From the Archives | 30 Days of Night Review.

Wednesday 15 July 2020

Male and Female police offiicers sneaking around a corner to try and get past vampires

Usually, when I find a horror/thriller movie I like I watch it to death and 30 days of night is no exception. I'm a lover of the vampire genre well with the exception of Twilight, I was never a big fan of it even though I've seen them all they're just not my cup of tea. I like my vampire movies to have an element of thriller and 30 days of night is just that for me. When I was a teenager I would happily sit and watch horrors all the time now I'm older I'm very selective as I find a lot of the cheesy and get bored. I first saw 30 Days of Night on film4 and thought I lay as well give it a go as it has Josh Harnett in and I have always had a crush on him and I had high hopes for him in this movie, was I disappointed? Far from it actually and here is why! 30 Days of Night is originally a graphic novel by Steve Niles which I have yet to read but plan on getting it on my Kindle and reading it when I have the time. 

Over a period of a month, a small town in Alaska goes into darkness. this is where the movie solely takes place, some people tend to choose to leave for the month, I mean I personally would as the darkness would make me feel pretty depressed. Unfortunately, this town is slowly being taken over by the most ruthless vampires I have seen in a movie if I'm honest with you. Unaware of this the towns residents get ready for what will be a slow and long month, in a town where barely any crime takes place strange things keep happening and they aren't adding up, this is the kind of thing I like in movies, an element of surprise that throws us straight into the action.

I found that what appealed to me about the vampires was the language they used and noises they make, it makes them all the more terrifying as you aren't aware of what ghastly way they will kill someone next and although they use their own language they can speak English and communicate with humans. In fact, they manipulate them by putting fear in them in order to draw people out, they won't stop until they have murdered everyone. We learn early on just how strong they are and what the residents are about to face, my first viewing watching this movie left me panicked so I missed a lot of what was said and had to go back and rewatch it and came to realise just how well the vampire's features and mannerism were portrayed in the movie.

Vampire quoting "that which can be broken, must be broken"

The residents are fearful, that fear fuels the movie and is what appealed to me most, you see, a lot of horrors end up sounding cheesy and the fear seems like a joke but the cast of 30 Days of Night was able to pull off fear in the best way possible, this fear brings the town residents who are still alive closer together and there is nothing quite like trying to survive as a team instead of on your own because you're usually stronger as a team as some people say. When things started to crumble the team quickly started to fall apart, they spent a lot of time together in that month trying to survive and it took an old man with Alzheimer's and his son to quickly change the survival plan.  

This was a good move, no one wants to see a movie of a bunch of people hiding in a loft looking out on vampires, it would get boring and not showcase the story to its full potential. Yes, this did turn into a movie where a man took lead and tried to save the people of his town, it can get boring seeing a man as the hero constantly, this, however, doesn't ruin things due to Josh's character who seems to have his own troubles but willing to help those who need help still. The macho storyline gets tiresome but Josh managed to pull off his character really well, he didn't hide his fear you could tell he was just as terrified as the other residents, he knew someone had to come up with a plan and that's exactly what he managed to pull off even if a lot of the time it went wrong.

image of TV that says "30 Days of Night" from movie title screen

The vampires were sneaky and clever so they needed a plan to outwit them, but how can you outwit something so fast and terrifying? According to the fandom website, these vampires don't usually hunt in groups but because they have worked out that this town goes into darkness for 30 days they take the opportunity to be able to hunt as much as they want throughout it. This makes it all the more terrifying as the town is very isolated and unable to get the help they would need, they're not prepared for violence on this scale so their only choice is to either hide, fight back or outwit them as I said before, but who will be taking on this task? You guessed it, the macho man Eben (Josh) will. I couldn't imagine just how hard it would be to keep a bunch of people calm even though their death would be inevitable and they all seemed to know this but covered their fear with some kind of hope that they could hide out until the sun reappears.  
One part of the movie I wasn't a fan of was the little girl who is a vampire, not because she was undead but because that scene was a bit naff and felt like it didn't fit, considering these vampires have super strength they managed to stop her much too easily and surely the echos of her screams would have alerted the other vampires sooner? The movie can be very cliche at times but that's why it works for me, when I rewatched the movie again recently I mulled over whether or not I felt it fit into horror or thriller and in a way it's a mix of both. It envokes being invaded which is typical for horror and also has elements of suspension and fear which is a big thriller flag, I will leave it up to others to interpret what genre they think fits in for them though. 

Main character Eben with fire behind him, he has black eyes from turning into a vampire

Sacrifice is a huge aspect of the move as is the very bad love story between Eben and another resident, it's clear how much Eben cares for his town and hopes he can find a way to keep those left alive, he comes up with a quick plan which means he will inevitably be the one who dies due to turning himself into a vampire. It happens faster than in most movies and TV shows I've seen, and he looked awesome as one of them. I was pretty happy with the ending but when I found out there was a second movie it kind of ruined things as it felt right to end it the way they did, as you can tell I'm not a fan of the second movie but it was a bold move to make.

I have to mention this because a few of my friends hated this movie, they found it boring and didn't scare them but as someone who is fearful of being trapped in one place like the people in the movie it kind of plays on my own fears, much like the movie The Descent except that takes place inside caves and is 100 times scarier. 30 Days of Night set a different tone for me, they had the right cast and were able to portray vampires as something we should all fear, the dark plays the biggest role in the movie, it's what draws the vampires out and allows them to feast on humans for 30 days. If I had survived that I wouldn't want to live there anymore and would try my best to find places that are full of sunshine all year round. I have watched this movie so many times and don't plan on ever going back and watching it when I'm in the mood, have you seen 30 Days of Night? What are your thoughts on it?

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