30 Days of Night (2007)
30 Days of Night (2007)

Genre: Horror Running Time: 1 hr. 53 min.

Release Date: October 19th, 2007 MPAA Rating: R

Director: David Slade Actors: Josh Hartnett, Melissa George, Danny Huston, Ben Foster, Mark Rendall, Amber Sainsbury, Manu Bennett, Megan Franich

 


 

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inister, macabre, and unrelentingly violent, “30 Days of Night” is the best vampire movie – and, likely, best horror movie in general – to be unleashed upon audiences this year. As paranoia and dread gradually give way to full-blown terror, the audience is never given a moment to catch their breath. No one is safe and seldom does a sliver of hope surface in the scenarios of rapidly diminishing escape or cornered prey seeking improbable salvation. Though the story grounds itself in preconceived vampire mythos, the visuals do not, generating a masterpiece of bloody chaos and revealing a level of vicious imagery that fans of the genre (as well as the original graphic novel) should wholeheartedly embrace.

In Barrow, the northernmost city of Alaska, once a year during the winter, the sun disappears for 30 days. Isolated by 80 miles of ice and snow, the population must extensively prepare for the lightless month. But a group of blood-starved vampires have made their way into the shadowy environs of Barrow to feast on the townsfolk, hoping to satisfy their feeding frenzy during the uninterrupted darkness. Quickly killing off the majority of citizens, the vampires strategically hunt for a small group of remaining holdouts, led by Eben Oleson (Josh Hartnett) and his wife Stella (Melissa George), who must stave off attacks during the petrifying 30 days of night.

It’s refreshing to see a vampire film that doesn’t shy away from violence and that doesn’t dwell on anything that can be even remotely construed as hokey. A new cinematic invention, “30 Days of Night’s” antagonists are ultra scary, with their deformed appearances and their unshakeable mercilessness. They speak in their own demonic language and have super human strength and speed, making them a Michael Myers-fashioned juggernaut, but without the convenient ability to vanish or stumble or miss their target. High-pitched shrieks, crimson-soaked visages, and razor-sharp fingernails complete a frightening design for a formidable foe.

The character designs are not just notable for the vampires, but also for Eben and Stella, who are excellently portrayed by Hartnett and George. “30 Days of Night” manages to transcend its prominent, savage vampire killing sprees with underlying messages about sacrifice, protecting loved ones, and heroism. Particularly powerful scenes continually arise as the struggling survivors are forced to cede to unbearable situations to ensure the wellbeing of others. Eben, too, must make difficult choices to provide leadership for the group and to preserve his fragile relationship with his wife. While it’s difficult to judge authentic reactions to a vampire outbreak, the characters all perform honestly and emotionally to every event, perhaps even as convincingly as if set in a romantic melodrama.

From beheadings to animal slaughters to the dispatching of children to maniacal misuse of a snow plow, “30 Days of Night” douses its audience in a wealth of carnage and suspense. And it’s of the caliber that never lets up until the climactic showdown. Few features are so white-knuckle thrilling and jaw-dropping shocking from start to finish, in the horror genre or any other.

– The Massie Twins

  • 8/10