Narrator: I still can't think of anything. Narrator: Ah Flashback humour. Tyler Durden: I see all this potential, and I see it squandered. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables - slaves with white collars.
Film is a column comparing books to the film adaptations they spawn, often discussing them on a plot-point-by-plot-point basis. As a result, major, specific spoilers for both versions abound, often including dissection of how they end. Proceed with appropriate caution. On the other hand, books are almost always more complicated than movies, which generally have to cut a lot out of an average page story to get it down to an average minute runtime.
Advertisement Me, I think it depends so thoroughly on the book and the movie that you have to take things on a case-by-case basis. Taken solely as a book adaptation, the film might be considered anemic, for all the characters and subplots and characterization and terrifying action it hacks out.
The movie is more sweet and sad than scary—the trailer below actually gives a good sense of its tone—while the book is less tonally refined.
It has more going on, but at the loss of some of the clarity that Lindqvist found in the screenplay for the film version. In keeping with the lyric, he has to come to terms with what she is and does, and shut out the rest of humanity in the process, if he wants her as a soulmate.
Advertisement That theme is considerably more sharply pronounced in the book than in the film. Movie-Oskar is 12 years old, a pale, thin kid with an odd pageboy haircut and almost albino skin, hesitant and often silent, but soulful.
Book-Oskar is a far more troubled and less appealing character. He keeps a scrapbook of news clippings about grisly killings, which is briefly glimpsed in the movie, but in the book, amounts to an obsession.
Could be me in twenty years. But in the book, the same fantasy is much deeper and more graphic: Oskar walked down the hill past the printing company, then turned onto the path into the forest. The weight in his belly was gone, replaced with an intoxicating sense of anticipation.
On his way to the forest the fantasy had gripped him and now it felt like reality.
A beautiful world. A world he controlled, a world that trembled in the face of his actions. He walked along the forest path looking for Jonny Forsberg.
The earth shall drink his blood. It was starting to get dark and the trees closed around him like a silent crowd, following his smallest movements with trepidation, fearful that one of them was the intended target. But the killer moved through them, past them; he had already caught sight of his prey.
Jonny Forsberg was standing at the top of a hill some fifty meters from the trail, hands on his hips, a grin pasted on his face. Thought it was going to be business as usual. That he would force Oskar to the ground, hold his nose, and force pine needles and moss into his mouth, or some such thing.
But this time he was mistaken. Are you allowed out this late? And lunged… He thrust and thrust and thrust. With blood gushing from a deep cut on his cheek, he tried to escape, but the Murderer was faster.
With a couple of quick moves he sliced away the tendons at the back of the knees and Jonny fell down, lay writhing in the moss, begging for mercy.
Jonny was screaming… like a pig… when the Murderer threw himself over him and let the earth drink his blood. One stab for what you did to me in the bathroom today. One for when you tricked me into playing knuckle poker.
Jonny was bleeding from every orifice and could no longer say or do anything mean. He was long since dead. Oskar finished by puncturing his glassy eyeballs, whack whack, then got up and regarded his work.
A number of wood chips were scattered under the healthy tree that had been Jonny when he was still standing. His right hand, the knife hand, was bleeding. There was a small cut right next to his wrist; the blade must have slipped while he was stabbing.
Not the ideal knife for this purpose. He licked his hand, cleaning the wound with his tongue. For a while, he hopes that he himself somehow magically caused this gruesome death. When the bullies strike again, he goes back into the woods to play the same game, this time focusing harder and more specifically on his foe, figuring that whatever process of sympathetic magic killed the boy he never met just needs honing in order to get the kids he really wants to kill.
He kills people and drains them, bringing her the blood in containers to minimize the risk she faces when hunting; he poses as her father to help her fit in, since she looks like a child young enough to not be able to live on her own.
The movie treats him bluntly and abruptly; he says nothing before heading off to his first murder, and we just see him preparing, silently and expertly gathering his tools. He seems calm and efficient, used to what he does and workmanlike about it. The book spends a good deal of time inside his head, exploring his obsessions and his his self-hatred, though more over the murders than the sex.
Eventually, his guilt over the murders—which again, he approaches dispassionately in the film—leads him to outsized attempts to compensate by trying to give away wads of money to help people. The book also explores his lurid feelings for Eli, which have little to nothing to do with her being a vampire.
Of the three, she remains most of a mystery, though some segments are written from her point of view, and chunks of her past—particularly how she first became a vampire—are revealed wholesale when she and Oskar kiss and she passes memories to him.
At one point, Oskar sees Eli changing, and catches a quick look at her naked crotch. Instead of a vagina, he sees a scarred, mutilated, shriveled mass. Her POV chapters are dispassionate and calm, even movie-like, emphasizing her actions rather than her thoughts. Advertisement [pagebreak] And yet the story told in the movie is the same one told in the book, with much the same specific dialogue, just with much of the graphicness replaced by melancholy, and all the busy-headed chapters full of thinking and worrying replaced by an oppressive silence.
While the book has a lot more character details, and a lot more going on with characters whittled down or removed from the film entirely, the basic plot is the same, and the scenes appearing in the film are virtually all translated very directly from the book.