30 Days of Night – horror movie review
30 Days of Night is a 2007 horror film starring Josh Hartnett and the current Queen of Scream Melissa George. Since leaving Summer Bay the poor girl has faced almost continual mortal peril! She’s been in a lot of horror films basically. But she did get to shag Ryan Reynolds in The Amityville Horror so…….swings and roundabouts.
So anyway, 30 Days of Night is directed by David Slade (Hard Candy, Hannibal) and based on a graphic novel by Steven Niles. It tells the story of a small, isolated Alaskan town that is pounced upon by a group of ancient and blood-thirsty vampires. Hartnett and George star as two police officers (also ‘hilariously’ going through a divorce) trying to lead their friends and neighbours to safety.
Barrow in Alaska – where the movie is set – is so far north that during winter the sun doesn’t rise for a month. As well as being a bit miserable (I would be so fucking miserable), this makes for rather a sticky situation when the vampires turn up. I mean, sunlight is generally looked upon favourably when dealing with the undead – especially when you live on the edge of the earth with no means of escape. The premise of 30 Days of Night is pretty simple – survive the month and beat the vampires – but it is delivered well.
It’s a similar plot to Swedish film Frostbiten (2006) but whilst that was more of a comical movie, 30 Days of Night was pleasantly surprising with its darkness and brutality. After all, vampires are often viewed on screen as sexy, civilised or even mildly glittery (vomit). In 30 Days of Night they are dangerous predators – powerful, ruthless and not afraid to use their nails.
They are human-ish of course, in the way they walk on two legs and have eyes, ears and a nose. But that’s where the similarities end.
I enjoyed 30 Days of Night a lot. I first saw it in the cinema but I’ve watched it since on DVD and still think it’s one of the better vampire flicks around. It does have some flaws of course – and something of absolute fucking hilarity that I cannot wait to share with you – but generally I thought it was a pretty good horror film. It’s clear that it was based on a graphic novel – the atmosphere and use of colour, the dramatic, sinister score written by Brian Reitzell and the ever-so-slightly arty bits – it just has that graphic novel feel maaaan. Apologies, I’m not very good at describing things sometimes but isn’t that just so diddily dandily perfect for a film reviewing blogger. Hmmm.
It’s a gory film (woo hoo!) with plenty of blood and death to rejoice in (double woo hoo!). The vampires are chilling with their dark eyes and ghost white skin – and they make really nasty little screechy animal noises too. They are noticeably cruel and without sounding like a psycho (I know I sound like a bit of a psycho) I enjoyed it for the pure horror that it was – rather than all this Twilight and True Blood stuff we’re used to, where it’s all “let’s be best friends and / or have sex with each other”.
Not that I have any issues with Buffy of course. Buffy was (and still is) the best TV show EVER.
It probably was a tad too long at 113 minutes though. And unfortunately I did also feel that the gripping ’30 Days of Night’ concept was rather redundant – as really, all the events could have happened in a couple of days – NOTHING made me feel that the story was set over a few weeks. I don’t think Josh Hartnett even grew much of a beard which was devastating.
Now – for the little something of absolute fucking hilarity. The cold hearted, brutal leader of the vampires (Danny Huston) looked EXACTLY like Neil Tennant from the Pet Shops Boys. There, that’s pretty much it. But damn it was funny! I mean, he was supposed to be terrifying but everything, EVERYTHING about him – even down to his long black coat – screamed “I’m Neil Tennant from the Pet Shop Boys” – talk about disconcerting and effin’ hilarious.