Movie Review by Debbie Winkler
Starring: Josh Hartnett, Melissa George, Danny Huston, Mark Rendall, Manu Bennett
Director: David Slade
Series: 30 Days of Night Movie #1
Release Date: 19 October 2007
Length: 113 minutes
Movie Rating: R
View Format: TV
My Rating: 3.25/5 stars
“When a monthlong period of darkness sets in on the tiny Alaskan town of Barrow, the locals are visited by a flock of bloodthirsty vampires who are eager to take advantage of the no-sun zone, prompting the town sheriff (Josh Hartnett) to act fast to save the day. Melissa George, Ben Foster and Danny Huston co-star in this horror offering from producer Sam Raimi based on the popular comic book miniseries by Steve Niles.” — Netflix.com
I was pleasantly surprised by how good this movie was. I had very low expectations, though, so maybe that influenced my higher rating. I thought the main plotline was pretty ingenious – why wouldn’t the vampires want to go up to Alaska in the wintertime where they can be out almost all day and night? What a great idea! By selecting the perfect time, they were able to have 30 days of uninterrupted fun. So the premise made sense to me, but the execution did not really make that much sense. The vampires seemed to have no real plan in mind – just go into the town, grab whoever you can and feast. Why wouldn’t you pull one or two people at a time and keep the food supply flowing? Why gorge yourself so completely at the beginning that there was really nothing left at the end? I guess the vampires were supposedly keeping some humans hostage while they waited to feed, but it would have taken a lot less time and maintenance to leave the humans in their homes until the vampires were ready to eat. They also were not going to turn any of the humans into vampires, but they seemed to do this by mistake quite a lot. Also, the human-to-vampire transformation happened within a minute or so and I just don’t believe that it would be that fast. Anyway, I didn’t believe the details in the movie, but I liked the idea that they were going for.
The director (David Slade) was successful in making me care about the core group of survivors. I was definitely rooting for them to “win” even though there would be no way that they would come out of the experience whole as they had to kill friends, family members and fight every single day for survival. Josh Hartnett was really good in his role as the small-town sheriff and, even though the role did not demand too much from him acting-wise, he was still worth watching – and looking cute, too! Melissa George was a strong, independent woman who made some stupid mistakes and cost quite a few people their lives, but I still liked her and thought she was a good casting choice. The secondary characters in the movie were the best, though, as the town was full of some pretty interesting characters, which totally made sense given where they live and how tough life is there.
I was absolutely stunned by the ending of the movie as I had no idea what direction they were going to take it in so brace yourself for a huge surprise about 15 minutes from the end. The choices made fit within the context of the characters’ personalities so I could see something like that happening, but I was caught completely off guard. I guess there was no real graceful way to end this movie so I knew about halfway through that I was going to be disappointed no matter what the ending was. I think that the ending made the average rating on this movie lower than it should have been as it is not a “happy” ending.
The special effects were quite good. The makeup on the vampires made them definitely seem less-than human and you could tell right away that they were villains. They also spoke in this guttural, scary sounding language (with super small captions on the TV so make sure you have your glasses handy) that helped you remember most of these vampires had been alive for a really long time. The fighting sequences between the vampires and humans were pretty intense and I had to turn away a few times as they were just a touch too scary for me. The vampires are fast, can jump high and bullets don’t slow them down at all. The humans had to be very creative to find any ways to injure them or kill the vampires so it was interesting to see what they came up with. All in all a worthwhile horror film to catch on TV or rent on a dark, scary night.
This movie features a lot of blood, gory sequences, death, dying, violence, fighting, and lots of scary scenes. There is also some strong language, a rather disturbing child vampire, and almost everything happens in the dark. Recommended for ages 18 and up.