Reed Alexander's Horror Review of '30 Days of Night' (2007)
A worthy adaptation from great source material
Here's an example of a movie that just did everything right. Should I start with spoilers? I feel like everyone knows what this movie is about. I mean it's right there on the movie poster. There's also the source material which is even more famous than the actual movie. But the movie goes out of its way to treat it like a secret, and even does a big reveal regardless of the fact we all know what's going on.
This is my favorite kind of vampire movie. No sparkling, no glamor, they're not even sexy, they're just monsters. Intelligent, vicious, killers, devoid of any morals. These are top predators and humans are the meal. There is a brutal casual cruelty to them that is just fucking evil. Because of that, this movie has one of my all-time favorite scenes in it.
God? No God.
That is just fucking brutal. It's what makes this movie so damn good. These vampires play with their food like orca tenderizing a seal by beating the crap out of them. It looks like it's just purely for fun.
But like I said, this movie does everything right. The acting, while a little hammy at times, is actually pretty good. Better than you'd expect for horror. The main character, Eben, played by Josh Hartnett, was actually the worst actor in the bunch. I'm not sure how he landed the lead role but it's fine. He does good enough while everyone else does amazing.
The atmosphere. OH MY GOD THE FUCKING ATMOSPHERE. It's every bit as good as John Carpenter's The Thing (1982), which we all know is my second favorite movie of all time. The isolation, the dead buildings, the unrelenting darkness. The Arctic, mid winter, is just one of the best settings for horror. It's so damning. The environment is just as likely to kill you as the vampires.
The plot is also pretty clever, but that credit goes more to Steve Niles, the writer of the graphic novel. But, c'mon, vampires waiting for the sunless month to just wholesale slaughter an Arctic village? That's just fucking clever. The vampires don't have to worry about the sun for a month, which is their primary weakness.
I will say this, these vampires were designed pretty squishy. In a lot of movies, the vampire can't even be harmed by anything other than sunlight or a steak through the heart. These ones can be killed if you just do enough damage to them. Shotgun blast to the head and they're not getting back up. Sure, they're super strong and super fast, but that's almost a fair fight compared to other vampire mythos. They basically have to take the town by surprise to ensure their success.
One thing about this that I found kinda weird is just how squishy they made the vampires. One gets a blast of UV radiation to the face, and while it leaves her pretty badly burnt, it seemed survivable. But the head vampire has to do a mercy killing I guess because she was already dying.
There was also a pretty annoying McGuffin with legs. An elderly character with dementia who only exists to put the rest of the survivors in danger. I don't necessarily disagree with this McGuffin, but it was annoying as shit and to be honest, the fact that the old dude survived the initial attack is a huge stretch. I really can't see how he would have survived it.
I have to say the ending is a little milquetoast. Ending it with the male lead cuddling the female lead, when he should be fighting the urge to rip her throat out just doesn't have any balls. It would make way more sense if he loses control and she's forced to kill him. Also, it doesn't really make sense that the rest of the vampires just give up and leave at that point. I get that he killed their leader, but... so fucking what. They're vampires. They'd probably just murder the survivors anyway.
But you know what? This movie doesn't get enough credit. It's really quite brilliant and came out during one of the worst decades in horror. It deserves more praise and recognition than it gets, and you should watch it.
About the Creator
I'm the foulmouthed horror movie critic. I post new reviews every Sunday, so stay tuned =D
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