30 Days of Night
I’m not a fan of vampire flicks; the ones that I have seen (mainly Blade and Undewrworld) have left me unsatisfied with these nocturnal creatures. Though human in appearance, then seem to have evolved to be extremely agile, fast and possess a strength that defies belief. In short they seem almost comically implausible. This may be the reason I like slow, lumbering Zombies so much. The undead are supposed to command fear through their sheer numbers and their unrelenting desire to consume you.
But 30 Days of Night appealed to me for some reason, be it the Steadman style splatter posters, or the fact that it was based on a graphic novel, I’m not sure. But I was ready to give vampires one last chance.
In 30 Days the bloodthirsty night dwellers have all the abilities that so offended me in previous movies, but somehow this didn’t seem to matter, as vampires were not the sole focus of the movie. Rather we were introduced to a community as it prepared for it’s annual month of zero daylight – hence the name of the movie – a community of people who essentially live in one of the most remote, isolated town in America for one reason: solitude.
The movie kicks off with a spate of increasingly bizarre crimes that have one hidden purpose: to totally isolate the inhabitants form the outside world. A stranger has come to town to prepare the way, and he brings with him an ominous warning; “That cold ain’t the weather. That’s Death approaching.”
When the vampires finally do arrive, things kick into overdrive as the snowy winterscape makes the perfect backdrop for the one-sided, blood soaked massacre that is about to be wrought on the unsuspecting townsfolk.
Fortunately enough of them keep their heads long enough to hideout and plan their survival for the next 30 days and the movie becomes somewhat of a survival horror, where human emotion drives the story rather than bloodlust.
The things that make this an enjoyable vampire movie for me, other than the heart pounding, edge of your seats thrill ride, is the subtleties that seem to be over looked in other vamp flicks; the vampires in 30 Days are almost zombie like in their bloodstained addiction to fresh humans, going from one victim to the next without bothering to wipe the excess crimson off their faces. They are given a pack like mentality, where they wait on their leader before doing anything, but like hungry dogs they have a look of desperation on their faces, a palatable desperation for feeding that shows them to be sub human, to be consumed by the darkness that they have to live in. Their excitement is short lived as they will never find enough satisfaction and always be left wanting more. Theirs is a life of total un-fulfilment.
The surviving humans on the other hand are not a bunch of gun-ho superheroes, rather your ordinary, regular Joes, who are scared witless, and only have a glimpse of hope through the leadership and determination of the local sheriff. But even though they know the only way to survive to is stick together and follow the leader, human nature takes it toil and causes them to make mistakes and end up as a midnight snack.
Food for thought (spoilers):
As visually violent and gloomy as the story seems, there is hope for the small band of survivors. If they can be held together by their leader long enough, the sun will rise again and with it bring the illuminating salvation of daylight, the only thing these night stalkers fear.
A picture of Steve Niles, who wrote the original comic book, hangs in the attic hideout.
Writer Steve Niles originally conceived and pitched the story as a film for some years, but it was turned down by studios and thus reworked as a comic book. Eventually one of the producers who had rejected the original pitch worked on the movie adaptation.
Josh Hartnett did his own stunts, and Melissa George did most of Stella’s driving.
Reviewed by: Jonathan Read.
Rating: R16 – Contains Violence, Offensive Language & Horror.
Duration: 114 mins.
Genre: Horror, Vampire.
Director: David Slade.
Actors: Josh Hartnett, Ben Foster, Elizabeth Hawthorne, Melissa George, Joel Tobeck, Danny Huston, Craig Hall, Manu Bennett.
Release Date: Available now.