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I had the opportunity to see this film tonight at a free screening at a
theater in Chelsea, NY with the director David Spade, Melissa George
and Josh Hartnett all present at the screening and I walked in
expecting another run of the mill vampire movie and walked away
It's no question that over the last 9 years the whole Vampire trend has been overdone to death. Blade spawned a sudden interest in a subject that has been around forever but hadn't been refreshed in quite some time. After Blade, enter Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series and so on and so forth until the whole vampire trend had well worn its welcome. A few years pass and here's yet another vampire story. What makes this story any different? The graphic novel, 30 Days of Night, put together by the talented team that worked on Todd McFarlane's stunning "Hellspawn" series, Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith found a way to do something creative within the vampire realm, and its completely to do with premise.
That premise being, vampires being allowed to run amok freely in Alaska during a 30 day period when there is no sun to force them into hibernation during the day. Its simple yet fresh enough to maintain my interest, it's a wonder no one had thought to write this story until now.
What's important to note is that the story does not go into too much detail about the leading characters personal lives, nor does it go into too much detail about the vampires themselves. We don't know how they came to be and what their philosophy is (besides sucking blood) and that's a good thing, Its plunged strait into action and this lack of over characterization, actually helps to strengthen this story.
Despite the Alaska angle the film and the story itself is nothing really original. Even the vampires themselves are nothing we haven't seen before. Black trench coats and a mouthful of fangs, speaking in a foreign tongue with an evil squeal. But it's okay. I've seen it before but that doesn't mean that it's not going to make the movie any less entertaining.
Where this movie is successful is in the fact that it's handled in a very realistic way. Nothing is too over the top, Evan; Josh Hartnett's character is a believable and very human sheriff. He doesn't do anything in this movie that doesn't seem plausible, in fact the film has very little cringe moments and hardy any cheesy dialogue.
But it doesn't take itself too seriously either. It is what it is; an extremely gory movie about vampires killing people and it's thrilling, entertaining and put together very well. Its so basic that it works, not since the Decent had I seen a horror movie that succeeded in this matter by keeping the story basic and believable and not relying on cheap tricks to try and thrill the audience. Of course there's the sudden jump moments, but you don't see Even leaping over dumpsters shooting off semi-automatic weapons and spurting out one liners.
When it comes to the films performances, the supporting actors do a good job and the ever dopey and extremely untalented Josh Hartnett whom I never fail to dislike, in everything he does, somehow seemed almost likable in this movie and I don't know why, but I did like him in this roll.
Some of the shots in this movie are incredible; I can honestly say I've never seen anything like a few scenes that popped up in this movie. There's an overhead shot that spans the entire town amidst all of the chaos of the vampire attack and I can honestly say it is breathtaking.
Overall it's a very strong film for its genre, dare I say one of the best. You simply can't compare it to Citizen Cane, or the Godfather but for what it is, its very good. If you like graphic novels, liked the Decent, like horror or sci-fi. Or Vampires. You'll be pleased. Well worth it for free and if I had played would be satisfied.
As night begins to fall for a thirty day spell over a small Alaskan
outpost village, a motley crew of vampires comes waltzing in for a
feast in David Slade's adaptation of the graphic novel, "30 Days of
Night." Ever since "Interview with the Vampire" vampires have been
depicted in films as something hip, cool, and sexy. Recently the idea
of becoming a vampire is like making a fashion statement or becoming a
Scientologist. In "30 Days of Night" the vampires are nameless,
cunning, animal-like bloodsuckers and far from mindless zombies (which
have been more popular of late). Finally, vampires are restored to film
as monsters to be feared and not as some sympathetic and alluring
The film grabs you from its opening shot of a man walking through a desolate snow covered landscape away from an ominous boat docked in the ice and never lets go. Director Slade wisely avoids many of the seizure-inducing trappings of recent horror films. Sure, there are the prerequisite quick-cuts in the intimate scenes of carnage, but there are also haunting wide-angled shots and one expertly staged bird's-eye-view crane shot when the vampires first begin dragging people out of their houses into the street. While successfully adapting some of the great imagery from the graphic novel, Slade is fully aware that this is still a film and shies away from CGI and overly-stylized lighting and effects that would detract from the sense of realism necessary in a far-fetched horror film such as this.
