30 Days of Night: C+
Based on a fantastic comic book series of the same name, this film follows a small band of human survivors trying desperately to avoid being eaten by really mean vampires in Alaska.
The really mean vampires come to this little town in Alaska at a time of year when winter plunges the town into 30 days of darkness so they can just walk around like OMG IDGAF #nighttime. They execute a coordinated assault that effectively strands the fuck out of a bunch of regular people in town and cuts off their lines of communication to the outside world.
I thought all this was really clever. No matter how powerful vampires are, they have always had two huge problems: they have to be careful whom they kill so as to avoid detection, and they are only active at night. This movie circumvents these traditional vulnerabilities which means big trouble for all non-undead characters.
The vampires move really fast, wear all black, and speak in a mean sounding vampire language. They look pretty cool, sort of a cross between Ukrainian mobsters and feral gremlins. They all wear peacoats but still look tough (unlike some vampires).
The movie doesn’t get very “deep” but there’s this one scene where the vampire leader puts his nasty fingernail on a record that’s spinning on a phonograph and the distorted sound that comes out makes all the surrounding vampires orgasm and giggle and I guess it symbolizes how they don’t have to hide and be quiet anymore. The leader’s name is Marlow who is probably based on Barlow from Salem’s Lot, who was for sure based on Dracula.
Once the vampires establish their dominance and strand themselves some humans, the movie turns into Diary of Anne Frank meets Dawn of the Dead. All the people have to hide for their lives and the vampires patrol around killing everyone. It is a cat-and-mouse movie with jump scares and a fresh fatality sacrificed to every new predicament.
The color palette of the movie echoes that of Underworld; it’s all grays and one shade of bright red. There is snow everywhere, so the gore that sprays from various characters’ arteries stands out that much more.
Josh Hartnett is in it and he spends the whole movie hiding in attics, running, and being really upset about the mean vampire onslaught. Some people turn into vampires and there is a cool scene where someone is fed into this industrial machinery and they get ground up like hamburger. The make-up is well done and there is some decent gore.
It’s a cool enough vampire flick that lets the vampires go wild if you are in the mood for that sort of thing.