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The Cinematic Katzenjammer: Aug 1: 30 Days of Night


Aug 1: 30 Days of Night

"After an Alaskan town is plunged into darkness for a month, it is attacked by a bloodthirsty gang of vampires."
Directed by: David Slade, Rated: R, 113 minutes

30 Days of Night is one of my favorite vampire movies. It's a vamper movie with balls that never shies away from the violence and gore one would associate with a fanger and never holds back. Sure, most of the people we're supposed to care about aren't the most developed and some, quite frankly, are annoying but, when everything looks so cool, it's a little easier to ignore. The film also stars the very underrated Josh Hartnett, who has seemingly fallen off of the face of the earth as of late, when in fact I feel he deserves to be the bigger star he was so close to becoming. He's a great leading actor and adds a lot to the film, as does the also underrated Melissa George (star of Triangle, one of my favorite movies that no one saw). 

Seriously, go find it. 

30 Days of Night follows the residents of Barrow, Alaska, a small town that is preparing for a month of darkness in one of their long and cold winters. A stranger (the glorious Ben Foster) arrives in Barrow and disrupts all forms of communication the village has to the mainland and larger cities. His sabotage comes just in time for as darkness falls upon the town, so does a mysterious "pack" of vampires (led by the creepy as f**k Danny Huston), who come out of hiding to feast and revel in the 30 days of darkness. The survivors, led by Eben Oleson (Hartnett) and his ex-wife Stella (George) must find a way to either get to safety, destroy their attackers, or hold up in whatever shelter they can for the remainder of the 30 days. 30 Days of Night has a very clever story and take on the vampire myth in a time when the bloodsuckers aren't looked upon as the greatest "monsters" in movies. The vampires are incredibly violent, speak in a seemingly ancient language that consists of clicking sounds and Latin-esque words, and use long sharp finger nails along with their mouths full of razor sharp teeth. These vamps are definitely not your sparkling, teen-angst ridden vampires you'd see in Seattle. Alaska breeds a different kind of horror. 

The vampires are like sharks, attacking the village like a school of fish. 

It's in the gore that makes 30 Days of Night fun to watch. While most of the violence is a little over-the-top, the film has its moments of gore that look all too realistic. Along with the blood, the film packs a hell of a lot of scares, even when you know something is coming. David Slade (who ironically went on to direct a Twilight movie) does a fine job at capturing the horror of a small town being infested with bloodsucking monsters and captures the panic in a very creepy way. There is one particular shot in the film where the camera looks down on the town in a bird's eye view and you lay witness to the citizens of Barrow running from the vampires through blood stained snow that sticks with you. 30 Days of Night is more unsettling than it is terrifying and the film has a very creepy vibe throughout. It's also worth mentioning that the idea behind the story is very clever, and the idea of being stuck in a month of darkness with a monster (known for mainly having one weakness- light) is disturbing to think about. 

Sunlight- Not Just for Tanning

While the film does have its flaws, I would still highly recommend 30 Days of Night. It certainly earns its R rating and grabs it by the throat and flails it around for the fun of it. It's dark, it's gritty, and has as much blood as a slaughterhouse. I do, however, have a problem with the movie's ending, as I found it incredibly rushed and a little ridiculous, but the buildup is still worth the time. The film is based off a graphic novel and I can only assume the source material goes into more depth explaining the conclusion. As a result, after watching the film, the graphic novel is now on my "must track down and read if I can" list. 30 Days of Night looks great, has a great cast (that never fully reaches its potential), and does the vampire justice by making it the blood-spilling, blood-drinking, havoc-wrecking monster it deserves to be. 

The Good:
so much blood packed into such a small movie and brutal look at the destruction a clan of violent vampires can wreck on a small Alaskan town
The Bad:
whenever I watch a Josh Hartnett movie I wonder why his career has fallen so much and while I don't think he's the world's greatest actor, being reminded of his lack of work is sad
The Ugly:
the claustrophobic feeling the film gives off, making you wonder what you would do if you were isolated in darkness, with absolutely no sign of rescue or hope

Overall: 7.2/10


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At August 1, 2012 at 3:52 PM , Blogger Two Tickets For... said...

Holy crap I agree with damn near every word of this review. The only ones not being about The Triangle, but only because I've never seen it.

I love this movie and you've reminded me that I need to add it to my and Sarah's collection. She'll never watch it with my, I'm sure, but I love the premise and execution of 30 Days of Night so much it's not even funny.

Do yourself a favor though and do NOT watch 30 Days of Night: Dark Days. Terrible waste of time.


At August 1, 2012 at 10:41 PM , Blogger Nick said...

You need to seriously check out Triangle... now. So good.

Glad I was able to encourage you to buy it (I own it on Blu-ray).

I have stayed away from Dark Days and with your "recommendation" I'll back up a little bit more.

Thanks for stopping by.


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