Let’s talk about the new vampire horror film, based on the Swedish “Let The Right One In.”The first thing I want to say is that I won’t go into plot elements as deeply as I did with “The Social Network” (not that I went that far) because plot twists actually are important in this film.However,
**MILD SPOILER WARNING**
It is probably pretty widely known that the film revolves around the relationship between isolated, bullied twelve-year old Owen and a twelve year old (appearing) vampire named Abby.Instead of looking at the plot and how it appears through the lens of the Hero’s Journey, let’s look a bit at Owen and Abby through the lens of the Chakra system.
The Chakras are a Vedic tool similar to Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs, starting with the most basic “mechanical organism” needs (survival, sex, shelter) and working up to more evolved complex and subjective needs (love, intellectual clarity, spiritual truth.)
The relationship growing between these two is based on wounds in the heart—both are lonely.Owen’s emptiness is created by absent parents (his father is merely a voice on the phone.His mother’s face is never clearly and directly viewed), while Abby is a…well, a vampire who must remain separate from…well, her cattle.That’s really the only way to put it.We can accept that she is lonely, and wants companionship, but the fact that she requires human help just to survive makes it reasonable to question her motivations.
Be that as it may, if you were to look at a diagram, Owen is threatened on the level of survival (a bit.He is being bullied, but very little bullying actually leads to death.Fear, yes...the real problem is that he has no allies, and doesn’t know how to acquire them).Sexuality?Owen craves a girlfriend, human contact.He is powerless and invisible, and sorry, that’s never terribly attractive.And that leads us to Chakra #3, power.Owen ain’t got it, and he wants it, as we all do (at least enough power to protect ourselves and our values.)And that leads to Chakra #4—love and emotion.He craves contact.
Now, Abby.First Chakra—survival.She needs blood to survive, and needs a human being to fetch the blood (most of the time).Second Chakra—sexuality.We know little, but it is suggested that Abby uses sexual contact of some kind to bond herself to her familiar “the Father.”
Third Chakra—power.She is vastly, inhumanly powerful.Her apparent helplessness is all affectation, and this is actually the heart of the horror.Owen has no way of understanding what he is doing.Anyone who thinks the power differential between Bill Clinton and a 22 year old intern was inappropriate should vomit at the gap between Owen and Abby.
Fourth Chakra: Heartspace.From Chloe Moritz’ wonderful performance, I think we can believe she genuinely likes and cares for her familiar…and Owen. But do we believe for a fraction of a second she would sacrifice herself for them?That she wants what is best for THEM?Her definition of love, and that of any sane, moral human being are vastly different.And without clarifying that difference for Owen, she is exploiting him more than any kiddy pimp or child molester in human history has ever exploited the gap between himself and his victim.
This is real horror.So there we are, with two needy characters doing a sensuous dance around each other, spiraling their way to hell.I LOVED this movie, but the critics who discussed its “romanticism”…well, let’s just say I wonder if they’ve ever had a healthy relationship in their lives.If this is “romanticism” the term itself needs to be redefined.
For the last twenty-five years or so I’ve been a lecturer, coach, novelist and television writer. For the last forty years I’ve been involved variously in the martial arts, and for all my life I’ve studied and enjoyed yoga. Not that I worked at it as hard and honestly as I should have—I’d be a combination of BKS Iyengar and Bruce Lee if I had.
After publishing about two million words of science fiction (including the New York Times bestsellers The Legacy of Heorot and The Cestus Deception) and having about twenty hours of produced television shows (including The Twilight Zone, Outer Limits, Andromeda, and Stargate, as well as four episodes of the immortal Baywatch), I’ve got opinions on the writing life.
After earning black belts in Judo and Karate, and practicing the Indonesian art of Pentjak Silat Serak for the last fifteen, well, I have some opinions there, as well. And having struggled to live consciously since childhood...well, those opinions are probably strongest of all.