Slade also makes good use of his cast. Danny Huston is perfectly creepy as the vampires' leader. Josh Hartnett, who is typically miscast and emotionless, actually fits well the role of a wooden Sheriff of a remote Alaskan town. Ben Foster, who always overacts, is used effectively here in a bit role as an over-the-top Reinfield-like character who ushers the vampires' arrival in town. Melissa George is pretty and sympathetic as Hartnett's estranged wife. Like many serious horror films of recent memory ("Dawn of the Dead" or "The Descent") the film attempts some character development that is often "emo" but never overplays its hand.
Aside from being better directed and better acted than your run-of-the-mill horror flick, "30 Days of Night" is also fantastically gory. Decaptation aficionados will especially rejoice. Refreshing, too, is the way it takes its gore and action dead seriously. There are no silly one-liners or graphic sight gags. The characters are deeply affected by what they witness and what they have to do to survive. This is pure horror, and it's relentless.
Yes, there are some missteps with the film's pacing and some huge leaps of logic in the amount of time that passes between events. However, for the shear originality of its central conceit, the intensity of the gore, and the haunting quality of many of its signature shots, David Slade's "30 Days of Night" is the most exhilarating horror film since Danny Boyle's original "28 Days Later" and the best vampire film since Francis Ford Coppola delivered "Bram Stoker's Dracula" back in 1992.
"30 Days of Night" is a very welcome addition to the ranks of vampire
movies. This one is strictly for horror fans, not for doily-draped
gender-confused romantics dreaming of third degree hickies from pretty
fanged lovers in New Orleans.
The fun begins in the first frame, courtesy of the evocative setting, a snowbound town at the Northern edge of America. The only iffy moment comes with the introduction of Josh Hartnett as the town sheriff. Young and movie star handsome, he threatens to come off as unbelievable, like the Ben Affleck sheriff in "Phantoms." Hartnett, however, despite his young years, has the gravitas to pull off this role, and director David Slade gets masterful performances from all the fine actors in this film.
Melissa George is scrumptiously beautiful. (Her mouth is so cute it should be patented.) She's also an excellent actress, who horror fans should remember from the recent (and highly recommended) remake of The Amityville Horror. With her endearing little girl face and keen talent for playing it straight under the most fantastic of circumstances, she's likable, sympathetic and totally believable in this role.
What really sets this film apart though is its portrayal of the vampires. Someone obviously boned up on ancient vampire legends, because these are the most authentic movie vampires since Boris Karloff's "wurdalak" in Mario Bava's "Black Sabbath" 40 years ago.
Speaking in a strange Eastern European tongue (Romanian? or Hungarian?) these creatures bear the remains of human personalities, but are purely evil; cunning and vicious and blood-stained, like vampires were before Bram Stoker introduced the "new improved" (i.e. sanitized) Victorian model and Anne Rice gussied it up even more.
Fans of Kathryn Bigelow's "Near Dark" and John Carpenter's "Vampires" will appreciate the high action and body count. The story is a bit slimmer than either of those two films (it is based on a comic book, after all) but it's very atmospheric and suspenseful, with superb production values all around.
The visual efx are topnotch, especially when they're subtle, such as snowflakes adding their magical luster to a scene. The special make-up efx (blood and guts et al) are completely believable, but aside from a few very graphic images and much spilled blood in the snow, are not as overwhelming as some overly squeamish reviewers have claimed.
The cinematography is gorgeous, and is enhanced by the seamlessly integrated visual effects noted above.
If you're in the mood for a nicely paced, well-produced, superbly directed movie that'll satisfy your craving for a dose of traditional horror, you can't go wrong with this one.
