Originally Published Saturday 1st November 2008
30 Days of Night
The final film in this series is the one that kinda gave its name to the whole project, and I kept the best for last.
30 Days of Night is based on the comic of the same name that tells of the town of Barrow in Alaska, the northernmost town in the United States. Barrow is so far north that during the winter the sun doesn’t rise for a month, a whole 30 Days of Night. This makes Barrow the ideal holiday destination for the discerning vampire seeing as how they will be free to roam without the pesky sun ruining their feeding. A bunch of vampires have travelled to Barrow and are ready to attack the unsuspecting townsfolk just as the sun sets.
Barrow’s sheriff, Eben (Josh Hartnett) and his estranged wife Stella along with some of the inhabitants of the town hide and try to survive in hidden attics and other concealed places waiting for the sun to come up. The vampires are organised and especially cruel, using family members to try to lure people out of hiding, and when they figure that there are survivors holding out on them they break open a nearby oil pipeline in an effort to burn the town and cover their tracks. It’s up to Eben to stop the vampires but he has to pay an incredibly high price to do so.
The Barrow Tourist Board’s new spokesman has a tough first day!
The 30 Days story is a simple one just like the comic which you’d read cover to cover in minutes. The film remains loyal to the core story but removes the vampire hunters from New Orleans that feature in the comic – though those characters are in the mini-series prequel. The townsfolk being left to fend for themselves makes 30 Days more like a traditional horror as opposed to a vampire hunter story with the town in the middle. The loyalty to the comic works so well considering how it ends which is the same in the film as the book and so tragic it elevates the film well above the run of the mill vampire tales.
The performances in 30 Days are solid and Hartnett is surprisingly good as the sheriff. Melissa George as Stella is pretty decent too, but I wonder how she’d fare out if they were to make any of the sequels, where she’s the hero. The star of the show however is the town itself. Barrow and the surrounding barren wastes of Alaska are shown in amazing different shades of grey but look enticing, Barrow looks like somewhere you could really live, despite the cold and vampires.
Two Thumbs Firmly Up for 30 Days of Night.