Friday, November 02, 2007

30 DAYS OF NIGHT - not so scary but suitably moody

Oh, Lisa! You and your stories! 'Dad, Bart is a vampire.' 'Beer kills brain cells.' Now, let's get back to that... building thingy... where our beds and T.V... is.30 DAYS OF NIGHT is an underwheming vampire flick based on the Niles/Templesmith graphic novels and directed by David Slade of HARD CANDY infamy. It's set in an Alaskan town so far north that every winter the town plunges into unbroken darkness for thirty days. This allows Slade to conjure up some arresting visuals, in which vampires are sillhouetted against dark grey skies, and blood spatters on snow-covered roads. It's a gloomy, sinister world. The vampires are somewhat less impressive. Their leader, played by Danny Huston in a buzz-cut, white shirt and dark black coat, looks uncannily like Neil Tennant. And in general, there's none of the sexual sub-text that we expect from our vampire flicks. In fact, this is an altogether subdued picture. For the first forty minutes or so, we see rather little of the vampires and the violence is rather discreet. Things do amp up toward the nicely off-centre ending, but it's never jump-out-of-your-seat scary. Josh Hartnett leads a cast of valiant townsfolk trying to hide until sunlight comes and he doesn't do a bad job. But the stand-out character is Ben Foster's psychotic human who wants to be a vampire. He spits out prophesies of death in a Southern accent and is infinitely more creepy than any of the actual beasties. Still, Foster's agent should warn him that he's in danger of becoming typecast after similarly brilliant but similarly, well, similar, performances in ALPHA DOG and 3:10 TO YUMA.

30 DAYS OF NIGHT is on release in the US, UK, Canada, the Philippines, the Czech Republic and Lithuania. It opens in Australia, Germany, the Netherlands, Russia and Iceland next weekend. It opens later in November in Greece, Turkey, Brazil, Estonia, Egypt, Finland and Taiwan. It opens in December in Norway and Singapore and in January in New Zealand and Argentina.


  1. Bit of a shame, I was kinda looking forward to this. I love the graphic novel series and I thought that it was such a good concept that it would translate well onto film.

    Oh well...

  2. Well, you may like it. I'd be interested to hear your take as I haven't read the source material. I think my conception of the vampire movie is so embedded in the Dracula mythos that I feel a bit short-changed by the more streamlined stuff....Still, I am a complete wimp when it comes to horror and even I wasn't that scared. P.S. My friend told me that in the novels Eban was a recovering smack addict. Is that true?

  3. No, that wasn't in the books. The story of the main couple (called Olemaum in the books) is spread out over three paperbacks; 30 Days Of Night, Dark Days, Return To Barrow. The series is really good, although the quality of the recent ones has tailed off.

    I'm probably going to see the film within the next week or two, Anna wants to see it as well.

    Another comic books that's being made into a film is Wanted by Mark Miller. I've seen the trailer and it looks like only the core story is going to be the same. I can't believe that the film will be as nasty and misanthropic as Mark Miller's writing.