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Overall Rating
2.6

Awesome: 9.59%
Worth A Look: 26.03%
Just Average: 10.96%
Pretty Crappy: 21.92%
Sucks31.51%

5 reviews, 43 user ratings


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30 Days of Night
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by Erik Childress

"Thankfully Not A Shyamalan Marathon, But Still Disappointing"
2 stars

It seems like only yesterday (and every day before it) that my comic book savant friend was ringing my ears about this vampire comic they keep talking about making into a movie. You know one of those laws bloodsuckers have about staying out of the sunlight? What if they were to finally get the bright idea of traveling to a location where it was night all the time? Maybe comic writer Steve Niles saw one of the versions of Insomnia and flipped the switch from light to the dark. A reasonably intriguing idea since any inhabitants of such an area wouldnít have that usual safety net of the sunrise to survive. Great setup for a horrifying scenario. So what happens next? Yeah, OK, so the remaining survivors huddle together. A few get bitten and turn. Some splatter kills in-between. Remind me again of what exactly is ďgroundbreakingĒ about this.

Pic begins reasonably well as night is looming on the town of Barrow, Alaska for the titular thirty days. Families are separating, many leaving town and Sheriff Eben Olemaun (Josh Hartnett) is one of those remaining behind to make sure the peace is kept. Aside from the occasional automobile leakage ticket, Barrow already has a rather select group of neighborly law-abiders in the wintry community. Less friendly is the parting relationship between Eben and ex-wife/fellow officer Stella (Melissa George) who thanks to a freak accident misses the last plane out so they can rekindle their feelings through the requisite crisis. Aside from his partner (who disappears for the entire middle section), Eben has his teenage brother and grandma manning the station just in time for their first prisoner of the monthly dark haul.

A crazy little Ben Foster-type known as The Stranger (played byÖBen Foster) causes a little ruckus over a tar-tar request at the diner and begins heeding the coming of some folks he knows, expecting some reward for doing their bidding. Soon all hell begins to break loose with the vamps doing their thing of crashing through windows and picking up prospective meals. Their leader is Marlow (Danny Huston) and you know they are bad-ass since itís the only film Huston isnít perpetually smiling throughout. Once the humans understand what theyíre dealing with, after the requisite ďvampires donít existĒ line, they huddle together, a few get bitten and some get splattered. Expecting something more?

Yeah, so was I frankly. Once you get through the premise and accept the horror of the first onslaught (presented nicely in an unbroken overhead shot), this is a game of survival and a marathon one at that but with the urgency of a sprint. What steps do they take to secure their location? From what we can see, the answer is none. They are just playing hide and seek and have happened to stumble upon the greatest hiding place in a town that makes Deadwood look like Chicago. And who needs such a prime spot when the vamps would rather draw them out than do any actual seeking. Days and days go by with the characters looking no worse for where and an exercise increasingly looking like the greatest waste of time for beings of an all-powerful nature.

Granted, in eternityís time a month is like thirty seconds to you and I but itís impossible not to wonder just a little more about their vampiric intentions. Their fearless leader comments how they should of thought of this idea a long time ago. Right away Ė not the brightest bunch of immortals. Benefit of the doubt that Barlow may not be the most pronounced habitat on the map, they still have an easy smorgasbord awaiting them. Whatís that initial pig-out is over though, precisely how long would you want to wait around for the scraps? You donít sit there waiting to find out tomorrowís special-of-the-day, you go to another restaurant. Does a day go by when they donít feed? Dissent may not be in the cards for fear of some un-patriotism amongst their kind, but shouldnít there be a sense of urgency and growing anger at having to put extra effort into their hunt? If not, then the vamps are just here on vacation; resting from a life spent either killing or hiding. Just donít expect any Anne Rice-ian contemplation for their existence here.

The vampires really arenít that interesting aside from the constant shrieking absent from this yearís Body Snatchers updating, The Invasion. They just stand around drooling with their mouths open to show their nasty teeth and speak in a foreign dialect suggesting long travels. The adaptation by Steve Niles, Stuart Bettie & Brian Nelson does them no favors by establishing their preparation for the attack only to be revealed as so inexplicable you have to wonder why all the early mystery. Eben finds a collection of burned cell phones outside the town. Immediately we grasp the ploy to cut off all communication from the town. But who stole them and how? How come no one has realized their cell is missing and why, two scenes later (if that), does Stella produce her phone? Did they miss her? Knew her travel plans and figured why bother? I canít recall a single moment where someone makes a move to make outside contact aisde from discovering their police radio smashed up. If thatís the only communication device in town then WHY NAB ALL THE PHONES??? Even more infuriating is a scene where a group of dogs are knifed to death (one of several recollections of John Carpenterís The Thing.) Cars are left alone, but these idiot savamps figure they should ice the one group of sled dogs from the town. What a futile getaway that would have made since they establish these creatures can rundown and rip open a car thatís hauling ass. Think, people!

