Vampires have never been my preference. Sure, I enjoyed Bram Stoker’s Dracula, the first From Dusk ‘Til Dawn, and Blade, but I’ve never been lost in the mystique of the vampire as some people have.
That’s why it took me so long to watch 30 Days of Night.
Vampires, themselves, run the range from animals only looking to sate their hunger to lonely, sophisticated immortals who are to be pitied as much as feared. 30 Days of Night is about the former type more than the latter, but not as much as I was initially led to believe.
The movie starts in a remote Alaskan town, on the last day of sunlight. This alone is an incredible idea I can’t believe nobody has thought of before.
It makes perfect sense that such a dedicated nocturnal predator would thrive in a part of the world where the sun literally disappears for a month or more at a time. A stranger wanders in and sets the stage for the invasion, destroying satellite phones and killing sled dogs.
The stranger is caught stirring things up at the local bar by the sheriff, Ebon Oleson, played by Josh Hartnett (The Faculty, Pearl Harbor), where he gives them a chilling warning. “They’re coming.”
In the first attack on the edge of town, the radio tower is destroyed. Then the blood begins to flow in earnest as people are dragged screaming from their homes and torn apart, one after another.
As the sheriff and his estranged wife piece things together, they grab a small group of survivors and hole up in a dark, hidden attic. We also meet the vampire’s leader, played by Danny Huston (X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Wonder Woman), and we see these aren’t simply animal-type vampires, although they only talk to each other in guttural grunts and screams.
Then we jump to seven days later.
Yeah. I didn’t really expect them to show all 30 days on screen, but it wasn’t something I thought about until those words flashed across the screen, either.
The vampires have already all but killed the rest of the town, save for a few stragglers they push out into the street as bait for other survivors. A few more deaths, and the remaining people move from the attic to the grocery store, under the cover of swirling snow.
The remaining survivors make a run to the police station while Ebon creates a diversion. It works and he rejoins the others.
So the movie goes until the end, bouncing from hiding place to hiding place. Occasionally losing another human or killing a vampire. Until the final climactic battle.
With the town burning and the survivors down to Ebon, his ex, his little brother, and a few others, the hero makes the dramatic self-sacrifice of injecting himself with vampire blood to gain their strength while he goes out and challenges their leader in bloody hand-to-hand combat. He wins, and he and his ex watch the sun rise on the 31st day, where he crumbles to ash in her arms.
As far as vicious, monstrous vampires go, this is a pretty damn good movie. It wasn’t quite what I was expecting, and it has a fair few of the vampiric cliches to it, but those are more personal issues.
All the actors do well in their respective roles and the cinematography is excellent, even if nothing really stands out.
That’s really my biggest problem with the movie. I remember it getting a lot of hype when it was first released, and there’s really nothing about it that stands out.
30 Days of Night isn’t a bad movie by any means, but don’t expect to be sleeping with the lights on. Just grab some popcorn and sit back for a fun ride, and you’ll be good to go.
Check back next week when iHorror author Kelly McNeely checks out the movie Prom Night!