The Halloween season is here and in the run up to the big day I decided to examine what is considered “scary” in the world of horror movies.

Going with Rotten Tomatoes list of the 31 scariest movies, I decided to compare each film with another horror film from the same year to determine which one I found scarier.

For day lucky 13, we stay in the present day with two films that couldn’t be more different. So let’s see if Let the Right One In is scarier than The Midnight Meat Train.

Let The Right One In

When Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant), a sensitive, bullied 12-year-old boy living with his mother in suburban Sweden, meets his new neighbor, the mysterious and moody Eli (Lina Leandersson), they strike up a friendship. Initially reserved with each other, Oskar and Eli slowly form a close bond, but it soon becomes apparent that she is no ordinary young girl. Eventually, Eli shares her dark, macabre secret with Oskar, revealing her connection to a string of bloody local murders.

This new and unique take on the vampire genre is all the more interesting because of the nature of the story and its protagonists.

Pros

The Swedish setting is perfect. The woods, snow and architecture align beautifully to convey moments of isolation and fear.

Oskar and Eli’s friendship is developed brilliantly and the innocence of it is what drives the drama.

Great cinematorgraphy and direction throughout. Alfredson doesn’t have to have big, dramatic moments because the quiet ones are perfect for the tone of the story.

Cons

There’s nothing scary about the story.

Eli’s vampirism is never really explored effectively.

The stakes (no pun intended) are relatively low for the characters.

The Midnight Meat Train

When struggling photographer Leon Kaufman (Bradley Cooper) meets the owner of a prominent art gallery, he sees a chance for the success that has, so far, eluded him. Determined to show the darker side of humanity for his debut showing, Leon crosses paths with Mahogany (Vinnie Jones) a serial killer who preys on late-night subway commuters. His fascination with Mahogany pulls him — and his lover (Leslie Bibb) — deep into an evil abyss.

There are several different genres of horror at work in this film and Ryuhei Kitamura balances them in interesting ways.

Pros

Vinnie Jones is brilliantly effective in what is essentially a silent role.

Bradley Cooper perfectly portrays the obsessive artist in search of inspiration and his compulsions drive the thrills and scares.

There are some truly brutal murders portrayed in the film. It doesn’t shy away from the vicious or the horrific.

There is great tension throughout the film as events build upon each other for all the characters.

A brilliant mix of genres including monsters, serial killers, murder mystery and even conspiracy thriller.

The final reveals add a new and exciting layer to the storytelling.

Cons

Some of the dark humor doesn’t land.

Brooke Shields was wasted in her role. All of her scenes could have been cut and it not affect the movie in any way.

Wanted to learn more about the conspiracy and the deal made with the creatures beneath the city.

Both films from 2008 are awesome in their own, unique ways. But for sheer thrills, tension and horror, the winner of this match is definitely…

The Midnight Meat Train

Do you agree or disagree? Which one is your favorite? Do you have another horror film from that year that you think is better than both of these? Let me know in the comments below.

1 Comment

  • nscovell

    October 13, 2020 - 2:14 pm

    I know everyone looks at Let The Right One In as a building of a beautiful relationship between to kids but I don’t see that at all. In fact, I see a movie where a vampire manipulates a kid to be its servant until he dies.

    Oskar is pretty much just Håkans replacement for Eli and will go on for the rest of his life killing and spilling for this girl (she’s actually a boy in the book). But Oskar is just Hakan in that Hakan was found by Eli when he was young, which would explain why Hakan loves Eli and desires to be turned into a vampire so he can stay with her. But Eli is bad, she doesn’t care for either of them. She just needs someone to move her around the country in that box!

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