Having been let down in a major way by last weekends Halloween outings, I decided to play the actual day more low key, and instead of more parties opted for the slightly less social – go see a horror movie – option.
30 days of night was being previewed in Islington, and since I’ve been excited about its release forever it seemed a perfectly apt way to spend All Hallows Eve.
Before I get started – 2 things worth noting.
The movie was awesome.
Cinema audiences should be given lessons in how to behave during a screening.
For those of you who didn’t read the comics ( and if that includes you, then you should – NOW) The basic premise is, in the northern-most town in the US, (Barrow, Alaska) there is no daylight for 30 days. Obviously this is somewhat of a vampiric dream, what with all of that food and non of the pesky undead-threatening daylight, so they move in to slaughter the towns remaining residents. Head vampire gets wind of this, and becomes annoyed – turns out the way vampires have managed to stay around all this time, is convincing us that they don’t exist – it is therefore imperative that no-one survive to tell the tale of what really happened.
It’s incredibly simple as a story, and one that’s so obvious when you hear it, you wonder why no-one had used it before. (There was a giant debate about this on AV club, apparently there may have been a similar idea in a Twilight Zone episode once) but it’s the simplicity that works so well. It fits with the bleakness of sunlight free Alaska, and the starkness of a town light on residents.
David Slade does a fantastic job directing. It looks like the comic. I haven’t seen anything look this much like the source material since Sin City. It’s a welcome relief in this day and age that it’s CGI free and relies on make-up, acting and clever framing to make the movie as barren and menacing as it is. The vampires look amazing. Ben Templesmith (The comic book artist) must be ecstatic about this, his vision is translated almost flawlessly onto the screen. There’s an incredible aerial shot as the townsfolk are being slaughtered, all GoogleEarth with gunshots and pools of browny-red blood spilling out onto the desolate snowy white canvas. There are very few clean lines here, much like the artwork it’s kind of watery and low contrast in look. Besides a few discrepancies the movie follows the comics storyline well, so fans of the graphic won’t be disappointed.
All of this being said, this probably isn’t an ideal film to watch at the cinema. It’s not a slasher, and although incredibly gruesome, doesn’t feature too many jumpy moments. It’s more of a slow,yet consistent,burner. And it’s hard to feel scared by this kind of movie while you’re in a multiplex full of people. Home alone in the dark though, would be a completely different story. Added to that you wouldn’t have any of the annoyance of an audience laughing as a knee jerk mechanism to actual horror.
I was a little worried about Josh Harnett being cast in this role, but all credit to the guy, he pulls it off. He’s pretty good at playing a somewhat understated leader though. Melissa George is nowhere near as irritating as I imagined she’d be. But it’s Ben Foster, as the stranger who really stands out. Although his role isn’t all that large, it’s definitely one of the most memorable, I understand he’s not unfamiliar with the role of deranged psycho, but it works for him.
30 Days of night is something we’ve (alright, I’ve) been waiting for, for about 2 decades now, a genuinely scary vampire movie. Watch it, but maybe wait til DVD if you want it to have the desired effect.
Just another quick mention of blink or die, which is running until next week. Enter your best death blink to win this Jason Vorhees living dead doll. And then I’ll try and shut up about vampires and Halloween for a while.