Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|30 Days Of Night |
Actors: Jr. Mark Boone, Joel Tobeck, Danny Huston, Elizabeth Hawthorne, Nathaniel Lees
Director: David Slade
Genres: Mystery & Suspense
Josh Harnett (Black Dahlia, Pearl Harbor) crosses over to the dark side in this bone-chilling adaptation of the cult-hit graphic novel, brought to the screen in all its demonic glory. In a small Alaskan town, thirty days o... more »
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A good but flawed adaptation
A. Sandoc | San Pablo, California United States | 10/24/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"30 Days of Night is pretty much a siege movie with heavy elements of horror and gore. Siege movies always succeed and fail depending on whether the tension and dread built up from the beginning of the film suspends the audience's disbelief. Siege films like The Thing and Romero's Living Dead trilogy works well because right from the get-go we see the tension build not just on the location the cast are put in but within the besieged survivors as well. Survival becomes that much more difficult due to human frailties and an inability to work together bringing the whole group down. The monsters outside are bad enough, but sometimes it's the survivors themselves who must share the blame.
David Slade's (director) movie does a very good job of bringing the initial tension and dread the comic brought to life in its first chapter. The story takes place in Barrow, Alaska which happens to be located within the Arctic Circle as to allow it a very peculiar yearly event of having pitch-black night which lasts for a period of an entire month. The movie begins just as the town of Barrow prepares for this month-long prolonged night. Most of the town decide to move down south for the month where the night doesn't last as long, but enough stay in Barrow to give it a semblance of life and activity.
The build-up of the characters in 30 Days of Night marks one of the weaknesses in the film. There's barely much characterization in distinguishing one Barrow, Alaskan from another. The lack in character development from all the characters whether human or vampire doesn't invest the film with anyone we want to see make it out through the night and into dawn. Even Danny Huston, a very underrated and overly capable actor in past films, fails to elevate his lead vampire character Marlowe beyond it's genre trappings. Known only as The Stranger in the credits, Ben Foster's Renfield-like character edges between caricature and genuine creepiness in his performance. Foster knows he's in a genre movie and has fun with the character. He's the only one to truly take on his character and roll with it.
I now get to the subject of the vampires themselves. Most vampire movies seem enamored in portraying the vampire as some sort of seductive, fashion-obsessed, or in the case of the Anne Rice-type anachronistic in their dress, with an unnatural immortality they either live as hedonistically as possible or bemoan their cursed existence. There's never been a true portrayal of the vampire as a pure, hunger-driven monster with an appetite to match their status as one of folklore and legend's top-tier boogeymen. Slade goes for speed and agility in his vampires instead of hypnotizing and mesmerizing their victims. The vampires in this movie owes much to the frenetic and over-amped infecteds of 28 Days Later.
The attack itself and the subsequent siege worked well enough in the early going. There were some great overhead shots of the town's people losing it's fight during the initial feeding frenzy as the camera shoots the scene high overhead. The only thing Slade had a misstep in terms of the siege itself was after those first couple of nights. The rest of the 30 days didn't seem to show enough desperation on the faces and bodies of the last few survivors. Really, the only way the audience even knew a couple weeks have passed were the caption telling them how many days into the month-long night has passed. I think with some better editing and a better sense of structure in the middle section of the movie to show time actually progressing the movie would've been many levels better.
All in all, 30 Days of Night was just good enough that I had a fun time watching it. The premise itself was original and put a new spin on the vampire genre that has rarely been tapped. The performances were pretty average with no one bringing the whole film down with a misstep performance or raising the bar with a great one. The final product had a chance to be something great, but just ends up being a good and original take on the vampire story with elements of Night of the Living Dead."
A Clever, Visceral and Atmospheric Vampire Horror thriller
Woopak | Where Dark Asian Knights Dwell | 10/20/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It's nearly Halloween, so I went to see a horror film today, so here I am ready to share my thoughts on the vampire horror-thriller "30 DAYS of NIGHT". The film is based on the graphic novel/mini-series by Steven Niles and Ben Templesmith. I like vampire movies in general, although I have to say that NOT all "vampire flicks" are created equal. Thankfully, I am happy to say that this film lives up to its promise, and has become one of my favorites.
An isolated small Alaskan town called "Barrow" with a population of 560+ experiences 30 days of total darkness. No sunlight will be seen for a period of a month, so most of the town's inhabitants leave for this period to brighter pastures except for the 152 townsfolk; of whom some one stated that " we live here because we can". On the last day of sunlight, unusual things start to occur; satellite phones are found destroyed, the aforementioned one emergency helicopter is damaged beyond repair, even snow dogs are killed. The town sheriff; Evan Oleson (Jason Hartnett) finds a filthy, bad-toothed drifter (Ben Foster) who seems to be a harbinger of the danger to come. No long, after, the town is under siege by band of inhuman creatures bent on killing everyone in sight...
30 DAYS OF NIGHT is a straight-forward vampire film. It doesn't waste much time setting things up with minor character development with Evan and Stella's (Melissa George) background; with their rocky marriage, characters are introduced quickly and how they are related to the town. Director David Slade goes to the throat with the intensity and apprehension of the screenplay as soon as the band of vampires (led by Danny Huston) makes their appearance. Instead of just going for all-out mayhem, he calculates each scenario and accompanies it with a heart-pounding atmosphere and emotion that builds up the suspense. He also uses silence as an effective strategy to set the film's eerie feel.
