a critiQal film review 30 Days of Night (2007)

Plot: In Barrow, Alaska, the northernmost town in the US, the sun does not rise for 30 days at a time, turning this little town into a vampire's fantasy. As the vampires converge, it's up to a husband (Hartnett) and wife (George) team to make sure their town survives the next month of darkness.

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  • ...Hartnett leads a cast of vampire fodder through some of the most animalistic vampires seen on screen.

Vampire movies never really get old, do they? The genre is always recreating itself, most recently with the impressive Underworld (2003). What is about these bloodsuckers we can’t get enough of? Is it their animal magnetism, their spooky undead eyes, or the way they can do whatever they please and are nigh unstoppable?

Whatever the case may be, we have a chance to see them again with the recent release of 30 Days Of Night. Would this be another inventive bloodsucking good time, or were we destined to think of this film as just another 28 Weeks Later (2007)?

Josh Hartnett continues to impress with his role in 30 Days Of Night. Ever since his turn in Sin City (2005), he’s done a good job of showing viewers he can actually act (as opposed to his earlier films like Hollywood Homicide (2003)). While 30 Days Of Night isn’t exactly Oscar® material, it does showcase a Hartnett the viewer actually likes, one that helps make viewers actually want to follow along with the storyline, rather than just becoming another piece of scenery on film. From dismal beginnings that left little hope he would ever amount to something to watch, he’s really turned his career around lately. Hopefully that will continue in future films.

Melissa George and the rest of the cast aren’t great shakes as far as acting prescence goes, but they don’t need to be, as 30 Days Of Night is obviously a Hartnett-run film. Still, the rest of the cast does manage to provide interesting companionship for Hartnett, albeit sometimes in a very simplistic manner. Their characters are not fleshed out very well at all, and generally tend to revert to stereotypes. They’re all equally edible to the vampires, however, which is the main reason most of them are there.

The Vampires, led by Danny Huston, are a less than vociferous crowd in 30 Days of Night, and bring vampires to the screen that are much more animalistic in nature than anything recently seen. They aren’t mindless, but instead bring the viewer to mind of a wolf pack – a bit sneaky, a bit cunning…and always hungry. When they attack humans, it’s not with the dainty double-indent of two fangs, no, these vampires rip and tear at the flesh, creating a gush of blood they drink down greedily. This animalistic view of vampires is both a positive and a negative, as it amps up the terror but reduces the spooky aura that Bram Stoker’s Dracula or even Bela Lugosi’s performances tried to convey.

30 Days of Night does have a few flaws, however. After seeming to take forever to actually get to the major vampire attacks, the vampires wipe through the town in a brief sequence, leaving only a handful of townspeople left alive. This stuttering pace continues again as days are skipped in great numbers, than another day is slowed down to take up a lot of screen time before another large amount of days are skipped. The end comes a bit suddenly because of this, as just when the viewer has settled in for a lengthy amount of dark scenes, the film suddenly skips ahead to the last day of night, and suddenly dawn is mere hours away. This gets a bit irritating, as the viewer can’t judge how the pace of the film will be from scene to scene, throwing the adrenaline factor all out of whack.

Still, 30 Days Of Night is a decent entry into the vampire genre. Hartnett leads a cast of vampire fodder through some of the most animalistic vampires seen on screen, and, while the pace is uneven, the film comes through it decently. Sure, the pace does detract a bit from the film, but not enough to bring this down to the level of a 28 Weeks Later (2007).

Worth a rental.

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