"30 Days of Night" is easily one of the best horror movies I've seen in
a very long time mostly because everyone involved seemed to know
exactly what it takes to make a decent horror movie. It's not obscene
amounts of gore or monsters jumping out at the camera that make a movie
scary. It's creepy atmosphere that makes a movie particularly scary,
and this movie does a great job at creating the kind of atmosphere that
fills the viewer with the kind of dread that so many movies fail to
achieve. It's not perfect, but it's still better than just about every
horror movie I've seen since "The Descent" (which also relied on a
creepy atmosphere to fill the viewer with a sense of dread and
This movie is set in the small town of Barrow, Alaska, the northernmost town in the U.S. Because it is so far up north, there comes a time every winter where the sun doesn't rise for 30 days. The fact that this translates into a month without sunlight attracts a group of vampires who attack the town and spend the month feeding on its citizens. Eventually only a handful of humans remain in town, and they must survive the month without starving, freezing, or being killed by the vampires. It's a fairly simple concept, yet the director makes it work incredibly well. There is a sense of dread and hopelessness that permeates this entire film. Barrow is a town that appears to be cut off from the rest of the world. It seems to be surrounded by a sea of white on all sides, and the citizens seem to be stuck in a state of depression. Barrow seems to be the worst place in the world to be, and that's before the sun sets and the vampires show up. When the vampires do make themselves known, that sense of isolation and hopelessness turns into a feeling of dread that doesn't go away. One really gets the sense that there is no escape for the small group of survivors. This feeling is made all the more real by the long periods between the vampire attacks. Normally I consider long periods where not much happens a bad thing, but here it works in the film's favor. We may not always see the vampires, but their presence is always felt. At any given time in the movie one can see blood splattered onto snow and hear the distant screams and occasional gunfire of yet another one of Barrow's citizens getting killed, and it's easy to get the feeling that any of the main characters could be the next to die. The vampires themselves are also unlike any we've seen in movies for some time. They aren't the kind of seductive and charming vampires that seem to show up in every other horror movie. These vampires are feral, ruthless, and sadistic, with sharp crocodile-like teeth and bloodstained clothes. There's nothing romantic about them or their actions; they just want to kill people and drink their blood. It helps that they get far less screen time than the human characters; normally we only see them as shadows in the background stalking their prey. When they do attack, it's incredibly vicious and horrifyingly violent (the first large-scale attack on the town is a particular highlight of this film). This viciousness adds to the hopelessness and vulnerability of the humans while making the vampires seem like some of the scariest movie monsters to come along in a while.
If I can find any fault in this movie, it's that the ending seems a bit contrived and cliché. It doesn't take too much away from the movie though; to complain about it is really nitpicking more than anything. Overall it's one of the best horror movies I've seen in a long time, and easily the best vampire movie to come along in years. I would definitely recommend it, especially since it's a good alternative to the endless "torture porn" we've been seeing from this genre for the last few years.
I didn't think i could get exited by watching a vampire movie ever
again. All the greats have made fine use of the mythology, Francis Ford
Coppola, Neil Jordan, Steven Norrington, Guillermo Del Toro and lets
not forget one of the greatest F. W. Murnau.
30 Day of Night, is a delightfully nasty horror, which has once again has wet my appetite to see those whom are fanged back on celluloid. These vampire's are just scary, no sexual innuendo, they are just plain beasts.
The films Comic book origins are quite evident through the film, one of its main draw cards is that it looks beautiful, the cinematography is fabulous, the punchy electro rock score used is effectively scarce during the film, silence is the films most potent suspense weapon.
The Cast is great, Josh Hartnet Putting probably the best performance of his career, but it's Ben Foster who really steals the show, I've never seen a actor possessed by their own character to that extent since Anthony Hopkins and Lector. Mellisa George is perfectly fine, i wasn't blown away, but Danny Huston was superbly Menacing, his presence in the film was foreboding.
Now to the films few flaws, the amazing build up, that incorporated the mystery of what exactly was going on in the town was swiftly ripped away by full on carnage, this was a little distracting, but soon the suspense returned.
I have to recommend this film, i don't really understand why people arn't liking the film. It's very old fashioned in its approach, most probably why it is so brilliant. give it a go.
Recommendation: If you call yourself a horror fan, you really shouldn't dislike it
Sinister, brutal, and unrelentingly violent, 30 Days of Night is the
best vampire movie and likely best horror movie to be unleashed
upon audiences this year. As fear and dread gradually give way to
full-blown terror as the ruthless vampires descend upon the isolated
town, the audience is never given a moment to catch their breath. No
one is safe and seldom does a sliver of hope surface in the rapidly
diminishing chance of survival in this world submersed in darkness.
Though the story grounds itself in preconceived vampire mythos, the
visuals do not, and a masterpiece of bloody violence emerges, revealing
such intensely vicious imagery that fans of the genre (as well as the
original graphic novel) will revel in the carnage.
