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30 Days of Night (2007 movie)

Horror movie directed by David Slade

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A Clever, Visceral, Atmospheric Vampire Horror Thriller!

  • Feb 24, 2009
Rating:
+4


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Tired of the usual vampire lore? The overused premise of seductive blood suckers? Well, I love movies about vampire and lycanthropic lore. "30 DAYS OF NIGHT" is a film based on the graphic novel/mini-series by Steven Niles and Ben Templesmith. I like vampire movies in general, although I have to say that NOT all "vampire flicks" are created equal. Thankfully, I am happy to say that this film lives up to its promise, and has become one of my favorites.

An isolated small Alaskan town called "Barrow" with a population of 560+ experiences 30 days of total darkness. No sunlight will be seen for a period of a month, so most of the town's inhabitants leave for this period to brighter pastures except for the 152 townsfolk; of whom some one stated that " we live here because we can". On the last day of sunlight, unusual things start to occur; satellite phones are found destroyed, the aforementioned one emergency helicopter is damaged beyond repair, even snow dogs are killed. The town sheriff; Evan Oleson (Jason Hartnett) finds a filthy, bad-toothed drifter (Ben Foster) who seems to be a harbinger of the danger to come. No long, after, the town is under siege by band of inhuman creatures bent on killing everyone in sight...


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30 DAYS OF NIGHT is a straight-forward vampire film. It doesn't waste much time setting things up with minor character development with Evan and Stella's (Melissa George) background; with their rocky marriage, characters are introduced quickly and how they are related to the town. Director David Slade goes to the throat with the intensity and apprehension of the screenplay as soon as the band of vampires (led by Danny Huston) makes their appearance. Instead of just going for all-out mayhem, he calculates each scenario and accompanies it with a heart-pounding atmosphere and emotion that builds up the suspense. He also uses silence as an effective strategy to set the film's eerie feel. The cinematography maintains an eerie and ominous feel, with the muted colors, I also rather liked the bird's eye view of the vampire siege with all the mayhem thrown in exposition. 

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The usual rules to vampirism is applied; vulnerability to sunlight, super-human strength and can turn other humans into vampires. However, the band of vampires seems to have only one goal; to feed on human blood, nothing subtle, but FEED. Before their siege, the pack leader instructs his band to "rip everyone's head off and do not turn them..".The language of the vampires has that ancient-like tone but somewhat sound Germanic is a very nice touch. The vampires are grisly, shrieking, inhuman-looking predators, not the "seductive" blood-suckers that have been the stereotype for many years. However beastly and savage the band may be, but they are far from being dumb; the vampire pack is intelligent and organized (much like wolves are organized). No mental control or shape-changing abilities are displayed, the vampires in this film are portrayed as hungry, vicious, shrieking, deformed beings who assault the sleepy town in a hellish attack. They are somewhat feral "zombies" in appearance, so vampire fans used to the usual images may be taken aback.

The film is not perfect, it does have its shortcomings. It didn't explain why a very minor number of townsfolk have been turned by the vampires (even with the pack leader's instructions) or what rules do apply on how and when a human has been turned. There is something very downright creepy and unsettling in the proceedings; I think this may be the first time I've seen an eight-year-old child turned into a vampire. Also, there are minor weaknesses in the plot where the usual clichés are present; a panicky old man with his son, a fear-fraught man who makes a wrong decision with his family, and a scared teenager. All these factors cause problems for the lead characters. There were quite a lot of instances that I feel that an "extended director's cut" should be released. (I hope and wish for one) Some elements of the film moved too quickly, and it didn't feel like it was 30 days at all. 30 days is a long way for humans to go without a steady supply of food, I would have liked scenes of potential starvation and hunt for food thrown in the mix.

Unfortunately, I haven't read any of the graphic novels (yet) so I cannot determine how faithful the film is to its roots. To the film's credit, the film does succeed on most vampire films have not. It did deliver an intense, grisly and a clever visceral thriller that hits the marks right and never stoops to wallowing in blood and gore alone. It showed a side of the human spirit about courage, the determination to protect its own, and the capability for sacrifice. A band of vampires attacking a small Alaskan town during a 30-day stretch should have been thought of sooner as Danny Huston said in the movie; "We should have come here years ago.".

The film's premise is MUCH more interesting than other films' overused plot with blood-suckers living among us and just preying on beautiful women. It is also a much needed break from the "torture" shows or slasher flicks with unyielding psychopathic killers. "30 DAYS OF NIGHT" is a vampire film with a rarity that achieves its potential. It is more a classic monster film than a contemporary horror movie.


RECOMMENDED! For horror fans..[4 stars]

A Clever, Visceral, Atmospheric Vampire Horror Thriller! scene A Clever, Visceral, Atmospheric Vampire Horror Thriller! A Clever, Visceral, Atmospheric Vampire Horror Thriller! scene scene scene scene scene

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October 21, 2010
LOVED this movie
 
March 01, 2009
Hello, everyone! I do agree the film does have its flaws and a lot of things weren't fully developed but it was enjoyable nonetheless. The film felt too short for something that was supposed to take 30 days and the suffering and hysteria should've been more fleshed out but I too loved its premise and ambition.
 
February 25, 2009
Your review is great because I feel like I have already seen part of the movie just from reading it. I am not a vampire fan at all, but maybe I will rent this. It can't be worse than Dracula 3000!
 
February 25, 2009
My main problem with it had to do with the inability to convey the passage of time. It just seemed like one night to me. If nothing else they could have marked off days on the wall the way prisoners do in old movies--it would have given us something to go on.
 
