JT Film Review

63 – 30 Days of Night (2007)

30 Days of Night REVIEW

3/5 stars

Director – David Slade

Cast – Josh Hartnett, Melissa George, Danny Huston, Mark Boone Junior, Ben Foster

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30_days_of_night

I have come to a decision. Sometimes how much you enjoy a movie is reversely (I’ll let you decide if that’s a word) connected to how much you anticipate watching it. When a friend told me that his college rented a theater recently and were showing this movie, I was interested. I had seen the trailer when it was first released a couple years ago, and could remember thinking that it didn’t look too bad. So I researched it.

The results weren’t that great; Rotten Tomatoes had it at 49%, and reviews just weren’t too positive. So I went in expecting a fairly lame movie.

Instead I must admit I was pleasantly surprised. Sure there are flaws in the movie, there are tons of them, but I was carried along quite pleasantly by it all. The atmosphere is perfect for the tone and environment, and the movie does not resort to cheap scares and jumps. It’s scary enough without them.

Josh Hartnett as the lead Sheriff of a small town over run by vampiric creatures is perhaps a bit young looking for the role (despite being about 30 at the time0, but he portrays a young maturity that is not often seen. Danny Huston does passably well with the role he has been given, that of a vampire leader who brings his little vampire crew up north to take advantage of the sunless days.

It is his role, and all the vampires really, that are the biggest problem with the movie however. They are almost zombie vampires; we are never sure if the movie wants to make them smart or stupid. They roar and grunt like animals, but then they have a language of their own which Danny Huston uses to wax poetic whenever he meets a lead character. I hate it when villains do that; they meet a lead character and suddenly (usually when they have the lead under their power) they start going on poetically about how they feel. It is an annoying cliche at best.

30-daysWe are also never really sure where the vampires are when they have occupied the town. Sometimes the characters will run across streets willy-nilly, never attracting the attention of the vampires, while at others they tiptoe around in houses, afraid of making a single noise. It was a bit confusing, as is the story, which tends to skip around a bit.

One part disgusted me though, and was quite out of tone with the rest of the movie. We know that kids exist in the movie, and we know that when vampires bite someone they turn into a vampire. They decided to show a kid who was “turned”, which in and of itself is fine. However, they did it in such an exploitative way that it crossed the line. That happens a couple times, any more and it would have ruined the movie. As it is, it came close.

OVERALL

30 Days of Night is heavily flawed, but its atmosphere is perfect and its scares are smart. Some characters are of typical horror movie mold; i.e. they only exist to be stupid, run out of the hideaway, and reveal the existence of the survivors etc. While some plot points are obvious and cliched, the movie does run along fairly nicely, and its tone is nicely established. I’d recommend this if you are a fan of  suspenseful horror or vampire movies. It’s pretty watchable, but ultimately nothing more.

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TRAILER

“30 Days of Night” on other websites:

IMDB —– Rotten Tomatoes —– Wikipedia

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November 13, 2009 - Posted by | 3 Stars, Film Review, Genre - Horror, Year - 2000-2009 | , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. Hey, nicely written. I agree with all of your points! Even as I was watching it, I knew it was flawed in too many ways to take it seriously, but I nevertheless followed it right through to the end because of the cast — the ones that the director allowed to have actual characters, that is. And the atmosphere was perfect for a horror flick, especially with all the recent depictions of Alaska in film noir terms: think of Insomnia, which features a more conventional suspense movie on the flipside of 30 Days… that uses the 24-hour sunlight as a crucial ingredient to the exoticism that can be the Alaskan wilderness. But still, a crap story that might have been improved by taking away all the dialogue completely before releasing this flick on an unsuspecting public that’s not dumb enough to remember it ten years from now when we reminisce about better vampire movies, eh?

    Comment by George Clairmont | November 14, 2009 | Reply

  2. I hadn’t thought of Insomnioa in relation to this movie. It’s time someone set a movie in Alaska just for the hell of it. Insomnia and 30 Days of Night are in Alaska for the 24 hour day/night phenomina; the recent Fourth Kind movie has to do with that and its “isolation”. Let’s have an Alaska movie, or God forbid, a Yukon or Nunavut movie, just for the hell of it.

    Comment by jamesturpin | November 14, 2009 | Reply


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