30 Days of Night is a great example on how to combine chills, thrills and gore with the end result a serious and effective horror movie.
The film is based on a popular comic book series set in Barrow, Alaska, which is located deep within the mountains and cut off from sunlight for 30 days when the winter season commences.
This leaves the towns' residents as lambs to the slaughter when a roaming band of vampires stop by for a month long feeding. It is up to town Sheriff Evan (Josh Hartnett) and his estranged wife Stella (Melissa George) to keep the towns remaining survivors alive until the sun sets again.
30 Days.. is a wonderfully underplayed, character driven horror film that contains a visually rich setting (which makes sense considering its source material) and a biting atmosphere, with its isolated winter backdrop reminiscent of John Carpenter’s horror classic The Thing. Brain Reitzell’s moody score increases the films grim tone.
The violence on hand is extreme and gory, due to the blood shed by the films vampire creations, which are the more ferocious depictions of the un-dead seen in some time.
Thankfully there are no sexual undertones to these vampires (which would have come off as cheesy), and the excellent make-up effects enhance their ferocity. These vampires put the dread and horror back in the vampire sub-genre, as they pick off their prey one by one giving no quarter as to who their victims are.
Josh Hartnett gives a solid performance, and Danny Huston is disarmingly effective as the leader of the vampires. Yet it is Ben Foster who steals the movie in his limited time on screen, putting on a superbly creepy performance as a Cajun speaking rogue who wishes to join ranks with the vampires.
Finally, after a long drought comes a vampire film of worth watching. 30 Days of Night is bloody good stuff.