30 Days of Night
Directed by: David Slade
Written by: Steve Niles, Stuart Beatty and Brian Nelson, based on the graphic novel by Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith
Starring: Josh Hartnett, Melissa George, Danny Huston, Ben Foster, Megan Franich, Mark Rendall, Manu Bennett, Amber Sainsbury, Mark Boone Junior, Joel Tobeck, Elizabeth Hawthorne, Peter Feeny, Min Windle
In this new age of latter day Van Helsings such as Buffy Summers and Eric Brooks (alias 'Blade'), where the hell is a vampire s'posed to go? New Jersey! Or Alaska. Whichever.
Set in the northernmost town in the United States (my friend insists that it should have been set in Alert, even farther north but not part of the United States), where the sun sometimes goes down for 30 days. The ultimate setting for a vampire movie. I mean, there's just that feeling of total hopelessness. What are you gonna do?
The movie has a sort of comic book feel to it, at least in the first half (it sort of lets itself get into the jerky, handheld, zombie/slasher movie technique later on), which, as opposed to many comic book adaptations, actually works. The art direction was gorgeous, and the whole thing was practically in black and white.
Everybody was disgustingly pale, which is nice. I like to see people looking pale and gross like that. I'm not crazy about Josh Hartnett, but I didn't mind him in this. It's a bit of a step down from some of the stuff he's been doing lately I guess, but let's remember his debut was Halloween 7.
And the vampires were pretty cool. Okay, I laughed at them a little bit (anybody who walks around with their mouth open hissing deserves to be made fun of at least a little), but they were weird. They sort of had their own thing going on. They weren't human at all, and they were a nice mix of the gothic type vampire and the dirty nasty street vampire.
Anyway, there's a fairly sizable cliché infestation in there, particularly towards the end (hey, let's save the kid!), but it's not distracting enough to really bother me. I mean, I could have thought up a better way to end the thing (everybody dies; everybody dies except Josh Hartnett, who joins up with the vampires; everybody dies except Josh Hartnett and one of the vampires, who both end up stranded in the middle of nowhere). The ending they have just seems like it's supposed to be cool - they had an ending in mind but didn't quite know how to get there.
Whatever. Not a problem. The whole thing is creepy and weird and vaguely disturbing. They had some pretty great shit in there, and a decent portion of gore. It actually sort of manages to go halfway between the subdued quiet more thriller side of things and the all out gory zombie movie.
Anyway, by far the most amusing thing in the movie was Ben Foster as 'The Stranger', the Renfield character, totally over the top, with some weird accent (cajun, apparently. I'll buy that). Boff, man (what the hell does boff mean? I don't know, I read it in a book).
Yeah, good vampire movie. Better than Underworld anyway. Not scary, but pretty weird. I'm kind of tempted to read the comic.