|Directed by:||David Slade|
|Written by:||Stuart Beattie|
|Cast:||Josh Hartnett, Melissa George, Danny Huston, Ben Foster|
|Genre:||Comic Book, Horror|
I hated the graphic novel. The art looked more like a Rorschach gone bad, with blotty splattered dark ink covering everything. At some times the art was nearly impossible to register. I didn't think it was stylish more than just plain hideous (not like a horror story hideous; hideous ART hideous). Add to that a cheap storyline in which it felt like maybe one or two nights had passed, but all of a sudden it's day 29 (WTF?!) and out of NOWHERE one of the dudes comes up with an ingenious (as in, completely predictable) plan with no hint of logic, and then BOOM! It ends! I was like, "What the fuck did I just read here?" Stupid, stupid stupid STUPID story. The ending was so tacked on and implausible that I felt like I had been punched in the gut. Took the wind right out of my sails.
The other side of that coin is that the premise is totally kick ass. So much could be done with the long dark nights, a mood could be achieved that is ACHING for horror, what-with the cold weather and snow, lack of electricity, and seclusion from the rest of the world. 30 Days of Night - the movie - worked hard at trying to set a dark mood. In fact, it worked best for about the first half hour. Then, the vampires are taken out of the shadows, and like so many other monster-type movies, when the creature is seen in full view for the first time is when the movie starts to go downhill. These vampires are annoying as hell. They hiss and scream like Jim Carrey's dinosaur bit in the deleted scenes of Lemony Snickett. This is annoying enough, but then the icing on the cake is how they always stand around and keep their heads low, because someone who is looking up with their eyes when the head is angled low is always scary looking. Moreover, the lead vampire is devoid not just of color, but charisma as well. The rest of the troupe are not that appealing, either. I don't mind that the vampires aren't alluring, sensual creatures that permeate elegance and danger at the same time. 30 Days made them out to be almost reptilian in nature; and very very loud. Did I mention how loud they are?
A movie isn't scary when it relies on loud screeches more than the mood. By the time the final act rolled in, I was begging for the end of the screeching vampires. OK, I get it, they hiss and scream. SHUT UP!! The other painful noises came from the soundtrack. It reminded me of heavy trucks braking. You know that sound of the brakes? Get ready to hear that mixed with the vampires screaming. The vampires themselves and the horrible "music" accompanying them are the weakest part of this horror flick. That's a damn shame, because after all, it IS a vampire flick! They should be the coolest part of the movie!
The third and most significant annoyance was by the way the time went by. A group of survivors hide in a house attic. I wonder, "Where's the food?" Then a subtitle says "7 Days Later", and it feels like they hadn't even moved from where they were sitting 7 days earlier, and Eben says "We can't stay here." This of course leads to a chase scene, someone has to die... and they are somewhere else. Then the subtitle tells us, "17 Days Later" or something. It looks like they haven't moved from their chairs again. I laughed when Eben says, "We can't stay here." This sort of thing happens a few times.
With that said, I nearly explained away the whole movie. There is so little substance that you can literally tell all that happens with a one minute recap.
It seems like I'm bashing this movie left and right, and that there are no redeeming factors. Well, besides the cheesy loud vampires and music score, and the question of what the HELL they are doing with their time between the one week breaks, there is not much else that is glaringly bad. I really enjoyed most of these peoples' performances. Except for Ben Foster. He seemed to have jumped right off the set of 3:10 to Yuma and hopped in for a couple days of filming for this flick. He's grimy, and in the end turns into the same kind of person he is in almost all his other movies, which I talked a bit about in the 3:10 review. Josh Hartnett was fine, and the small patch of survivors were serviceable. Mark Boone Junior (the fatass dirty cop in Batman Begins) was a highlight. I actually felt like believed he was dealing with vampires. An admirable job was attempted at giving some back story to Eben and Stella, but once again it falls short in fleshing it out enough to really sink your teeth into. There was also some decent gore here and there, especially with a nicely done chopped off head sequence. I liked it, and if I hadn't seen Carpenter's Cigarette Burns, it might have been my most FAVORITE head chopping scene EVER.
The ending in this movie is essentially the same as the graphic novel, but they actually applied a reason for the action. I give points for trying to justify the concluding actions with more logic than the comic, but the movie still fails to capitalize on the full potential. Then, at the final scene with the vampires (no spoilers here!) there was a neat bit of gore. After this final moment of gore, stuff happens that just oversimplifies the conclusion. I don't "get it".
After knocking this movie down more notches than I expected before I sat down to write this, I will not completely discard 30 Days of Night. So it isn't all that it could have been. On the brighter side, I got much more out of it than what the source material provided me. OK so the vampires sucked. 30 days was way too long to tell the story that this movie gave me. It was a moderately paced, average horror movie with some stylish cinematography (really dug the overhead carnage view) and only a few scenes of overly jerky camerawork that kept me from seeing any action. I liked it's heavy R rating, and the nice delivery of gory bloody horror goods. For those looking to leave their brains at the door and watch some snow-filled roads get covered with blood, then 30 Days of Night isn't a complete loss.
The Wilhelm Scream is heard during the mass carnage event. A dude is thrown off of a roof, and I laughed when it was none other than Mr. Wilhelm.