30 Days of Night (2007)
Director: David Slade
Ben Foster/The Stranger
It's not enough that once a year the peeps that live in the Alaskan town of Barrow go without sun for a month. But now they have to deal with a group of blood thirsty vampires crashing in and treating them like a General Tao chicken buffet. Sheesh! Will Sheriff Eben (Hartnett) and his ever growing mighty beard put an end to the vamp gluttony?
30 DAYS OF NIGHT is of course a cinematic take on Steve Niles' and Ben Templesmith's infamous graphic novel of the same name; I personally never elbow-dropped the damn thing hence I came into this movie much like that old Madonna song
once said, how did it go…oh yeah… like a virgin…touched for the very first time.
So did I boogie to this one or count the hairs on the dead squirrel I picked up on my way to the theatre? Read on!
30 DAYS OF NIGHT had me by the lapel (What’s a lapel anyways?) when it came to its awe inspiring snow filled locations (New Zealand passing for Alaska…hey I bought it!); its entrancing cinematography (this was one freaking gorgeous movie to gawk at) and a fairly unique initial premise. I
have to high-five and hit this film for this (actually the graphic novel but just go with it): vampires that attack a small town when it goes without sunlight for a month = freaking genius idea! And for a while there this sucka was building off its sturdy base in a mucho compelling fashion. It tagged me to two lead characters I quickly warmed up to (mostly cause by rule of pinky I like Josh Hartnett and Melissa George) and then strategically began setting me up for the horror back-hand to come. Personally, the
potent build-up and the anticipation I felt as to what was gonna go down tagged with Slade’s
stylish eye had me by the hacky-sack. Yup, the first half hour of the movie was my fav section! Who knew!
Alas, although I was set up real freaking good, I was never knocked out
afterwards. As the clock ticked forward, I realized that the film wouldn’t give me more than what
I had already seen. Narrative wise, redundancy kicked in at about the halfway point. There are just so many times you can watch people run and hide before it gets older than this review. Scare wise; what a let down! Once the shit hit the shit suspense and chills ran out the back-door never to be seen again, all that was left were “boo scares”. And what was up with the shoddy “shaky cam” stuff during the action scenes? The approach pretty much urinated on nearly all of the physical get-downs found here. Furthermore, a film of this ilk lives or dies by its characters. Here, the characters and their relationships were slim-fast/connect the dots whilst the side characters had “victim” stamped
on their foreheads. THE THING this wasn’t! Finally the last act did run out of steam
early and the words “end already” popped in my empty balloon.
But don’t get me wrong; I was in fact rarely bored during this sit down. The pace was overall even, the mayhem plenty, the peculiar vamps looked…well peculiar (loved that wacky dialect too),
the bloodsucker attacks were fairly vicious and gripping and the film’s striking look always kept my eyes on the screen. Sadly, I never got blown away
by the affair either and that’s my biggest peeve with it – I SHOULD HAVE BEEN! All in all; much like a hot tramp without much going on upstairs, this one was good for a few humps and slap of the cheeks… but the marrying kind? No way Ose!
What a weird flick gore wise! What started with lots of cut aways when shite began to happen became fairly graphic during its last half hour. Grisly vamp bites, axe in the head/back, severed hand, slashes, vamps lopped in two, heads chopped off and more!
Josh Hartnett (Eben) did what he could with what he was given. I dug his internal intensity and his low key approach to the role. Great freaking beard too! Melissa George (Stella) tackled her thin part with class and hot looks. Love that dame! Danny Huston (Marlow) didn’t have much to play with and it’s a statement about him as an actor/presence that he stood out and owned here. Ben Foster (The Stranger) looked creepy and took on a funny accent – job done!
T & A
Not a drop of tit here…
Slade pushed it real good when it came to imbuing his film with chilling atmosphere and capitalizing on his eerie, snowy setting. The man also showed a firm grasp on momentum during the early scenes, building off the anticipation of the evil to come slyly. But where was the suspense come the half hour mark? The scares? And why were the action scenes so shoddyly shot (and edited)? Bummer…
I much cha-chaed to the spooky “rumbling noise” charged score (if you can call it that). It upped the "brrrr" factor of the imagery BIG TIME!
30 DAYS OF NIGHT looked dread polished slick, rolled out on a fairly smooth pace, sported appealing leads and a handful of nifty gore bits. Too bad tension was MIA for the most part; the characters/relationships were meh and much like a chick that doesn’t use her hand when giving head, the last block kind of lagged. Worth a chomp on DVD for sure, big screen though? Not sure. I’m happy I saw it and now I will forget it.
Sam Raimi was initially supposed to direct the film but he opted to produce instead down the road.
David Slade got this film after Hard Candy; a tight little Indie.
ben Templesmith actually designed the one-sheet for Chirstian Viel's and I vigilante flick Deaden.
VISIT THE OFFICIAL 30 DAYS OF NIGHT SITE HERE