The usual rules to vampirism is applied; vulnerability to sunlight, super-human strength and can turn other humans into vampires. However, the band of vampires seems to have only one goal; to feed on human blood, nothing subtle, but FEED. Before their siege, the pack leader instructs his band to "rip everyone's head off and do not turn them..".The language of the vampires has that ancient-like tone but somewhat sound Germanic is a very nice touch. The vampires are grisly, inhuman-looking predators, not the "seductive" blood-suckers that have been the stereotype for many years. However beastly and savage the band may be, but they are far from being dumb; the vampire pack is intelligent and organized (much like wolves are organized). No mental control or shape-changing abilities are displayed, the vampires in this film are portrayed as hungry, vicious, shrieking, deformed beings who assault the sleepy town in a hellish attack.
The film is not perfect, it does have its shortcomings. It didn't explain why a very minor number of townsfolk have been turned by the vampires (even with the pack leader's instructions) or what rules do apply on how and when a human has been turned. There is something very downright creepy and unsettling in the proceedings; I think this may be the first time I've seen an eight-year-old child turned into a vampire. Also, there are minor weaknesses in the plot where the usual clichés are present; a panicky old man with his son, a fear-fraught man who makes a wrong decision with his family, and a scared teenager. All these factors cause problems for the lead characters. There were quite a lot of instances that I feel that an "extended director's cut" is coming for the DVD release. (I hope and wish for one).
Unfortunately, I haven't read any of the graphic novels (yet) so I cannot determine how faithful the film is to its roots. To the film's credit, the film does succeed on most vampire films have not. It did deliver an intense, grisly and a clever visceral thriller that hits the marks right and never stoops to wallowing in blood and gore alone. It showed a side of the human spirit about courage, the determination to protect its own, and the capability for sacrifice. A band of vampires attacking a small Alaskan town during a 30-day stretch should have been thought of sooner as Danny Huston said in the movie; "We should have come here years ago.".
The film's premise is MUCH more interesting than other films' overused plot with blood-suckers living among us and just preying on beautiful women. It is also a much needed break from the "torture" shows with unyielding psychopathic killers.
"30 DAYS OF NIGHT" is a vampire film with a rarity that achieves its potential. It is more a classic monster film than a contemporary horror movie.
RECOMMENDED! For horror fans..[4 stars]
30 Days of Night is about 30 minutes too long.
Steven Hedge | Somewhere "East of Eden" | 04/14/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"A clever new take on an old genre, but it is far longer than it needed to be which ended up making the graphic violence more mind-numbing than scary or intense.
Amazon did a fine job giving us a synopsis of the story wherein our most northern Alaskan community which suffers through 30 days of night is besieged by vampires. While this is a fun graphically violent, atmospheric, and generally well-acted horror flick, it really doesn't deserve much more from me than my hits and misses evaluation.
(1) Overly long by about 30 minutes. One becomes disconnected to the characters and plot after so much violence for such an extended period of time as the violence is rather repetitive in nature.
(2) Tissue paper thin plot even though it was a clever take on an old genre.
(3) Too many people wondering in and out from nowhere in what is supposed to be a very small isolated town.
(4) The lack of a real climax and any kind of satisfying resolution.
(5) A completely silly and nonsensical fight scene near the end that is supposed to be our climax, but is laughable, uninspiring, and just down right stupid.
(6) For all the cleverness of this film, the vampires are still reduced to simply screaming animals and often we just get these long shots of them doing just that. It seems endless and rather grating on the nerves after awhile.
(1) The film is very nicely acted by all involved making the characters seem real in a very unreal situation. That really helps a film in this genre.
(2) The camera work is exceptional and I'm not referring to special effects and make up which are very good, but rather the actual camera movement and angles which create atmosphere, tension, and genuine creepiness. The best shot of the entire film is a straight down shot from above as the legion of vampires literally massacre the town. It is absolutely bone-chilling.
(3) A clever concept that re-invigorates an old genre.
(4) The set designs are excellent and reminds one of John Carpenter's version of The Thing (Collector's Edition).
In the end, this film comes off as more style than substance and forgive the pun here, but it was overkill of a good idea. I think fans of this genre will love it for what it is and those with only a passing interest in vampire films may be less impressed. I liked it overall, but just felt disappointed when it was over as the film really lacked punch at the end which became confused, out of focus in its inept attempt to be climatic and heart wrenching at the same time.
Playing hide and seek with Vampires, who will win?
- Kasia S. | New York City | 04/13/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Creepy, eerie, scary and dark, this movie was surprisingly different from most Vampire movies; there are still sharp teeth involved and loss of blood but also many more heart stopping intense moments when the watcher forgets to take the next breath. I won't rehash the premise since everyone here did it so well, but basically a small town on the outskirts of Alaska is about to enter the infamous 30 days of night when the sun rays can't penetrate the dark clouds and snow doesn't seem to cease falling. It's a rough place to live when things are well and even worse when it suddenly falls under attack by a pack of powerful and hungry vampires.
The best parts was the hide and seeks games that the survivors had to play, the town sheriff, his ex wife, brother and few friends are on a run from house to house and trying to say alive till the sun comes back. Their only hope of survival is being chopped short each day that they hide and loose more members as the Vampires think of worse methods of setting up traps and picking them out one by one.
The movie was a little long but it had plenty of heart stopping moments, it made me worry about the characters and there was plenty of guts and gore for the horror lovers. The death scenes are not for the squeamish, this movie is pretty explicit but I found that it worked in perfectly with the creepy moments when nothing stirred; there was plenty of contrast between fighting and hiding. The ending was very interesting but I had my gripes with it, to say what it was would be spoiling something but I felt that one person's decision was unnecessary. Other than that I had a great time snuggled up in bed watching it, this was one of the few movies I watched today and it was very entertaining.
- Kasia S.