3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Ah, vampires, those pillars of the community who go to your local highschool and have pretty gold eyes because they only hunt animals. Oh, and they twinkle too in sunlight. I'm very pleased to say that 30 Days of Night isn't anything like that.
These vampires have fangs that would make mincemeat of Kristen Stewart's neck and have a nasty habit of slaughtering every man, woman and child they meet. And they meet Josh `the beard' Hartnett in his Alaskan town which is so northerly that the sun doesn't rise for thirty days (hence the title, right?).
What follows is a story of survival, where the handful of remaining townsfolk (led by Hartnett's beard) have to last the thirty days before the eventual sunrise which will kill their undead foe (of which the head vampire bears more than a passing resemblance to Neil Tennant of the Pet Shop Boys... but with bigger teeth and a thirst for blood, rather than poppy dance anthems).
And it's good (if you don't look too closely). It has impressive action set pieces, characters you care about, plenty of gore to keep us `claret-lovers' entertained and vampires who you don't want to slap for being so wet and `Emo.' It could all be a classic, if it wasn't for the fact - and you might want to skip this bit, just in case you don't notice - that the whole `thirty days aspect' seems to be well and truly glossed over. In fact, it could all happen in one night and you'd be none the wise.
But that is a slight niggle and, if you like your vampires old fashioned and nasty (as opposed to falling in love with teenage waifs who are incapable of cracking a smile) then you should like this (although, whatever you do, don't watch the sequel - it's a terrible attempt at cashing in on the success of this one).
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 22 March 2014
In Barrow, Alaska, seventy percent of the population of five hundred and some dwellers travel on the day of the last sunset, since the town will stay alone for the next thirty days without sun light.
Sheriff Eben Oleson and Deputy Billy Kitka find several cell phones burned on the road.
Then they receive a call from the local caretaker saying that all his sled dogs have been slaughtered; later Eben finds the operator of the cell tower decapitated.
He arrests a troublemaker drifter and the stranger frightens him by saying, "they are coming and the locals will be dead." Soon Eben discovers that the town is under siege by a gang of bloodthirsty vampires and with a few survivors, they hide in an empty attic waiting for the next sunrise....
A great looking film is marred by a few clichés they couldn't help but chuck in, but 30 days of night is still one of the slickest vampire movies of the last twenty years.
The cast are great and the claustrophobic setting is one hell of way to set a movie, but the one weak link in this is on Ben Foster.
I like the actor, but in the years of 2006 and 2007, he played this part too many times, and it became his hindrance. Here he does his same old 'potential psycho' schtick, and it just didn't gel.
Hartnett is great in this, but it boggles me that this is one of his last big movies, as he seems to really put his all in this and the story. As I've already said, the editing and camera-work in this is beautiful, and the special effects are some of the best in 2007.
Kudos to Huston too, playing one of the most mystical vampires seen on screen in a long time.
In the advent of 'Twilight', this is the perfect antidote to those movies, best watched when it's cold, in the dark and on Blu Ray, because it's one of the best looking Blu Rays out there.
An empty film, but very entertaining..
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This is a so so vampire movie, not a patch on the best in the genre, such as Near Dark and The Fearless Vampire Hunters, but better than some. Barrow is a quiet, remote town in the middle of nowhere in Alaska, population 152. Each and every Winter it gets plunged into darkness for 30 days and nights. The setting of the movie is a snowbound wasteland, but paradoxically, this doesn't really add to the atmosphere of the film.
Some films use the weather to add feeling to the movie, John Carpenter's The Thing being a prime example of how to use snow and ice to add atmosphere, or conversely, Spike Lee's Do The Right Thing showing how to use heat and sunlight to create a certain mood.
Here, I didn't find that the setting really added anything to the movie. What follows is a tale of marauding vampires who happen across Barrow, and decide to use the 30 days of night to go on a feeding spree in the town. It is left to the town sheriff, played by Josh Hartnett, and his estranged wife, played by Melissa George, to fend off the bloodsuckers, assisted by the townsfolk. Josh Hartnett is quite wooden (compare his performance with Kurt Russell's in The Thing and you'll understand what I mean).
Melissa George, who is making quite a name for herself as a modern day scream queen, is much better. The vampires don't speak English and I think that this handicaps the movie. Subtitles are used whenever the vampires speak, which is a clumsy technique, reminding you that you are watching a film and shattering the small modicum of tension which the film occasionally achieves. In the movie Near Dark, which is a brilliant example of how to make a vampire film, the vampires can speak, so you get to know their characters, which adds to the movie.