Does anyone really get scared reading a horror comic? Maybe thatís why Corey Haim in The Lost Boys didnít like them. Video games Iíve seen it happen, because like movies itís a visceral on top of a visual experience. The comic like any book has to create mood and stir the imagination for its scares, but after the first half-hour of the film, 30 Days of Night loses all momentum shedding fear for complacency. Itís quality kill factor is secondhand after Robert Rodriguezís Grindhouse feature, Planet Terror. Whatís most disappointing is that 30 Days has been given the big-screen treatment by David Slade who created the fabulously claustrophobic festival fave, Hard Candy. Heís gone from a single house to a full town, but the mounting tension he brought to the one-on-one battle in that film evaporates through a screenplay that never appreciates the sense of hopelessness its characters are up against. A major shame since the last people you want to develop an appreciation of hopelessness are fans of the comic book.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=16768&reviewer=198
originally posted: 10/19/07 00:00:00
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User Comments

9/21/17 morris campbell tense & grisly story is thin though 4 stars
5/08/14 Freddy Not bad but script inanities ruin the flow 3 stars
1/20/13 dmasz91 very good for a horror film, i'd watch it again. 5 stars
1/11/12 Matthew Thompson Dalldorf How do Brian Nelson and Dave Slade keep getting work? 2 stars
10/12/11 t. true Worst vampire movie ever made, barring none. Run away screaming. 1 stars
11/30/10 mr.mike Wasn't that good. 3 stars
10/12/10 Josie Cotton is a goddess By the director of 'Hard Candy,' so it obviously could have been worse. 2 stars
6/17/10 art 30 days of night makes you forget what the hell's it's name o TWILIGHT! 4 stars
9/14/09 MP Bartley Some tension and the central concept is good, but falls apart by the end. 3 stars
5/19/09 art THIS{30 DAYS OF NIGHT} BURIES THAT TWILIGHT. 3 stars
1/05/09 Peter North excellent horror movie....no boner salute..... 5 stars
12/01/08 mark total crap. Boring. If you like Scary, it's not scary enough, gruesome, not gruesome enou 1 stars
10/20/08 Monster A Go-Go Very interesting-great concept-disappointing ending, but it had bite! Good job. 4 stars
9/23/08 PAUL SHORTT VIOLENT, GRUESOME AND NOT VERY SCARY 1 stars
7/23/08 chris f boring wish i hadnt wasted my time watching this crap 1 stars
4/17/08 Pete Chesworth very good film but pity about the naff ending though where did they go to 4 stars
3/03/08 JLH Not bad. 3 stars
3/01/08 Larry M. Don't think and you will enjoy. 2 stars
2/29/08 othree Great scencey, blood & snow, all the trappings, suck finished off movie, too bad. 2 stars
2/18/08 Servo Very dissapointing, some nice gore and the scene where the town gets invaded and thats it. 2 stars
2/07/08 Mark Dumb vampires...even DUMBER townsfolk! 2 stars
12/12/07 William Goss Derivative, although w/ no shortage of gore, a sleeker sheen than most. Vampire lines reek. 4 stars
12/05/07 Bnorm I didnt like it;decent enough action though. The Vampires were stupid lookin 2 stars
12/05/07 eeli fantastic vampire carnage, one of the best horror movies ever 5 stars
11/28/07 Vagile Waste of a fantastic concept 1 stars
11/13/07 Curtis M NO Substance, NOT scary... CRAP effects. Two hours that I would really like back..... 1 stars
10/28/07 Geoff Chapman Didn't live up to its substantial potential. Wasn't scary 3 stars
10/24/07 matthew decent, but thoroughly predictable 4 stars
10/24/07 jazz eternal Because they know what I say is true and you're a no-taste having underwear stain. 1 stars
10/23/07 jazz returns It's no question that he's a faggot...with bad taste in film. 1 stars
10/23/07 Ivana Mann Lukewarm movie-not bad, not good. At least cool vampire make-up effects. 3 stars
10/23/07 jazz again Yeah, and you stick to your little lame ass faggot vampire movies that aren't scary, Twat. 1 stars
10/23/07 derek you're right ludicous, my bad. 5 stars
10/22/07 derek again hey jazz, stick with steel magnolias you pussy. 5 stars
10/21/07 AJ Muller It's really good, but you gotta call out Carpenter? Fuck you, Gonsalves. Seriously. 4 stars
10/21/07 Anthony G Enough with the shaky cam you no-talent hack! 2 stars
10/21/07 Notsocynical As I recall the grocery store WAS attacked. Did you even watch the movie? 3 stars
10/21/07 DonnyM I hated it. Bad Director Bad Script. Josh Harnet as the action hero. Har har. 2 stars
10/21/07 jazz Lame movie. If you saw it and liked it, you're an idiot. 1 stars
10/19/07 derek dettloff great movie. if you saw it and didn't like it, you're crazy. 5 stars
10/19/07 mike I went in excited and left disappointed. the ending was super dumb. honestly 0.5 out of 10 1 stars
10/19/07 Ole Man Bourbon 2 Hours of Shite 2 stars
10/19/07 IAMVPIRE HELL OF A RIDE!!!! 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  19-Oct-2007 (R)
  DVD: 19-Feb-2008

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