Based on the graphic novel of the same name by Steven Niles and Ben Templesmith, 30 Days of Night, is a fun, and bloody film that is the next vampire flick to come up in John Landis’ Monsters In The Movies, available from DK Canada.
Barrow, Alaska, is a remote and isolated Alaskan town. Every year, because of their proximity to the pole, and the Earth’s gravitational tilt, they are plunged into thirty days of night, and it just so happens, that a gang of vampires led by Marlow (Danny Huston) have just arrived…
These are not sparkly, broody vampires, or hiply dressed forever young types, these are vicious animals that stalk, strike, and feed on humans, bloodily and violently.
Josh Hartnett plays Eben Olson, the town’s local sheriff, who is working to organise the town’s departure, but soon finds trouble on all sides when a stranger (Ben Foster) wanders into town, a fore runner of what is to come.
Soon, things get crazy, as the vampires strike, and while the remaining townsfolk are being whittled down one by bloody one. There is an emotional story arc centring around Eben, and the estranged woman he still loves, Stella (Melissa George), but it never feels quite right. As much as I enjoy Melissa George as a performer, the love story feels forced.
The vampires are cruel, and scary looking (love the make-up and creature design!), and after cinema and pop culture had shared the appealing, occasionally goth, always broody version of vampires for so long, this incarnation made for a wonderfully pleasant shock.
The film doesn’t shy away from it’s blood and gore, and there are some truly horrific moments.
I know the love story arc is all about making an emotional investment with the characters, but for the most part I think the story would have been better served with a different angle. For the most part though, you just want to see the vampires tear the town apart, and see who gets to survive.
It’s a fast-paced flick, that gets a little silly right towards the end, but overall, I really enjoy this one. I love the fact that the sheer number of vampires is enough to overwhelm the town, and the body count doesn’t stop climbing, no character is safe, and that anybody can die (and be turned) in this film – yes, even children.
There’s a moment in the film, the initial assault on Barrow that I really love, there’s an overhead shot that traverses the town and we watch white snow blossom red as shadowed figures clash, fall, fight and die. It’s a great moment which brings to the viewer the horrifying scope of what is going on.
So far I am loving my exploration of DK Books’ The Movie Book and am greatly enjoying Landis’ remarks on each film. They may not all be winners, but they are definitely all monstrous.