When I tell you that 30 Days of Night is a movie about a coven of vampires setting siege to a small Alaskan town, you already know why this movie feels so refreshing. Usually, poor humans have to wait until dawn so they can feel safe. And usually, the evil vampires burst into flames in one satisfying finale. However, that’s just not going to happen if you have polar night lasting 30 fucking days. From Dusk Till Dawn and Vampires are just two examples of those classic vampire movies.
Vampires are one of those mythological creatures that have been portrayed very extensively throughout movie history. Actually, the first movie to feature a vampire was Le Manoir Du Diable from motherfucking 1896! Of course, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, written in 1897, is one of the most famous vampires. And I’m betting you have your favorite Dracula actor. For me, that actor is Gary Oldman from Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula. It’s pretty damn hard to make an original Vampire movie. Perfect Creature is an interesting example, along with Shadow of the Vampire and The Addiction.
30 Days of Night not only features this refreshing twist but it’s also entertaining and juicy. It reminds me of Blade and Daybreakers, two similar movies. Apart from that one thing, the rest of the elements are pretty much standard-issue. You have your party of survivors fighting against the vampires, using various weapons and traps. The desolate snowy setting adds a layer of fear and an inhospitable atmosphere. It feels that our poor heroes have nowhere to run. So, they will have to stand their ground and fight. Kind of like what they had to do in The Thing.
Moreover, you can see the structure of the classic eighties horror movies here. A small town is under siege from a deadly threat, this time consisting of a bunch of hungry vampires. We remember movies where the threat was zombies, aliens, or a giant fucking blob like in The Blob. Vampires in 30 Days of Night look terrifying with all of their teeth sharp and ready for biting. And the scale of the bloodshed is pretty huge since we’re talking about the whole town.
Welcome to Barrow, a small town in Alaska where a “30 Days of Night” festival is about to start, as its inhabitants are celebrating the return of the polar night. So far away from any civilization and covered in snow, Barrow was pretty much protected from any type of attack. Soon, this will change.
Throughout the first act of the movie, you can feel how the atmosphere gets tighter and tighter. You know the bad stuff is coming, the only question is will it come immediately after the sun sets or sometime later? I also loved the crisp clear cinematography and excellent production values. This feels like a really big movie. A big movie with a pretty decent amount of blood, gore, and bloodsucking. 30 Days of Night features a great cast that made it feel more believable and intense.
Starring Josh Hartnett and Melissa George, its supporting cast is also pretty strong with actors like Mark Boone Junior, Ben Foster, and Peter Feeney. Shot in New Zealand, it also looks glorious. There’s a lot of action in general and this is actually a plus because the movie didn’t get bogged down in the fake philosophical or atmospheric stuff. The last thing we need is another preachy vampire who is explaining his evil plan for the fifth time.
A sequel titled 30 Days of Night: Dark Days was released on October 5, 2010, as a straight-to-home video as well as a prequel mini-series, Blood Trails. So, if you’re thirsty for more vampire action, do check them out (although they are not as good as the original).
Director: David Slade
Writers: Steve Niles, Stuart Beattie, Brian Nelson
Cast: Josh Hartnett, Melissa George, Danny Huston, Ben Foster, Peter Feeney, Mark Boone Junior
Fun Stuff: Most of the movie was shot during the day and then altered in post-production, changing day for night.