When the success of the Twilight franchise precipitated a swarm of mediocre, over-eroticized vampire novels and cinematic adaptations of these, the vampire trend was officially a thing. Before that, vampire films had been mainly limited to the horror genre for a long period - as far as my limited knowledge of film history goes. 30 Days of Night was released one year before the first Twilight movie and hence its vampires are ugly brutes that want nothing but to kill and feed. Which is a nice exception from the mass these days...
Set in Barrow, the northernmost town in the US, the film takes place during the 30 days of darkness that the inhabitants of the town experience every year. While the sun never sets, the vampires are free to roam Barrow day and night and leave behind them a trail of destruction.
I haven't seen World War Z but the zombies in the trailer remind me a lot of the vampires in 30 Days of Night. As mentioned, the vampires are rather ugly but never truly intimidating unless you're a 12 year old or not accustomed to horror films. The super-speed is nowhere near the action-pumped version we've seen in Man of Steel or the artistic interpretation from Only Lovers Left Alive. However, it feels like the technique brought CGI one step closer to creating a believable and intimidating depiction of fast vampires. Interestingly, 30 Days of Night includes some pretty realistic CGI fire - and we all know how rare that is.
The acting is solid and so is the plot - there are only few scares and quite a few obvious jump scares and horror traits. For example, the vampire children are used as a means to shock both the audience and the characters, but like most other twists or happenings in the film, it doesn't really surprise you. Still, the Alaskan setting works well as an extra underlying fear, much like the Antarctic setting worked in The Thing. Just the idea of 30 days without sun is unnatural and scary.
30 Days of Night is a decent horror film although its monsters aren't actually very scary. While most horror fans won't be scared, they might enjoy the unusual setting and the straight-forward premise - scaredy cats are sure to jump more than a few times though. In the end, it's a perfect film to watch with a group of friends that is a mixture of both.
SPECIAL ALASKATHON MOVIE BREAKDOWN
How capturing/ engaging/ interesting is the film? (out of 5 northern lights)
How gorgeous does the film - or the Alaska in it - look? (out of 5x Timothy Treadwell's hair)
How much does the film itself make you want to go to Alaska? (out of 5 sledges)
30 DAYS OF NIGHT
2007 • USA/ New Zealand • English
director David Slade
authors Steve Niles, Stuart Beattie, Brian Nelson
★ Josh Hartnett, Melissa George, Danny Huston