30 Days of Night

30 Days of Night (2007) movie poster

(2007) dir. David Slade
viewed: 03/18/08

30 Days of Night sets an interesting premise for a vampire/horror film.  The story is located in “Barrow, Alaska”, the northernmost city in the United States, in which there is one “night” that lasts 30 days.  So, for the vampires, who don’t dig daylight, this is the perfect scenario for feasting on an entire community, trapping them from communication and cut off from the world.

Ah, but they didn’t count on having Josh Hartnett there, did they?  He’s a inhaler-sucking asthmatic sheriff, with a very cute ex-girlfiend, a kid brother, and a grandma all at the sheriff’s office/jail.  He’s going to foil their fun, isn’t he?

Actually, this is not too bad of a vampire/horror flick.  Clearly it reflects the times, with vampires running about like predatory modern zombies (the ones who are super-fast) and of course they can jump really far and are also super-strong.  Their mouths are jammed full of sharp teeth, they speak in a language that is weird and gutteral, and they are more scary than sexy.  Ruthless.  Modern in terms of a trend of scariness.  Things don’t creep up on you.  They grab you and rip you to shreds before you know what’s going on.  Fear is based on hopelessness.  No way out.  Being destroyed by some crazy force greater than oneself randomly, viciously, painfully.  What does that mean, really?

Like I said, the premise is decent and the film is not bad.  I do have to say that the handling of the passage of time was a weakness in the end.  The whole film doesn’t carry the weight of having transpired over a month.  It’s more like one longish night, maybe more like “a day and a half of night” or something.  Maybe that would have made more sense, but didn’t make for such a punchy title (film #2 in my “numbers fest”).

Josh Hartnett is quite a bit like a humorless Ashton Kutcher.  Tall, dark, and good-looking, but bland at the soul.

His girlfriend, Melissa George,…she was pretty cute.

Maybe a modernized, larger body-count sort of like John Carpenter’s brilliant The Thing (1982), re-make of The Thing from Another World (1951), equally horror set in a freezing cold, isolated death-trap.  But maybe better than a lot of the crap that comes out.  Directed by David Slade, whose film Hard Candy (2005) didn’t necessarily tell you what kind of movie his 30 Days of Night would be, and adapted from a horror comic book mini-series, this is one of the more decent films probably to come out in this genre for 2007.  That said, it’s not grand, just enjoyable…if you like decapitations and random violence, people tormented, lots of blood…

Isn’t that what you said you liked?

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