30 Days of Night
Review written on: October 21st, 2007

30 Days of Night Review

I’ve been looking forward to this movie for a while now, and while I enjoyed it, it didn’t live up to the expectations I had built for it. After seeing the poster, watching the trailer, and watching the various R-rated clips around the internet, I had built up the movie to be this awesome vampire movie. Instead, I got half awesome vampire movie, and half how to survive a blizzard. The movie is set in Barrow, Alaska, a town that gets plunged into darkness for 30 days each year. (Oddly enough, the real Barrow, AK experiences 67 days of darkness from November 18th until January 24th. But I guess 67 Days of Night isn’t as catchy of a title.) Eben Oleson (Josh Hartnett) is the town’s sheriff. His estranged wife works for the fire marshal, his little brother and his grandma man the police station phones, and overall it’s one of those towns where everyone knows everyone else. So when strange things start happening, the only stranger in town (played by the under-rated Ben Foster) gets locked up for it. That’s when all hell breaks loose.

The vampires attack and pick off a few people here and there, and then break into a free-for-all killing spree (featuring a nice overhead shot of the town being overrun with vampires). The small band of survivors find a place to hide and try their best to survive. Of course egos, cabin fever, and even Alzheimer’s gets in the way. As the days pass, the survivors start to dwindle. With daylight in mere hours, both the survivors and the vampires know they have to do something drastic to end this.

While there were some parts of this movie that were startling (the little girl vampire), and some parts that were sufficiently gory for a vampire movie (the giant chainsaw-like construction vehicle from the R-rated clip), overall it didn’t live up to the image I had built in my head. There was too much planning. Too much sitting around wondering what the vampires were up to. Not enough action and not enough character development. Almost all the human characters that die deserved it in some way (with a few exceptions). The major problems I had with the movie, however, were all about the vampires. They’re weird looking. Only two of them have normal-looking faces (the leader, and the guy with the big, round head). The rest look like Spy vs. Spy, but with vampire teeth. Not scary. The shrieks they make, while terrifying at first, were more obnoxious than fear-inducing by the end of the movie. And the language they speak – I don’t know if it’s from the comic book or made up by the actors on the spot, but it does nothing for the plot. The trailer that features the vampire telling the victim “No God.” when she moans “Help me, God.” was creepy because the vampires were speaking English. When they’re mumbling to each other in clicks and syllables, it just makes them look silly.

That’s not to say it’s a bad movie. It’s just not as good as I had expected. Josh Hartnett and Melissa George put in decent performances. Not the performance of their careers, but up to par with what they’ve done before. Ben Foster, as always, shines as an extremely talented actor. Thanks mostly to the makeup department, I almost didn’t recognize him. He was creepier than most of the vampires.

All in all, it was an entertaining way to spend a weekend afternoon, but I certainly won’t go rushing out to buy the DVD as soon as it comes out. If you’ve been looking forward to the movie in anticipation, you might be disappointed. If this is the first you’re hearing of it, you might be a little more entertained going in without previous knowledge.


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