30 Days of Night ****
Barrow, Alaska – Northernmost town in the U.S. Isolated in 80 miles of roadless wilderness. Cut off every winter for 30 days of night. Town Sheriff Eben Olsen (Josh Hartnett) notices some strange occurrences during the last day of sun, cell phones burned, local dogs slain, the town helicopter sabotaged and his estranged wife Stella (Melissa George), the regional Fire Marshall, is stranded in town after missing the last flight out. Eben arrests a stranger (Ben Foster) after he’s aggressive in the local diner; the stranger informs him that “they’re coming” and that he’s a dead man.
The vampires then arrive for a feeding frenzy during the month long darkness. Led by Marlow (Danny Huston), these vampires aren’t sexy, seductive or cool; they’re vicious, brutal and single-minded. It only takes 17 minutes into the movie before the first attack, quickly followed by another and another on the helpless townsfolk “You just keep shooting and they just keep coming”
Eben, Stella and a small band of locals must survive for the next 30 days or perish at the hands of Marlow and his clan of vampires…
Written by Steve Niles from his graphic novel; Produced by Sam Raimi and Directed by David Slade. This movie has some solid credentials and doesn’t disappoint. The original source material has been followed quite closely; I’m a big fan of the graphic novel and Steve Niles has done a great job retaining the sense of dread and isolation. David Slade has done a fantastic job translating the story to the screen. His first feature, Hard Candy (2005) was an incredible debut and he’s followed it up with one of the better vampire movies of the last decade, and there have been a lot of them! Here he focuses on a gripping story of perseverance and survival against the odds; the characters are fleshed out as the movie progresses and their reactions are grounded with real emotions.
The cast are all solid; Josh Hartnett is the best he’s been as stoic Eben. Melissa George and Ben Foster are very good; however the movie belongs to Danny Huston wheneverhe’s on screen. As the lead vampire he’s incredibly menacing, intense and creepy.
The visuals are beautifully shot and the movie looks amazing; the setting and characters look and feel so cold and real. The movie makers haven’t shied away from bloody violence, the movie is filled with incredibly brutal attacks by the vampires. An original take through a well worn mythology that feels fresh. It is intense, violent, gory, action-packed and great fun.
Quality: 4 out of 5 stars
Any good: 4 out of 5 stars