Tuesday, February 26, 2008

30 Days of Night : Movie Review

Director - David Slade (Hard Candy)
Starring Josh Hartnett, Melissa George, Ben Foster, Danny Huston, Nathaniel Lees and a whole lot of other Kiwi actors
Synopsis - Sherrif Eben Oleson (Hartnett) is preparing to batten down the hatches in Barrow, Alaska, for the annual 30 days in winter that sees no sun. As darkness descends on the town, so does a pack of bloodthirsty vampires, and a small group of survivors must try and stay alive.
Rating (out of 5) = ★★ Blood. Loooots of blood. On the snow. What more can I say? Spoilers abound in this review, so read no further if you don't want to know what happens.

Josh Hartnett plays Eben Oleson, Sherrif of a small town in north Alaska called Barrow which spends 30 days of winter in complete darkness due to its proximity to the North Pole. Its at this time of year that some vampires float in from fuck knows where and pretty much slaughter everyone. It leaves a small group of survivors, hiding wherever they can, struggling to survive surrounded by predators.

Positives - There are lots of gory shots of dismemberment, blood pouring out of bodies onto the white snow, and general mayhem. Its shot rather well to show the tempo of certain scenes - like when the town is first attacked and the vampires run amok. With an overhead look-down perspective showing people running, shooting, being killed, blood all over the snow in big pools, it conveys the chaos of the whole scene rather well.
There are a few cool action scenes, especially the one with the back hoe with ditch digger attachment chopping vamp's in half - wicked. Head shots, body shots, axe attacks - all filmed rather well in most scenes.
It also conveyed the cold well in some scenes - not so in others, but the vampires looked very alien and emotionless which I liked also.

Negatives - Not sure what the exact problem was but some of the scenes did not flow very well. I put it down to the acting being a bit hammy from some of the lesser characters, but it also stems in part that some people just cant shake their accent or their type casting. Many of the bit parters were Kiwi's, and they lapsed into the native tongue a few too many times to ignore.
Some parts seemed badly edited and seemed tacked together haphazardly. The death of the beardy weirdy was all too short, and almost glossed over for how it was supposed to affect the characters. That scene just didn't make much sense and didn't flow at all. There were a few more like that as well and they stuck out badly enough that the viewer is left puzzling over what the hell is going on.

The storyline was a neat concept, and it was a one of the few times when a graphic novel has been translated rather well into a movie. But considering this was a movie script before it was a graphic novel, that may have helped. Apparently the writer Steve Niles wrote the script, couldn't sell it to Hollywood, made it a graphic novel, and then it was picked up by Colombia Pictures. Oh well, whatever works I suppose. I have read in other places that the comic left a bit to be desired and the movie is far better.

All in all, not bad - I was interested enough to watch it to the end, but I won't be buying this one for the old DVD, or should I say, Blue Ray collection. 2/5 from me.

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