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Overall Rating
2.67

Awesome: 0%
Worth A Look: 0%
Average66.67%
Pretty Bad: 33.33%
Total Crap: 0%

1 review, 3 user ratings



30 Days of Night: Dark Days
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by brianorndorf

"Hartnett's loss, our gain"
3 stars

“30 Days of Night: Dark Days” has little in the way of a budget, electing the DTV route to give fans a further glimpse into a macabre comic book world, created by writer Steve Niles and illustrator Ben Templesmith. Despite the lack of coin, the sequel is an engaging diversion, making the most out of its limited resources, boosted by a capable cast and some nifty make-up effects. In fact, it’s a more satisfying bloodsucker yarn than the 2007 original, which never mustered much excitement, despite an ample budget to bring it to life. “Dark Days” may not have the polish, but it has a few effective tricks to hold focus.

After her harrowing experience surviving a vampire attack in Barrow, Alaska, Stella Oleson (Kiele Sanchez) has hit the tour circuit, hoping to spread word of the invasion while facing a doubting public. In Los Angeles, Stella is confronted by a group of hunters, led by Paul (Rhys Coiro), who need her help to bring down vampire goddess Lilith (Mia Kirshner) and her loyal army of the undead. Initially reluctant, especially after learning a vamp named Dane (Ben Cotton) is a part of the squad, Stella soon joins the fight, heading into the bowels of the city in an effort to thwart Lilith’s new plan for extended feeding, revealing sinister magic that helps to reanimate fallen soldiers.

Also derived from a comic book release, “Dark Days” dials down the widescreen scope of the 2007 picture, permitted a budget that demands a more modest imagining of the war between humans and vampires. Of course, there’s disappointment in the new financial direction, considering so much of the previous film was wasted on fully funded bad ideas.

Mercifully, “Dark Days” screenwriters Niles and Ben Ketai (who also directs) have provided a finer edge to the action, pursuing a tone of revenge as Stella receives a shot to stamp out the vampire plague. It’s not an extraordinary piece of scripting, electing a puzzlingly mournful tone that holds back the merriment of monster hunting, verbalizing the misery instead of reveling in it through meticulous visual composition. The drone of the dialogue blunts the sting of the story, but a few of the performances find the right tone, with laudable supporting turns from Harold Perrineau and Diora Baird as Paul’s fellow enforcers.

Once the film moves past exposition and into bat country, “Dark Days” ramps up the fear factor, kicking off a series of encounters that take advantage of all the low-budget location clichés (warehouses, ships, industrial hallways). Heavily armed and ready for a fight, our heroes proceed to blast their way into the vampire hive, creating a few hearty sequences of splattery chaos. Criminally, Ketai elects to mimic original director David Slade’s infuriating obsession with shaky-cam, slamming the camera and lights around to create a blizzard of violence. Suspense is never achieved, but there are glimpses of gore that retain their intended punch. The last thing any burgeoning filmmaker should be doing is miming one of Hollywood’s most irritating thumbsuckers, but the jerky stuff is only a small part of the show, with Ketai showing some care with the down time, including an unexpectedly sensual encounter between Stella and Paul.

Perhaps a future in a “Red Shoe Diaries” revival is in store for the director.

“Dark Days” is small time, but reasonably effective. Trading Danny Huston for Mia Kirshner as vampire royalty is a welcome development, along with a macabre “Pet Semetary” style closer that either promises more disturbing events to come or provides startling finality. At the very least, the sequel sniffs out a more intriguing core to the “30 Days of Night” mythos, trading bitter cold and barren locations for a more centered, indoor DTV punch.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=21508&reviewer=404
originally posted: 10/01/10 22:54:20
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: Fantastic Fest 2010 For more in the Fantastic Fest 2010 series, click here.

User Comments

1/14/12 Dickhead Joe No. Just no 2 stars
10/29/10 Debra DeLeone An unusual vampire movie: a kind of what if. 2 stars
9/27/10 Pearlhead Meh. Subpar sequel to the original cult hit. Don't expect much. 2 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  N/A (R)
  DVD: 05-Oct-2010

UK
  11-Oct-2010 (18)

Australia
  N/A (MA)
  DVD: 05-Oct-2010


Directed by
  Ben Ketai

Written by
  Steve Niles
  Ben Ketai

Cast
  Kiele Sanchez
  Mia Kirshner
  Diora Baird
  Harold Perrineau
  Rhys Coiro
  Monique Ganderton



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