I've never been that big of a vampire fan; too many weaknesses, too much romance, too little ferociousness. Getting bit on the neck, then getting to live forever, never seemed that threatening to me. (I've always preferred werewolves, though there isn't nearly as many films about them.) My favorite vampire film has always been Near Dark, it's gritty and violent, with a little more realistic approach to them as another species. When I saw the trailer for 30 Days of Night, it conveyed a dark edge; it was the first vampire film I was stoked to see in over 10 years, since the Tarantino and Rodriguez mash-up From Dusk Till Dawn. Once it came out, I didn't hear anybody have anything good to say about it, but I still had to check it out for myself.
Since I've watched this, I've talked to a few others who also didn't like it, people I usually agree with. I honestly don't understand why people aren't enjoying 30 Days of Night. It's nowhere close to being a perfect film, but I thought it was very entertaining; full of blood, a couple of good horror scenes, a great location, nice photography and no off-putting acting. I want to recommend it to any fan of horror films, I believe that the appreciation of this film will grow in the coming years. Maybe it's ahead of it's time?
I loved the idea of staging the whole thing in Alaska just when the sun is setting for a month, it seems like the perfect place for vampires to attack. I liked how ferocious these vampires are, they cut a person down and tear them to shreds in a few seconds. None of the regular preening and posturing that goes along with a lot of these films. They also don't leave anyone alive to turn into another vampire; they're greedy about their food, don't want another mouth around to feed. I honestly thought these were the coolest vampires since Near Dark.
Josh Hartnett is decent as the small town sheriff; he does his usual silent brooding thing. Melissa George is good as his ex-girlfriend, who gets caught in Alaska against her wishes; she looks good and is still believable as she's kicking some undead ass. Ben Foster plays about his 12th psycho in a row, but he's good and entertaining at it; here he plays a human so desperate to become a vampire, that he sets a screen for them, by coming into town and acting crazy, occupying the sheriff for a while. And I was surprised to see the great character Danny Huston, he adds a bit of class, as the lead vampire Marlow.
I'm not sure what people are missing in this film. It has a very cool, comic book type look to it, not as stylized as Sin City or 300, but it's own unique blend; every frame is very well thought out. I dug the story, with the cast hiding out in a boarded up house, with their town overrun by vampires, nowhere to run and no hope of the sun coming up. Overall I was impressed with the cast; quite a few of the smaller parts are fairly memorable too, always a sign of a good film in my book. So, while most are calling this a lame duck, I really enjoyed it; it is far better directed, photographed, edited, acted, written, and designed than 90% of the crap they're calling horror films these days. I say, give it a try. - Grade: B