warn that the movies, especially the Swedish version, have their moments of creepiness.
Why would I choose Eli/Abby as a Woman Who Wows? Everyone has a secret. In her case, she’s kept it for a long time. How long? No one knows. But when Oskar finds out, she keeps from acting on instinct. Instead, she builds him up to defeat those who dare stake a claim on his life. Her strength lies in empowering the weak. And this is why she wows.
That ability to empower is greater than the threat of death.
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Have you seen Let the Right One In? How about Let Me In? If you have, what did you think of Eli/Abby?
18 thoughts on “Eli/Abby”
Abby is certainly one of the more intriguing anti-heroes of horror that I’ve seen. Both a defender and destroyer of innocence, a monster with humanity (seemingly) intact. Tragic victim or ruthless manipulator? Who knows!
Sounds and looks delicious. I’ll give it a try.
I have been a fan of the original movies. In the case of the feature from last week’s WOW (The Ring) and other movies like the French version of Le Femme Nikita (Hollywood remake was “Point of No Return”). I am interested in seeing this movie in the original form. Those that have commented above seem to really enjoy this version.
Jack, thank you once again for introducing us to new things.
I haven’t seen either, although it is on my list. Perhaps this October/Halloween season it will get a viewing!
I still have not seen the remake. But I loved Let the Right One In.
Good choice Jack- I read the book which is startlingly good and saw the Swedish version… I’ve yet to see the remake. Isit as good?
Wow indeed. Your building up that the girl is the murderer me thinks. I’m very intrigued by this but I’d have to watch in daylight.
I can’t say 😉 You’ll have to watch it to find out! It’s not what you think!
I always find it interesting to compare foreign films to their Hollywood remakes – certain things can get “lost in translation” (sorry, couldn’t help myself) but often new layers and perspectives are brought to the story as well. Which version did you like better Jack?
I really enjoy the Swedish version more since its atmosphere falls in line with the overall feel of the movie. It’s also creepier, in my opinion. The reveal happens ever so slowly. In Let Me In, the story structure is straightforward with little deviance from the typical Hollywood plot methodology. Now you’re making me wanna watch both of them again, Amber!
When ‘Let The Right One In” was presented in the Fantasy Film Festival program, I knew I had to watch. I could not attend, though. I bought the book (a Swedish classic), read it (i.e. the English translation). As this movie was shown on TV I was thrilled. It is a great story and the actors are convincing. The Eli character deserves the “Woman Who Wow” classification.
I did not yet have the opportunity to watch the Chloë Grace Moretz version. I am pretty sure that she is as convincing as usual.
Jack, I’ve seen both movies; loved both equally, but lean more to the Swedish version. I read the book that the Swedish version was based on. If you have a chance read it. Warning; it gets really creepy. As always, your review is excellent
I caught the last half of the movie with Cloe Grace Moretz. I was surprised how much I liked it and it was because even so far in, I found Eli/Abby an interesting character. Love the idea of a horror theme for October.
Isn’t Cloe Moretz supposed to be the new Carrie?
Yes, she’s the new Carrie. What’s more interesting is that Julianne Moore plays the ultra-religious, psychotic mother. That should be a treat to see!
Just saw her in Don Jon, so I’m curious to see how she does. Though, I’ll wait until I can watch it with the lights on. Still have bad memories from the first one. Not falling for that trauma again.