Zombies aren’t the only things one can be afraid of when wandering through snow, as horror movie 30 Days of Night shows that vampires can be even more resilient opponents.
30 Days of Night
(USA/New Zealand 2009, director: David Slade)
An isolated Alaskan town experiences their annual 30 days of darkness when the sun disappears, but this is nothing compared to the bloodshed a group of starts when attacking them.
Vampires are as old as the horror genre, but they’ve certainly learned how to outrun their victims by jumping all over the place instead of slowly moving towards and hypnotizing them. While some movies depict them as pitiful creatures with a soul, others show them as vicious murderers with only the thirst for blood and survival driving them forward. In the case of 30 Days of Night, an adaptation of a graphic novel, one encounters a species that is only interested in wiping out humans. They’re far removed from Anne Rice’s romantic versions, as they don’t even speak any human language and only communicate with guttural sounds and howls, making them alien and even more frightening than most creatures of the night one has become so used to.
As one doesn’t learn anything about the vampires’ origins and characters, none of them (even the typical leader figure) remains memorable, which unfortunately can also be said about the townspeople who rarely open up with stories of their own personal life. This makes it extremely difficult to sympathize with them. Even in certain dramatic scenes when people have to be sacrificed and put down before turning into vampires one simply doesn’t care about what happens to them.
The isolated location creates claustrophobic tension, relentless action set-pieces with plenty of gory and disgusting effects. The kills never quite reach the same insanity level as Dead Snow – Red vs. Dead, but then again the movie doesn’t try to be more over-the-top violent than necessary. It could have used some more frightening moments, though, because the very good make-up effects of the vampires show a lot of potential. As it is, 30 Days of Night is entertaining with a pretty cool even if rather overblown score, but it suffers from its unoriginal plot and shallow characters.
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