30 Days Of Night Review
Country : USA
Running Time: T/B/A
Distributor: Sony Pictures
For a little town in Alaska where the sun doesn't shine for an entire month each year, a devestating horror is about to descend, with only a few good souls to make battle....
Directed by David Slade. Written by Steve Knight, Stuart Beattie, Brian Nelson and Ben Templesmith. Starring Josh Hartnett, Melissa George, Danny Huston, Ben Foster, Mark Boone Junior and Amber Sainsbury.
30 Days Of Night is an intense, claustrophobic, and unsettling exercise in visceral horror—a film guaranteed to disturb even the most jaded genre fan.
This is the story of an isolated Alaskan town that is plunged into darkness for a month each year when the sun sinks below the horizon. As the last rays of light fade, the town is attacked by a bloodthirsty gang of vampires bent on an uninterrupted orgy of destruction. Only the small town's husband-and-wife Sheriff team stand between the survivors and certain destruction.
The plot synopsis doesn't really do the film justice, but I don't want to tell you anything more than what is necessary to get you interested. 30 Days of Night is one of those genre films that is best when it's experienced—a simple verbal retelling will never manage to adequately capture the mood of Steve Niles' vision, nor the terror inherent in the situation. No, for the full effect, you've got to see the film.
Also, the films captures the essence of the graphic novel so well that is carries high tension from the opening frame to the closing. This feeling, a belief that something's amiss just beneath the surface, is one of the driving forces in the film. Once we realize that we're dealing with hordes of bloodthirsty vampires, we're always on guard—just like the characters themselves.
David Slade's direction is really incredible, probably even more impressive than his work on Hard Candy. Working with cinematographer Jo Willems, (who, for my money, is one of the best cinematographers working in Hollywood today) Slade manages to fill every frame of the film with a claustrophobic sense of dread. Even the shots of the wide-open snowfields seem to close in on you as they run on for miles with no change at all.
The actors themselves are also a big part of why the film works as well. While Hartnett is the bonafide star, this is really an ensemble piece. Josh Hartnett, Melissa George, Danny Huston, Jon Bennett, Mark Boone Junior, and Ben Foster all turn in credible performances, as does the rest of the cast. There is also not much humor and thank God the characters are married here, so there's no need for the cliched love story, and there are really no sexual politics to deal with….just people trying to kill something that they really can't even comprehend.
The film also boasts some incredibly tense scenes and is pretty disgusting for a studio picture. But no matter how hard you try to hide it, the CGI is still their and I will always say that's the downfall of horror films these days. (or any film for that matter) But to make up for it, we do get several practical F/X that are handled quite well (but I still say NO to CGI!).
Finally, Brian Reitzell (An American Werewolf In Paris) serves up a wonderful score. The soundtrack is very provocative and intensely unsettling, with a really simplistic pattern of notes used to maximum effect.
In short, 30 Days Of Night gets my highest recommendation and is 100% required viewing for any real horror fan....an instant cult classic.
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Review by John Gray, for Pitofhorror.com