Reviewer: Julie Lynn Hayes
Let the Right One In
Oskar (Kare Hedrbrant) lives with his mother in an apartment building. The delicate-looking 12-year-old is something of a loner, and is bullied by some of the boys at school. He meets a most unusual girl name Eli (Lina Leandersson). She doesn’t go to his school, he only sees her at night, and she is always asking to be invited in. But she isn’t judgmental, and he finds himself attracted to her as they grow closer.
But Eli has a secret, one she can’t afford to have discovered. One that keeps her and her guardian constantly changing locations. When the unthinkable happens, and Eli is forced to fend for herself, Oskar is afraid he will lose the most important person in his life.
This Swedish film puts a new spin on an old theme. It’s done quietly and seductively, and yet the horror shines through. It’s darkly romantic and also visceral. Well written and directed and acted, I would highly recommend it. I’ll give it 4 Stars
Carnival of Souls
A drag race between two cars filled with young people leads to tragedy when the car containing three young women plunges off a bridge. At first there are feared to be no survivors, but then Mary Henry (Candace Hilligoss) emerges from the water. Mary makes a fresh start, moving to a new town to become the church organist, although she insists that the church is just a place of employment, nothing more. She rents a room from Mrs. Thomas (Frances Feist), which is more than adequate for her needs. The only other resident is John Linden (Sidney Berger), who is more than a little weird.
After learning of an abandoned carnival, Mary visits the site with her employer, the minister (Art Ellison), but he won’t be party to entering the grounds. Mary returns later and wanders about. She finds she is drawn to this place and can’t stay away. But unsettling things are happening, most frightening of which is a strange man who appears at the oddest times and places, including inside her own home. But no one else seems to notice him. And there are times when people seem not to hear or see Mary herself…
This film came out in 1962 and is in black-and-white, which adds to the eeriness of what’s going on. It
doesn’t rely on blood and guts to produce a feeling of horror. Even though the ending is not difficult to figure out, watching Mary reach that conclusion is worth the price of admission. I can see why it’s considered a cult classic. I’ll give it 4 Stars.
Rose Halshford (Miranda Cosgrove) and her father Jerry (Donal Logue) relocate from California to Chicago following the death of Rose’s mother. Rose is less than pleased with the move but had no say in the matter. At the suggestion of her psychiatrist, she is taking off a semester from school. But Rose doesn’t like this new house. It’s creepy and old and needs a lot of work. When she meets the girl across the street, Leila (Jenessa Grant), the girl wonders how can they even stand to live in that house. What does that even mean?
Rose’s father has hired people to work on repairs to the house. One morning Rose comes upon one, unaware he has keys to the house, and hits him with her phone. Afterward, she apologizes to Noah (Austin Butler) and they become friends. Rose has been given medication to help her deal with everything, but she stops taking it, although she lies to her father and tells him she is taking it. She hears things in the house, and strange things are happening when her father isn’t home, which is most of the time. But no one believes her, and she’s afraid they’re going to convince people she’s crazy and lock her up. Her mother had been diagnosed with schizophrenia before she died…
Rose goes into the basement and almost gets locked in. She finds a name carved into the wall, and wonders who Rachel is. Turns out Rachel used to live in that house. She was taken in by the previous owner who lived there with her son. But Rachel disappeared. More and more, Rose is convinced that something happened to Rachel, but what? But everything she does seems to end badly, and she’s afraid her father doesn’t believe her any more. Can she convince him of the truth before it’s too late?
This is a fairly decent movie that isn’t obvious from the beginning, like some are. I had various theories as to what was going on, and they were all wrong. I am a huge fan of Donal Logue, and he does his usual good job, not to mention looking pretty good. Miranda Cosgrove is good as Rose, sufficiently confused and horrified and determined to not get on your nerves. I would recommend watching it. I’ll give it 3.5 Stars.