Here, because the vampires can't speak, they had to be much much scarier, i.e. like the creepy cave dwellers in The Descent, but they are not. They are run of the mill vampires and there is nothing inventive or imaginative about their appearance or behaviour (watch Under The Skin with Scarlett Johansson, for a very good example of a recent horror thriller where people are on the menu, and where the director has been highly imaginative about how the human beings are despatched).
There are no moments to make you jump off the sofa, and there is manifestly a lack of tension throughout most of the film, i.e. the complete opposite of The Thing, where the tension never releases its grip.
This is not a bad movie, it's just that it could and should have been so much better. If the lead actor had been somebody like Christian Bale or Adrien Brody, i.e. a brilliant character actor, it would have been transformed. The double box set comes with the vampire comic on which the film is based, and "the making of" extras are quite interesting.
In short, the double box set is good value for £3.00 or thereabouts, just don't expect to be adding this movie to your top ten horror list.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
30 Days of Night is directed by David Slade and written by Steve Niles, Stuart Beattie and Brian Nelson. It stars Josh Hartnett, Melissa George, Danny Huston, Mark Boone Junior and Ben Foster. Music is by Brian Reitzell and cinematography by Jo Willems.
Every year for thirty days the town of Barrow, North Alaska goes without sunlight. This year Barrow has visitors, Vampires...
Based on Steve Niles' own graphic comic, 30 Days of Night strips the vampire characterisation down to the core and triumphs because of it. There is nothing dandy or sexy about the vampires who have come to Barrow to feed for a month, these are ugly feral, insect like beasts who speak in their own language. The backdrop is a cold and snowy small town where no daylight is due for weeks, the population small, is about to become smaller with every passing hour. The set-up and execution is well handled by Slade (Hard Candy), antagonists and protagonists introductions are smooth, then the carnage unfolds and we shift into a tense game of cat and mouse as Hartnett, his estranged wife (George) and a few hardy souls try and survive until the 30 days of night have passed. And of course kick some vampire ass where possible.
Problems arise with the fact that it never once feels like more than one night of horror, so the questions of sleep, eat and toilet habits don't come into until you start to realise this is spread over 30 days! Is that picky? Well no not really, especially since there is little to no depth of characterisations to feed off either, back story is minimal and only reserved for Hartnett and George to let us know they are separated but love each other, thus our hero has something extra to fight for! For a story spread over 30 days it sure does lack, erm, story. Yet the constant sense of dread, a number of breath holding scenes and some bona fide bloody terror, ensures that it's a thrilling addition to the vampire splinter of horror. Cast performances are fine for the material to hand, with Huston as the lead vampire standing out and tech credits elsewhere, again, are perfect for the material as written.
Don't think about it too hard and there's a great time to be had here, while it makes for a great double with The Mist (also 2007). 7.5/10
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A grisly, violent and rip roaring horror B-movie, 30 Days of Night is a real gem of a movie. Injecting some much needed life into the vampire genre 30 DON is action packed and horrifying in equal measure.
A remote Alaskan town is plunged into darkness for one month every year. Many residents leave town for this period of time. The local Sheriff, Josh Harnett, looks after the remaining residents. This year things are a little different with some new visitors that are not particularly welcome.
These vampires are nasty to the extreme. Possessing speed, strength and agility the remaining towns folk don't stand a chance. The film kicks off quickly. Introducing you to the main circle of characters and then wasting no time in letting the blood spill. Once it starts it doesn't stop and is relentless in its pursuit to make the audience cower behind their seats.
The whole film has an air of John Carpenter about it. It has a foreboding atmosphere and reminds you of The Thing or possibly The Fog. A small town ravished by impossible odds.
There are some superb action set pieces and the ending is nicely bleak. Overall a pleasingly refreshing film that gives the vampire genre some new juice and something to be proud of. A film with real bite!
on 21 August 2015
You may think that you have had bad days. Imagine this, being stuck in a small Alaskan town with no sunlight, not just for one day but for THIRTY during its winter period. For those affected with SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) this would be bad enough. Factor in a bunch of vicious vampires making the most of the darkness offered and chances are things couldn't really get much worse.
Not everyone chooses to stay around in Barrow during this period of extended darkness, with most of the small town's five hundred population heading south, leaving just 152 willing to brave it out. Into this community comes a stranger (Ben Foster) who sets about stealing and burning all mobile phones (rather improbable), trashing the only helicopter and ((SOB)) offing all the doggies.