February 25, 2009
I agree with Trashie, this film was something of a letdown for me. The story is a bit cliche, but it's one of those cliches that almost always works. One of my favorite Tales from the Crypt episodes dealt with vampires in Alaska. I also really liked the whole eclipse sequence in From Dusk Till Dawn 2. Totally unoriginal, but fantastic.
 
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More 30 Days of Night (2007 movie) reviews
review by . August 29, 2009
You'd think that at least one vampire would wise up and take advantage of the fact that Alaska spends many a day in the dark. As far as I am aware, no such fate has befallen the great northern state. Based on the comic miniseries of the same name, "30 Days of Night" gives us a good look at what might happen if a vampire and a few of his undead friends would sink their fangs into the Land of the Midnight Sun.    The film opens with the small town of Barrow, Alaska preparing for …
review by . October 30, 2008
30 Days Of Night
In Barrow Alaska, a desolate small town, there falls a time of year where the black of night lasts for 30 days. While many flee the darkness for Anchorage, others stay behind to weather the long night. As the sun sets on our film, the sheriff is called out to investigate the brutal slaying of every available sled dog in town; a puzzling and disturbing occurrence in a small quiet town.     Night falls, and the vampires come out to play. They're ugly, deadly, and very thirsty. …
review by . October 18, 2008
First off, I have never read of the comic book series 30 Days Of Night so none of that will be in my review. As for the film, it wasn't half bad, maybe a little far fetched but not that bad. 30 Days of Night takes place in Barrow Alaska where every year they have 30 straight days of night. Really when you think about it, this is an ideal town for a gory vampire horror film seeing as they could basically feast all day and night without the sun interrupting them. I was very interested to see this …
review by . May 03, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
`30 Days of Night' starts with an admirable idea: How about a vampire story in Northern Alaska during the dead of winter when there is no sunlight for about a month? There's so much you can do with cold and darkness to make a chilling horror adventure, and there have been many movies done recently in this vein, (including `Wind Chill' and `First Snow'). Based on screenwriter Steve Niles' co-authored comic series, the film descends into the darkness, but just like the protagonists who fight the villains …
review by . April 16, 2008
Gone are the vampires who are so completely wimpy that Blade can kill with a single swing of his manly sword. The lead vampire in particular Danny Huston who is an identifiable character saturated in menace at the same time peering at his victims with soulless black eyes. These vamps are, in every sense, nasty unlikable, disgusting, weird and utterly scary, just like a vampire should be.    So they come by boat to feed of the population of Barrow, an Alaskan small town, a place …
review by . April 13, 2008
Creepy, eerie, scary and dark, this movie was surprisingly different from most Vampire movies; there are still sharp teeth involved and loss of blood but also many more heart stopping intense moments when the watcher forgets to take the next breath. I won't rehash the premise since everyone here did it so well, but basically a small town on the outskirts of Alaska is about to enter the infamous 30 days of night when the sun rays can't penetrate the dark clouds and snow doesn't seem to cease falling. …
review by . March 10, 2008
Another vampire movie, yes. But, a damn good one. The sun will not come out for 30 days in the town of Barrow, Alaska. The residents are trapped as a hoarde of vampires makes their way in. They have nowhere to go and a group of people must try to survive the 30 days until the sun comes up again. The movie is slow at first but then it grabs you and doesn't let go. The pace changes, the suspense builds and the despair grows.     The vampires we get in this movie are not the suave …
review by . December 27, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
As 30 DAYS OF NIGHT opens, a Stranger (Ben Foster) wanders away from a freighter stuck in ice. The stranger had a key role in the events that are about to unfold and is on his way to Barrow, Alaska to watch the mayhem of his making. Barrow is a small town on the Artic Circle that for thirty days a year never sees the sun. Most of the town's citizens leave, but some remain behind. The day before the beginning of the long night Barrow's sheriff, Eben Oleson (Josh Hartnett) finds himself busier than …
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Wiki

David (Hard Candy) Slade directs this nerve-jangling adaptation of the popular graphic novel series about a mob of vampires that overruns a remote Alaskan town in the grip of30 Days of Night. Josh Hartnett and Melissa George are the film's de facto heroes (he's the stoic town sheriff and she's his estranged fire-marshal wife) but the picture's real MVP is Slade's camera (along with cinematographer Jo Willems), which careens across the town's snowy landscape to detail the vampires' horrific assault on its inhabitants, which are quickly pared down to a hardy few. The script, co-written by the source material's creator, Steve Niles, along withPirates of the Caribbean's Stuart Beattie andHard Candy's Brian Nelson), proudly wears its influences on its crimson-stained sleeve (Bram Stoker'sDracula, natch, but alsoSalem's Lot, Night of the Living Dead, and John Carpenter's version ofThe Thing) and boils down the graphic novels to a series of tense and extremely bloody standoffs between Harnett and George's band of survivors and the vaguely Slavic and ferocious bloodsuckers led by Marlow (a feral and frightening Danny Huston). And if the characters seem stock and the finale begs suspension of disbelief, the set pieces leading up to it are sufficiently supercharged with suspense and violence to please most horror fans. Standouts in the supporting cast are Ben Foster as the film's Renfield figure and Mark Boone Junior; the ...
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Details

Director: David Slade
Genre: Horror
Release Date: October 19, 2007
MPAA Rating: R
DVD Release Date: February 26, 2008
Runtime: 113 minutes
Studio: Sony Pictures, Columbia Pictures, Dark Horse Entertainment
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