In Barrow, Alaska, the northernmost city in the world, once a year during the winter, the sun disappears for 30 days. Isolated by 80 miles of ice and snow, the town prepares for the lightless month. But a group of blood-starved vampires have made their way into the shadowy environs of Barrow to feast on the town, concerned only with satisfying their feeding frenzy. Quickly killing off the majority of townsfolk, the vampires hunt for a small remaining group of survivors led by Eben Oleson (Josh Hartnett) and his wife Stella (Melissa George), who must wait out the horrifying 30 days of night.
It is refreshing to see a vampire film that doesn't shy away from violence and that doesn't dwell on anything that can be even remotely construed as hokey. A new cinematic creature, 30 Days of Night's antagonists are ultra scary with their deformed appearances and their mercilessly gut-wrenching killing sprees. They speak in their own demonic language and have super human strength and speed, making them a Michael Myers fashioned juggernaut. High-pitched shrieks, blood-soaked visages and razor-sharp fingernails complete a frightening design of this force to be reckoned with.
The character designs are not just notable for the vampires, but also for Eben and Stella, who are brilliantly portrayed by Josh Hartnett and Melissa George. 30 Days of Night is not just about brutal vampire melees, but about sacrifice and protecting loved ones regardless of the dangers. Particularly powerful scenes continually arise as the struggling survivors are forced to cede to unbearable situations to ensure the survival of others. Eben too must make difficult choices to provide leadership for the group and to preserve his fragile relationship with his wife Stella. While it's difficult to judge authentic reactions to a vampire outbreak, the characters all perform honestly and emotionally to any event that could just have easily been grounded deeper in reality.
From beheadings to animal violence, to the slaughter of children, to maniacal misuse of a snow plow, 30 Days of Night douses you in blood and suspense. A few minutes into the film we are immersed in quick, gritty violence and intensity and it never lets up until the climactic conclusion. Never has a film been so white-knuckle thrilling and jaw-dropping shocking from start to finish. As a horror film, 30 Days of Night succeeds admirably due to its fast-paced, stunning visuals, and explosive action. A nonstop thrill ride guaranteed to please fans of the original groundbreaking graphic novel as well as newcomers to the genius of David Slade (Hard Candy) and Steve Niles (writer of the original comics).
I am typically not a great fan of vampire films. However,this movie is a new take on an old legend. The setting is fantastic and what could be more scary than 30 days of endless night when you are besieged by vampires. These are not your fathers vampires,nothing seductive or even campy about these guys. They are what the vampire was originally supposed to have been..SCARY! I think of all setting..an arctic or Alaskan frozen,isolated area is a great stage for horror and suspense. Movies like Howard Hawks "The Thing from Another World" and its 1982 sequel "The Thing" use the same setting with admirable results. Even the underrated Stephen King mini-series "Storm of the Century" uses the same cold,barren and isolated setting to create tension,despair and hopelessness. The acting is average,if not slightly above,and the mood and lighting are very good. All in all a movie that made you crave a little more when it ended..and that is what all movies strive for. Although it could have had a few improvements and should have provided a little more background for the story(things sort of just go to hell all at once),it is most definitely a film worth a couple hours of your time.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Clichéd to death. Movies in this genre will do the following. A group
trying to survive in a crisis with always have at least one person who
is completely stupid and gives the game away. This movie has different
versions of this; a senile old man, someone not being quiet when
they're told repeatedly to be quiet and someone running into the open
after some one else. There are also people investigating strange
noises, a person prophesising that everyone is doomed, and loud noises
to make the audience jump by means of compensating for the poor story
and plot development. There are also the gratuitous gore scenes.
Poor story. Vampires hunting in an area that has complete darkness for about 30 days sounds like a good concept, and in true Hollywood fashion, someone probably signed the cheque based on that one sentence. The main story follows (or at least attempts to follow) the people of this Alaskan town as they attempt to hide and survive from vampires who have appeared from nowhere. Eventually they go away when Josh kills one of them after turning himself into one to save his ex-girlfriend. I could go on, but there really isn't any point.
Plot development. None. We know virtually nothing about these characters except for the main vampire who claims there isn't a god. Josh Hartnett's character had relationship issues with another character although we don't know what. The characters are all one dimensional, who occasionally look intense or emotional during the extreme close-ups.
Directing. Extreme close-ups, fast filming, and aggressive editing makes this movie fairly difficult to sit through and it seems to be the latest fashion for this genre.
So to summarise: don't see this movie, even if you're a fan of the genre. I'm predicting poor DVD sales for this one.