Incarcerated by Sheriff Eben Oleson (Josh Hartnett) and his estranged wife Stella (Melissa George), the stranger continues to put a downer on things by announcing that death is coming to the small town. Pretty much as the words fall from his gob the town's power is cut off - as if it wasn't dark enough already - and a pack of vampires attack the town in a spectacular and devastating fashion.
With the nearest town eighty miles away the surviving members of the initial attack band together to find a way out of their extraordinary situation.
Considering how dire much of the output from Sam Raimi's Ghost House Productions has been, it is pleasing to report that their latest, 30 Days of Night, is doing exactly what you'd expect of a production company out to spook. Based on the graphic novel by Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith, the first of a comic book miniseries of the same name published in 2002, the aim was to make a scary vampire movie from the source given that there had been a lack of these of late.
Director David Slade exploded onto the movie scene with his acclaimed feature-début the goollie-worrying Hard Candy (2005). His style feels like early (read, better) John Carpenter. Think Assault on Precinct 13 set against the snowy wilderness of The Thing and you get some idea of the vibe Slade has created - even the film's soundtrack feels very Carpenter.
Slade's movie brings to mind Zack Synder's Dawn of the Dead remake. In much the same way that Zynder had his zombies full on, Slade has his vamps jumping and leaping and even has a little girl vampire as Synder had a girl zombie for his sensational opening. And like zombies these vampires can be shot in the head in order to be dispatched.
In terms of performances, the always-reliable Danny Huston is a stand-out as vampire leader Marlow. Given that his performance is restricted to snarling and speaking in an ancient dialect it's not exactly a role geared to elicit a thespian's strengths, so it's to his credit that he still manages to exude an extraordinary level of menace. This is one sucker you definitely don't want to bump into.
Watch out also for Mark Boone Jnr as Beau Brower, the local snowplough driver. A fixture in many genre pictures, from the underrated Dead Birds to the fun Frankenfish, Boone Jnr adds another credible support character to his belt and steals the show with a key scene involving his snow plough.
Interestingly the leads Josh Harnett and Melissa George, with genre pleasers Halloween H20, The Faculty and WAZ between them, have the least interesting roles as the estranged couple but it's their relationship that ultimately shapes how the vampires are defeated come the rather melodramatic ending. In fact the estranged lead couple is a story thread that has been done to death but here it feels a welcome comfort like saying hello to an old friend.
That said 30 Days of Night is not about building up believable characters, it's more about situation. This is a story ripped down to basics. It's relentless and never feels tired all the while toying with genre conventions. The movie plays it straight, no silly throwaway quips. This is a proper hide behind the cushion / snuggle-up-to-your-loved-one movie. It isn't just about gore. It's about cranking up the tension and it does it with aplomb. Vampire movies don't get much better than this.
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This is a quite watchable vampire horror film, not particularly good, but not bad either. Below, more of my impressions, with some SPOILERS.
Small town of Barrow, Alaska (in real life a somehow larger city, with 4212 people registered in 2010) is preparing for its annual "30 Days of Night," a period during the winter when there is a month-long polar night. As the town gets ready, a stranger rows ashore from a large ship and soon causes enough trouble and damage to attract the attention of local sheriff, Eben Oleson (Josh Harnett). Other than this unexpected investigation the sheriff must also deal with another little but annoying crisis, as his ex-wife, Stella Oleson (Melissa George), missed the last plane and must stay the 30 days - something that neither of them is happy with... And then the film really begins.
This is not a bad film, but it doesn't fully exploit all the possibilities offered by the unique place of action. The tension is not very skillfully build up, with all things fully revealed too early and the enemies appearing too openly... On another hand the vampire leader, Marlow (Danny Huston) is a quite scary creature - in fact he is one of the main attractions of this little horror movie. His name is almost certainly a tribute to the terrifying Barlow, the master vampire from the already classical Stephen King's novel "Salem's Lot" - and he certainly is as scary and evil (albeit maybe not as sophisticated) as his quasi-namesake...
In the second half this film gets repetitive and clichéd, but at least vampires are shown as cruel, evil and perpetually thirsting for blood, but also as quite efficient and cunning hunters of humans - as they should be... On another hand the finale and the very ending are actually quite original, even a little bit suprising and definitely less silly than I expected.
