We begin with Oskar, a twelve-year-old boy living with his mother in a suburb of Stockholm. His parents are divorced and Oskar usually keeps to himself. He is constantly bullied by a group of kids at school and dreams of revenge. He collects newspaper clippings of murders, and violent crimes, while also carrying a knife with him. Although he never acts on these violent urges, it simmers just below the surface. Oskar’s interests are peaked with the arrival of new tenants that move into to an adjoining apartment. Eli is a girl that looks to be about Oskar’s age, while Haken is the older man that accompanies her. Oskar and Eli meet outside at a jungle gym a few nights, both seem interested in one another, but their conversations are short. Eli is always barefoot and underdressed for the weather but is never cold. Haken, on the other hand, packs up a case of curious objects and goes into the woods. After this scene we begin to see what Hakan does for Eli, he kills people and drains there blood for her consumption. Haken has to abandon his kill at the risk of being found out by some hikers and a very inquisitive dog. Eli is not pleased by this and must take matters into her own hands.
As the locals start to suspect Eli in the death of their friend, one of the men breaks into her apartment and finds her asleep in the bathtub. Oskar comes over at just the right time and shouts “No”. This gives Eli the time she needs to pounce on the would be assassin. She tells Oskar that she has to leave town. In the meantime, the bully from school has recruited his even more ruthless brother to get back at Oskar. In one of the films, final scenes at the schools swimming pool; Oskar is told to either hold your breathe for three minutes or lose an eye. The brother grabs Oskar by the hair and holds him underwater. Oskar starts to lose his breathe and panic. There is an intense commotion up above and a severed head falls to the bottom of the pool. Oskar is released as the arm holding him also starts to fall to the bottom. Oskar jumps to the surface to see Eli has rescued him. Thus completing Eli’s full need and devotion to Oskar. The final scene finds Oskar alone on a train with a large box, with Eli inside. Oskar has become the new Haken.
The rest of the cast does seem to fit into the regular character stereotypes for a horror movie. You have the ditzy blonde girl, the hot guy and of course the token black guy. Although Mandy is blonde and uber-hot, she doesn’t seem to fit any of the usual clichés. She is smart, well spoken, and seems fairly grounded. Bird (the token black guy) is the first one to put the moves on her, but it denied. At this point, we also meet Garth, the studly ranch hand, who lives in a shed near the house. After many, many drinks and many, many bong hits; the teens start to disappear. First its one of the guys, then the brunette, then Bird. Is it the mysterious ranch hand who is doing this or some other homicidal maniac? Unlike most teen slasher flicks when the killer isn’t revealed until the last five minutes. The viewer finds out with about a half hour to go. You would think this would work against the plot, but for some reason, it plays quite well as there are more twists to come.
This movie really keys into the intense emotional highs and lows of high school teens no matter what clique or group they belong to. The girls (and boys for that matter) all have body image issues and are always defending themselves. Many Lane is, of course, the hottest girl in school and she knows it. In a scene where that all go swimming Mandy plays the role of a tease absolutely perfectly. She can make any guy do anything she wants. Because you never know she might really like you. Not! This story is effectively grounded in reality, and the feelings it brings to the surface. There is no masked psychopath, no supernatural demons. This is a story that I’m sure most everybody can relate to in one way or another. There is a Mandy Lane in every high school in America. The question is what will you do for Mandy Lane?
We now go to a second story involving another cop known only as #663 (his badge number). He and Qiwu both frequent The Midnight Express, a local food fast food stand. #663 is often in his police uniform as Qiwu is always in plain clothes. A young free-spirited girl who is obsessed with the song “California Dreaming” starts working at the Express and has a crush on #663. After he has a fling with a flight attendant, #663 is once again lonely and talking to dish rags, stuffed animals and other inanimate objects. The flight attendant leaves him a letter and his apartment key at the Express, in which #663 refuses to pick up. The girl sees this as an opportunity to do some cheering up and possibly more. She sneaks into his apartment and does a little redecorating (and cleaning). She tries to shake things up for ole #663, to show him what he is missing in life. She is caught on a few occasions and is completely embarrassed. #663 has been “sleepwalking” through life and this girl is just the person to wake him up. In a twist, #663 finally asks her out, but she stands him up and goes to California. She leaves him a self-drawn boarding pass dated for 1 year later. After the year has passed she comes back to find that #663 has bought the Midnight Express and is renovating it. She is now a flight attendant and things have come full circle.