Sequel. Hopefully there wont be a sequel. If there is, I recommend that it is called "30 Days of Day" where an Alaskan town goes mad during mid-summer because they're suffering from insomnia and believe they are Daywalker vampires. I would go to see that. May I can get funding for that! Anyone want in on that project?
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I didn't have time to see "Into the Wild," so I thought I'd watch the
OTHER Alaskan adventure story, this one involving vampires and Josh
Hartnett. I should have just gone home. 90% of the action is generic
SHOCK!camerashakeCUT! BS that presents absolutely no sense of action or
really idea of what's going on (and HOW can a vampire drink the blood
if it's shaking its head back and forth like that?!), and the writing
and directing is completely illogical. Somehow we're supposed to accept
that these vampires are capable of preconception enough to plan to go
to Alaska during winter in order to vacation in the 30 days of
darkness, plus existential quotes about the absence of God and whatnot,
and yet they don't even seem to have the simple intelligence to ration
out the 150 citizens of Barrow over time or even TO SHUT UP WHILE
HUNTING! How many panning shots of vampires moving down hallways
hissing loudly did I have to sit through? A lion don't roar when
stalking an antelope, people!
But the most insulting scene of all, unfortunately, I have to completely give away the ending to to describe. So here we go: SPOILERS, you have been warned, but on the other hand I'd rather you read this please so that you don't go see this stupid movie. Okay, so Josh Hartnett decides he can't beat the vampires without their powers, so he injects himself with some vampire blood and goes out to lay the smack-down on the leader. Following an fight sequence (the only good thing I can say about it is that it's better than the showdown between Rayne and Billy the Kidd in "Bloodrayne II: Deliverance"), he defeats the leader, of course. Wide shot: Josh Hartnett standing in the middle of a group of vampires. Cut to: shot of Hartnett's love interest and some kid she saved, looking dramatic and scared. Cut back to, again, wide shot of Hartnett. Vampires are gone. Where did they go? They never appear again. No allusion is made to them leaving. No action is presented to describe them leaving. No ellipses is used to insinuate that there will be a sequel. ABSOLUTELY NO NARRATIVE LOGIC FINISHES THE STORY.
I can only come up with three reasons why the director did this: 1) He's lazy and didn't feel like finishing the scene, instead preferring to move on to the next one. If that's the case he should have been fired and sued for the money the producers spent on him, then they should have hired a real director to finish the story, but I shouldn't have had to see this cut. 2) He forgot that the vampires were there. Which means he's extremely stupid and should have been fired and sued for the money the producers spent on him, then they should have hired a real director to finish the story, but I shouldn't have had to see this cut. Or 3) he thought that that was a great experimental/original way to end the movie with an open ending, which means he's both stupid AND pretentious, which means that he should have been fired and sued for the money the producers spent on him, they they should have hired a real director to finish the story, and not only should I have not had to see this cut, but he should never work in Hollywood ever again.
Other than that I rather enjoyed myself. I honestly think that the entire budget was put on one single sequence involving a man named Billy losing his arm, turning into a vampire, and having his head chopped off with a fire ax all in the course of maybe three shots. That was gorgeous. And when the director finally stopped shaking the damn camera long enough to settle down on the survivalist aspects of film, and the actors given a chance to, you know, do something besides scream for sound (did I mention the sound editing is terrible in this movie? I think that's kind of important. It's very inconsistent and at one point completely oblivious), then sometimes something resembling fear and horror emerges.
The movie is not a complete masterpiece, but it is damn close. It
features cool vampires attacking an isolated town, people fighting for
their lives, scenes with actual emotional impact and lots of blood. Oh,
and Melissa George!
Somehow I have missed this movie when it appeared so I watched it back to back with the sequel that appeared in 2010. Man, were they completely different! If this film made me immediately jump to the computer and start the sequel to see how it continues, the other made me watch it in fast-forward.
The film gets a little of that Swedish movie Låt den rätte komma: the vampires are human-like, but not human; they are strong and fast and deadly; they do not glitter, wear fashionable clothing or have other interests than drinking your blood. In a sense it is similar to Near Dark as well.
Bottom line: There are holes in the plot and it doesn't really try to create a vampire mythos at all. But that is a good thing, as it adds to the gritty, visceral feel of the movie. It is the proof that vampire movies can be good! Therefore my recommendation is that you should not miss this film, but definitely avoid the Uwe-Boll-like sequel from 2010.
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