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Overall Rating

Awesome: 9.59%
Worth A Look: 26.03%
Average: 10.96%
Pretty Bad: 21.92%
Total Crap31.51%

5 reviews, 43 user ratings

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30 Days of Night
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by EricDSnider

"This movie does not SUCK! (Get it? Because it has vampires.)"
4 stars

We've all been disappointed by lousy thrillers that had cool ideas but didn't know how to execute them. "30 Days of Night" is the rare horror film that actually lives up to its potential.

Based on a comic book mini-series by Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith, the film's premise is so ingeniously simple you'll wonder why you didn't think of it yourself: A band of vampires targets an isolated Alaska town where there's no sunlight for 30 days at a stretch. That's a lot better than movies about vampires who live in L.A., which makes no sense at all.

These bloodsuckers are smart, making sure to cut off electricity and communication, and to sabotage the local helicopter. Tiny towns like Barrow -- population 563, except during the dark month, when all but 152 of the stalwarts move to sunnier digs -- need a chopper because the nearest community is 80 miles away, and the road to it is often impassable. Everyone lives here because they like the cold and isolation. They live here because "nobody else can," as one character puts it.

We begin in the waning hours of the last day of sunlight as town sheriff Eben Oleson (Josh Hartnett) is scurrying from place to place, making sure the town is ready for the month-long night. His estranged wife, Stella (Melissa George), a state fire marshal, is in town on regulatory business but doesn't want to talk to him. When she finally calls him, it's only to ask for a ride to the tiny local airport before it closes for the night -- so he sends his trusty deputy to chauffeur her instead. Two can play at this game.

Strange things have already begun to happen outside of Eben and Stella's marriage. Someone stole a cache of satellite phones and burned them in a field. A group of sled dogs were murdered at a kennel. There was the aforementioned helicopter vandalism. The likely culprit for it all is a man referred to as The Stranger (Ben Foster), a filthy, rotten-toothed little weasel who isn't a local resident and smugly refuses to tell Eben anything about himself or his activities. He warns that dark things are a-comin', and it ain't just the 30 days of night.

The vampires -- vicious, malformed, shrieking devils who speak their own Germanic-sounding language and have a clear pack leader (Danny Huston) -- beset the village in a hellish attack. Most victims are killed, though a few are turned into vampires themselves. (The rules governing when and how that occurs are not clearly established.) Eben, Stella, and a band of survivors alternate between fighting, hiding, and running. Guns aren't very effective against the beasts, but Eben discovers that an ax can be.

And there you go. There's your vampire movie, uncomplicated, straightforward, suspenseful, and clever when it needs to be. I find it interesting that it was directed by David Slade, whose first film was "Hard Candy," a sexual-predator thriller that was all about tension and apprehension rather than actual on-screen mayhem. "30 Days of Night" gets a lot of mileage from that same type of thrill, particularly in the calculated way the scenario is set, and in the strategic use of silence. Much of the film is eerily quiet, with very little musical accompaniment, and always the low howl of the wind in the background.

Then, gradually, the story becomes grislier and more visceral, though it never stoops to wallowing in the gore. By the end, everyone on both sides is grungy and blood-soaked, and you feel almost as worn out from watching it as they are from experiencing it. Not nearly as cold, though, thank goodness.

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originally posted: 10/19/07 10:06:31
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User Comments

9/22/17 morris campbell tense & grisly story is thin though 4 stars
5/09/14 Freddy Not bad but script inanities ruin the flow 3 stars
1/21/13 dmasz91 very good for a horror film, i'd watch it again. 5 stars
1/11/12 Matthew Thompson Dalldorf How do Brian Nelson and Dave Slade keep getting work? 2 stars
10/12/11 t. true Worst vampire movie ever made, barring none. Run away screaming. 1 stars
12/01/10 mr.mike Wasn't that good. 3 stars
10/13/10 Josie Cotton is a goddess By the director of 'Hard Candy,' so it obviously could have been worse. 2 stars
6/18/10 art 30 days of night makes you forget what the hell's it's name o TWILIGHT! 4 stars
9/14/09 MP Bartley Some tension and the central concept is good, but falls apart by the end. 3 stars
1/06/09 Peter North excellent horror boner salute..... 5 stars
12/02/08 mark total crap. Boring. If you like Scary, it's not scary enough, gruesome, not gruesome enou 1 stars
10/20/08 Monster A Go-Go Very interesting-great concept-disappointing ending, but it had bite! Good job. 4 stars
7/24/08 chris f boring wish i hadnt wasted my time watching this crap 1 stars
4/18/08 Pete Chesworth very good film but pity about the naff ending though where did they go to 4 stars
3/04/08 JLH Not bad. 3 stars
3/02/08 Larry M. Don't think and you will enjoy. 2 stars
3/01/08 othree Great scencey, blood & snow, all the trappings, suck finished off movie, too bad. 2 stars
2/18/08 Servo Very dissapointing, some nice gore and the scene where the town gets invaded and thats it. 2 stars
2/08/08 Mark Dumb vampires...even DUMBER townsfolk! 2 stars
12/13/07 William Goss Derivative, although w/ no shortage of gore, a sleeker sheen than most. Vampire lines reek. 4 stars
12/06/07 Bnorm I didnt like it;decent enough action though. The Vampires were stupid lookin 2 stars
12/05/07 eeli fantastic vampire carnage, one of the best horror movies ever 5 stars
11/29/07 Vagile Waste of a fantastic concept 1 stars
11/14/07 Curtis M NO Substance, NOT scary... CRAP effects. Two hours that I would really like back..... 1 stars
10/29/07 Geoff Chapman Didn't live up to its substantial potential. Wasn't scary 3 stars
10/25/07 matthew decent, but thoroughly predictable 4 stars
10/25/07 jazz eternal Because they know what I say is true and you're a no-taste having underwear stain. 1 stars
10/24/07 jazz returns It's no question that he's a faggot...with bad taste in film. 1 stars
10/24/07 Ivana Mann Lukewarm movie-not bad, not good. At least cool vampire make-up effects. 3 stars
10/24/07 jazz again Yeah, and you stick to your little lame ass faggot vampire movies that aren't scary, Twat. 1 stars
10/23/07 derek you're right ludicous, my bad. 5 stars
10/22/07 derek again hey jazz, stick with steel magnolias you pussy. 5 stars
10/22/07 AJ Muller It's really good, but you gotta call out Carpenter? Fuck you, Gonsalves. Seriously. 4 stars
10/22/07 Anthony G Enough with the shaky cam you no-talent hack! 2 stars
10/22/07 Notsocynical As I recall the grocery store WAS attacked. Did you even watch the movie? 3 stars
10/22/07 DonnyM I hated it. Bad Director Bad Script. Josh Harnet as the action hero. Har har. 2 stars
10/22/07 jazz Lame movie. If you saw it and liked it, you're an idiot. 1 stars
10/20/07 derek dettloff great movie. if you saw it and didn't like it, you're crazy. 5 stars
10/20/07 mike I went in excited and left disappointed. the ending was super dumb. honestly 0.5 out of 10 1 stars
10/20/07 Ole Man Bourbon 2 Hours of Shite 2 stars
10/20/07 IAMVPIRE HELL OF A RIDE!!!! 5 stars
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  19-Oct-2007 (R)
  DVD: 19-Feb-2008



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