Written by: Wayne C. Rogers
Realizing that people have different opinions about what they read and watch, and that not all will agree with each other on what’s good and what isn’t, I was still somewhat surprised by how many viewers didn’t find the horror movie, 30 Days of Night, to be as great as I did. I’m usually pretty hard on horror flicks and don’t expect a lot when I go to see one, but 30 Days of Night won me over in a way that left me stunned at the end of the movie and wanting to immediately see it again.
Directed by David Slade, the story takes place in Barrow, Alaska (a real town), which is in the northern part of the state and once a year experiences thirty days of night. Most of the town’s people head south for the entire month, but there are enough humans left to entice a group of roving vampires to spend some quality vacation time there. It all begins when a stranger arrives (played wonderfully by Ben Foster, check him out in his first film—Hostage with Bruce Willis) during the last day of light and cuts the telephone lines and kills the sled dogs so the remaining town’s people will be snowed in and unable to escape the wrath of his master, Marlow. The vampires then waste little time in attacking the town and killing every human being they can get their hands and teeth on. It’s the town’s sheriff (played by Josh Hartnett) and his estranged wife (played by Melissa George) who manage to gather the surviving citizens and to find a place where they can hide from their hungry predators. The problem, of course, is finding a way to stay alive until the sun once again appears after thirty long days of night. That’s going to be the challenge and few are going to make it.
I thoroughly loved this movie and have watched it about twelve times, enjoying every single viewing. Though I’m not a big fan of Josh Hartnett, I bought him as the sheriff and found his character to be totally believable. I also felt that all of the other actors did an excellent job as well, especially Danny Huston, who played Marlow, the lead vampire. He was utterly terrifying. I thought the vampires were played true to life in that they were portrayed as savage, violent predators, killing everything within their grasp so they can feed on the blood. They were unbelievably fast and didn’t hesitate in taking someone’s head off, separating it from the body with one powerful sweep of their clawed hands.
The desolation of Barrow was captured perfectly by the set designer and director of photography as the camera took in from above what was happening below as dozens and dozens of people were massacred in different parts of the town by the marauding vampires. This movie had me literally sitting on the edge of my seat and jumping in all the right places. In many ways I thought this was the best horror flick of 2007, running just ahead of the film, 1408, with John Cusack.
With regards to the DVD, it has since been released as a two-disc set, It doesn’t, however, have much more on it than the single disc. Still, what’s there is a great behind-the-scenes documentary on the making of the film, containing interviews with the cast members and crew, plus a look at the real Barrow, Alaska.
The strange thing is that when the DVD came out, my roommate’s daughter was getting ready to fly to Alaska with some friends, and I kept trying to get her to watch the movie before she left. She told me NO! in a rather loud way, not wanting to have nightmares the whole time she was there, freezing in below-zero temperatures. I would’ve gone to Aruba, myself! Anyway, this film certainly has a special place in my DVD collection of horror films. Highly recommended!!!