Friday, February 15, 2013

30 DAYS OF NIGHT (2007) movie review

30 Days of Night
d. Slade, David (USA)

Based upon the graphic novel by Steve Niles (who also worked on the screenplay) and Ben Templesmith, this big budget adaptation from Sam Raimi’s Ghost House Pictures suffers mightily from the realization of how good it could have been, which unfortunately obscures how often it manages to deliver the goods.

Beginning with its brilliant high-concept plot (an Alaskan village is waylaid by vampires during the month-long period during which the sun fails to rise), there is much to enjoy here. Director(Hard Candy) Slade’s visual style provides some striking imagery – the overhead shots of the first night’s carnage are both horrifying and poetic – while the individual performances are strong on both sides of the undead fence, including Josh Hartnett’s small town sheriff, Melissa George as his spirited, estranged spouse, Danny Huston’s natty head vampire and Ben Foster’s show-stealing turn as “The Stranger.”

Additionally, the vicious band of bloodsuckers themselves, outfitted with rows of saw-like teeth, are a welcome change from the time-honored capes and fangs.

However, on the downside, Slade totally drops the ball in conveying the passage of time, and not just due to the lack of sunrises. What is sorely lacking is any sense of the mundane and the excruciating waiting for the day when the sun will finally rise, replaced instead by jump cuts to longer facial hair on the male cast members.

Also, with the savagery of the first night’s massacre, one wonders why they needed a 30-day time frame if they were going to wipe out the population in one night. Not a big fan of the extensive shaky-cam either (horror directors take note: it’s time for a new technique).

The overall impression is that of a missed opportunity for what could have been an amazing and original vampire classic instead just a pretty decent one.


  1. I like your review, but I got to disagree. I'm not sure why so many people dislike this film. It's an original idea, in an original setting, with some really creepy vampires. what's not to like? While the plot maybe mediocre I think there are enough great elements to add up to an awesome flick.

    I just reviewed this film myself on my blog. And being a fresh film critic I'm always looking for more feedback. And you are a good reviewer. ;)If you get the chance check it out.

    1. Hey there, HMM! Always glad to have another blood brother weighing in.

      Here's the thing - I don't dislike the film at all. I just think that there are a few missteps along the way that kept it from becoming an instant classic. I actually like it quite a bit: I saw it in the cinema and later purchased the DVD, which I would be unlikely to do unless I were a fan. As a critic, I am obligated to point out the weak spots as I see them, but I definitely feel like I'm giving credit where credit is due, i.e. "there is much to enjoy here."

      Heading over to check out your review now!