30 Days Of Night (2007): When The Blood Freezes In Your Veins
0 comment Monday, May 5, 2014 |
Runtime: 113 minutes
Country: USA
Cast and Crew
Directed by David Slade
Written by Steve Niles, Stuart Beattie, and Brian Nelson, Based on the comic by Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith
Starring Josh Hartnett, Melissa George, Danny Huston, and Ben Foster
Written by Nick Hishmeh
It seems people are obsessed with vampires lately. Oh, who am I kidding? It�s only 13 year old girls and their 40 year old moms. But never underestimate that power. It is mighty. Before the inane craze came out, a little pre-Twilight film was made based on a comic book with a little budget and almost no stars, with a director that only made one other film to boot. And it was a hard R-rated film that couldn�t be marketed to teens. I of course am talking about 30 Days of Night.
In terms of the story, it is a pretty solid concept of having vampires attack a town in Alaska that goes through long periods of night. It�s blocked off from the outside world and people become easy prey for the vampires. So the group of survivors have to find a way to um� survive. It mostly consists of hiding in attics and abandoned homes.

I personally remember seeing this in theaters and thinking that these scenes were paced well and were original in their attempt to stay grounded in reality. The man next to me said that hiding in attics was Anne Frank�s plan and that didn�t work out well for her. So maybe he had a point, because the characters eventually had to leave those places anyway. Chaos inevitably ensues as these things must. David Slade, the director, manages to keep the suspense for a good long while in the movie. A particular good move on his part was to treat the situation as realistic as possible. Note how it takes more than one chop to cut someone�s head off. And why not?

The greatest strengths in the film are the visual elements, including the vampires themselves. This is not to say that they are the stars of the film, because they aren�t. Their depictions are actually among my favorite and what really sets the film apart from others. Unlike the popular characterization of making them charming, the filmmakers outfit them with superior intelligence and make them more animalistic. Notice how every time the vampires make a kill in a group, they circle the person in the middle and take turns attacking. Then they all go in for the kill. This is reminiscent of wolves or sharks. They rely on the basic senses of sight, smell, or sound to hunt.

They have one leader, Marlow, who is the alpha male; as he should be since most of the other males look like rejects from a Marilyn Manson concert. The actor, Danny Huston, manages to create a restrained and almost bored sense in his character, as if he has been around for a long time and has no real challenge with so little dialogue. He is the only one with a somewhat more human way of thinking, but still has to prove his male dominance as seen in the end fight.

As for the visual elements, the film had some really cool shots. I don�t want to say what exactly because it really has to be seen, but it involves a mass fight, or rather slaughter, between humans and the vampires. The cast all did decent jobs for what they had to work with, giving the characters a lot of� well, character. The lead protagonist is played by Josh Hartnett and this is probably one of his better roles since he doesn�t have to rely on being charming. The sheriff instead has to actually protect people, more along the lines of the old idea of "being a man" in cinema. The "man" has to handle the situation. This is all new territory for Josh but he handles it well and is probably one of the performances I�m going to remember him for. Everyone else had little character moments that differed between comedy and drama. Case in point: the weed smoking grandma to the man whose family died years ago.

The only real shout out I want to give though is to Ben Foster as The Stranger. He only had a small role, but what a part. He is the harbinger for the vampires, a modern day version of Renfield in "Dracula." Foster has such a convincing Cajun accent, it made me wish he played Gambit in the X-Men movies instead of whoever they got instead. With the short screen time he has, he manages to show the most emotions out of all the characters. He goes from anger, to anticipation, to sadness all within the first 20 minutes, while the rest are stuck in the one note they have to play.

So overall, I was glad to have revisited to film. It is definitely worth a watch, and if I found it in the five dollar bin at Wal-Mart I might even think about picking it up. Was it the best vampire movie I ever saw? Not really. Was it better than some of the vampire films that are coming out now? Yes, a hundred times yes. The sad thing about it though is that David Slade has another film coming out this year. I believe it�s called The Twilight Saga: Eclipse.


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