Wednesday, 1 September 2010

30 Days of Night

Year: 2007
Director: David Slade
Screenplay: Steve Niles, Stuart Beattie and Brian Nelson, based on the comic book by Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith
Starring: Josh Hartnett, Melissa George, Danny Huston, Ben Foster, Manu Bennett, Mark Boone Junior and Mark Rendall
Running Time: 113 minutes
Genre: Horror, action, survival, vampire

Summary: The small town of Barrow, Alaska, is the northmost town in the United States and every year experiences thirty days of total, twenty-four hour darkness. On the last day of sunlight, while many of the residents leave the town to escape the month long night, the town experiences unusually severe occurances of vandalism as the town's power supply and communications are shut. Following a disruption in the local bar, the town's sheriff Eben Oleson (Hartnett) arrests a mysterious and violent stranger (Foster). Oleson is also surprised to discover that his estranged wife, Fire Marshal Stella (George), is trapped in the town after missing the last flight out. As soon as the darkness takes hold, the town is swept by a series of brutal murders. It turns out that they have been overrun by a tribe of vampires, led by the philosophical Marlow (Huston), who have been drawn to the town by the month of perpetual night. Soon, Oleson and Stella find themselves with a small group of survivors who have to survive thirty days in a small town overrun by hungry and unsleeping vampires.

Opinion: This movie is based on the three-issue comic-book miniseries 30 Days of Night, written by Steve Niles and illustrated by Ben Templesmith, which was published in 2002 and subsequently followed by several sequels. The movie itself is fun if not particularly special, being very firmly in the "small group of people trapped and surrounded by evil" school of survival horror. The film's main twist on the vampire mythos is the fact that the humans are denied the one main advantage they have in other vampire stories i.e. the fact that vampires can only go out at night. Here there is only night. This makes the movie more similar to zombie movies such as Night of the Living Dead (1968). The film's main problem is that it lacks variety becoming stuck in a fomula (they go out, are attacked by vampires, they escape and go back), and the action, though well done, becomes repetitive, particularly in the middle on the film. The vampires in the film are interesting, they are much stronger and faster than humans and are very resiliant they are also given their own language. The movie is well performed by an effective cast and well directed by David Slade, who made his name with the controversial thriller Hard Candy (2005) and returned to the undead with The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010).
The film was followed by a straight to DVD sequel called 30 Days of Night: Dark Days.

"When man meets a force he can't destroy, he destroys himself. What a plague you are."
- Marlow (Danny Huston), 30 Days of Night