So, all in all, this is a quite honest little horror movie, better than most offerings in this overcrowded field, worth seeing once, for John Hartnett, Melissa George and Danny Huston performances and especially for the ending sequence. Enjoy - but rent rather than buy.
Picture this - a group of seals with a sprinkling of sea lions thrown in just to beef up the macho quotient of the group, is preyed upon in icy cold seas by a progressively larger group of ravenous killer whales and many of the smaller mammals are played with, butchered and devoured by the marauding killers amid a feast of blood, gore and very squishy special effects. But a few hardy little beasts, though clearly terrified out of their wits get it into their heads that they can survive and even beat their attackers because this is their territory - they know places to hide that are (relatively) safe where they think they might be able to wait out the `orrible orcas!
Well, a similar scenario is put before us in this numbingly boneheaded effort. How long can the cute little seals hold out against the overwhelmingly powerful, devastatingly voracious, heart-clenchingly vicious, highly evolved killing machines waiting to tear them apart, gobble them up and, in a few cases, rip off their heads before consuming them: a few minutes; a couple of hours at the most? No! A full 30 days! I don't know about anyone else but I find it tricky doing anything more complex than manipulating my keys to unlock my front door if the temperature drops one degree below zero for a few hours in broad daylight let alone trying to do it at 15 below in total darkness with a group of crazed super sensitive, super fast, super powerful vampires, who can see in the dark, nearby, trying to rip my head off. Yeh, all right - it's a movie but come on - credit the audience with a bit of intelligence! Okay, maybe not.
Oh, and the ending? Simply laughable!
on 25 June 2008
When you think about it the concept of a vampire is very scary and it's a surprise Hollywood has never quite known how to handle the vampire genre. There's been scary vampires films, but also plenty of very corny and dull ones that generate more laughs than scares. So whenever a new vampire film comes along you really don't know what to expect, a horror or an unintentional comedy. Well I can confirm that 30 Days Of Night is most definitely the former, a film with plenty of genuine scares.
The film itself is set in a remote town in Alaska that, every winter, experiences one month of non-stop night. It is during this month that a group of vampires descend upon the town and cause carnage. No daylight means the vampires usual handicap of having to disappear during the day is gone, meaning the town is totally at their mercy.
30 Days Of Night borrows ideas from a few films, but puts its own twist on them. The Alaskan town is very remote and desolate and has its own eeriness that is very much reminiscent of the beginning of The Thing, with all the main characters in a cold isolated location where you are just waiting for something horrible to happen.
The film also has many influences from George A. Romero's zombie films. Like Dawn of the Dead where the characters are under siege from a horde of zombies, in 30 Days, the characters are under siege from a crazed group of vampires. The vampires also have a few zombie-like traits, so whereas a normal vampire just bites their victim's neck and sucks the blood, these monsters horrifically butcher their victims as well.
The vampires have super-human strength and agility, but as well as this they also have intelligence, hunting in packs and communicating in their own vampire language, which is a novel touch. So all in all they make for formidable adversaries and the battle for survival the main characters have to fight is a desperate one.
There are many real scares in this film as well as a good dose of suspense and tension as you wonder what will happen next and how the characters can possibly survive the onslaught.
I would have given this film 4 stars but I've deducted a star because of the ending. I won't give anything away as you need to make up your own mind but, in my opinion, the ending is, well, a bit silly.
But all in all a very effective horror with plenty of chilling moments and definitely worth watching.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
The Film is a faithful take on a graphic novel and makes full use of the great central idea from the source material, a band of vampires attack a far Northern Alaskan town just as the sun is about to set for a full month. What follows is effectively an extended riff on the "trapped in a house" set-up of Night Of The Living Dead as a small group of survivors attempts to hide out and make it until the sun rises again. The vampires are as far away from Tom Cruise or Twilight style "gothic love interests" as they could be and gore levels are high, not a surprise given the involvement of Peter Jackson and his Weta special effects workshop (how he'd loved to have had access to these effects to play around with for Bad Taste or Braindead). That said, the messy stuff fits with the story and in the main nothing feels tacked on for the sake of it and the shock moments drive the plot.
The Blu-Ray is high quality using a top-notch film transfer. The opening long shots of a single figure walking through the Alaskan snow are especially stunning and the visuals are good throughout despite 90% of the film taking place at night. There are some reasonable extras too which are worth sitting through (not always the case), notably an interesting "Making Of".
Given the Blu-ray is at a good price this is definitely one to get as a Hi-Def disc over the DVD version.