Pop was right to suspect me of chickening out of seeing 30 Days of Night — I very nearly did. Normally I enjoy the opportunity to see a horror flick, even if it might give me the creeps for days afterward. However, the trailer for this movie terrified me enough, and I could only imagine what the movie itself would entail. But I bucked up, dragged a friend, and only spent maybe three-quarters of the time curled into a tight, unyielding ball. I'm glad I went, but I was totally right: this movie scared the bejesus out of me.
30 Days of Night brings us to Barrow: a sleepy, isolated town in the northern most part of Alaska on the last day of sunlight before being taken over by darkness for 30 days in the winter. Sheriff Eban Oleman (Mr. Manjoyment himself, Josh Hartnett) really shall we say, "sunk his teeth" into this role. Get it? Okay, to move on,
Director David Slade sure knows how to pile on the tension in this movie, as he did with his indie thriller Hard Candy. You know something is going to jump out at you but you just can't tell exactly when. Layer on the creepy soundtrack, crazy camera angles with all those shadows, amazing vampire makeup (along with a whole vampire language and utterly terrifying noises), and you have the prefect recipe for a scared-so-badly-I-almost-peed-my-pants movie.
In many ways, this is your typical vampire genre movie. You know how it goes: quiet, tense moments quickly followed by loud action sequences and a hint of love story thrown in to keep you from vomiting long enough to get you to the next blood-soaked moment. But what sets it apart are the circumstances. Vampires in Alaska in the winter! No waiting it out for 12 measly hours — this time they're trapped there for a month. If that doesn't "suck" I don't know what does (sorry, had to sneak in one more of those).
Eban (Hartnett) and Stella (Melissa George) are believably heroic, trying to keep the remaining survivors alive for the 30 days. Nothing is ever so over-the-top to that you'll chuckle with disbelief and lose interest. The movie also succeeds in showing us that blood-sucking vampires are part human too, not just raging crazies. They're smart and have definitely (definitely) planned ahead this time around.
All in all, the movie taught me a few lessons:
- Don't move to Alaska.
- See this film in the daylight hours.
- Preferably with someone that won't laugh at you too hard if you do in fact, wet yourself.
Photos courtesy of Sony