Nov 5, 2007

[Movies] 30 Days of Night

30 Days of NightI'm not a terribly big fan of horror movies in general. However given a dearth of decent films and the general consensus of the group of friends we were with, we opted to watch 30 Days of Night.

I went in only knowing (1) I was pretty sure it was based on a comic book, (2) a TIME Magazine review I had glimpsed mentioned it was like a non-zombie zombie movie and (3) a number of my friends thought it was pretty good. Oh joy. Still, I plunged into the depths of Barrow, Alaska and was surprised with what we found there.

The core story is pretty solid given it was in fact based on a largely successful series of horror comics of the same name. So assumption number 1 was on the right on the mark, hehe. \

Anyway, as mentioned before the story is set in Barrow, Alaska, tagged as the northernmost town in the US. Given its location, it experiences a 30-day period of no sun given the tilt of the globe on its axis. It's a regular event for the residents but this time around a group of vampires decides to capitalize on the lack of sunlight to feast upon the small town of Barrow.

The story has a lot of the same pulse-racing sequences of shock and surprise that seems to the be the tone of horror movies today. What first comes to mind is The Amityville Horror released in 2005. I guess the comparison stems from how it's not set with overly inhuman / supernatural characters like the Freddy Kreugers of the world and that tiny detail of the character of Stella being played by Melissa George, who also played the wife in Amityville.

As a movie, it was pretty good and was enough to send me cursing like a sailor - my normal reaction to good horror movies. Since I already paid the ticket price, I'm in no mood to stop watching the movie but at the same time I know new moments of suspense and screaming are just around the corner so the disconnect between these two ideas has me swearing instead. I understand now why some reviewers had mentioned that it felt like a zombie movie - it's not often that vampires attack towns in such numbers normally attributed to the walking undead. The combination of numbers and the usual abilities associated with vampires like super strength, inhuman speed and an insatiable thirst for blood (which isn't actually a power but I couldn't stop myself from typing) is pretty intimidating. Keep an eye out for the overheard aerial shot of the vampires attacking the town - it's probably the best scene in the movie by far.

I was surprised to see Josh Hartnett playing the lead character Eben given I had no prior knowledge of the specifics of the film. He was pretty good as the local sheriff although a lot of his lines were pretty hammy. Watch out for his discourses on the importance of family throughout the movie and how he seems to flip-flop between being really scared to being rather silly. He's not the only one with silly dialogue though - having the lead vampire discuss his various views on life and share quotable quotes with his underlings is something that didn't translate well to the screen. I would have left the lines out and just keep them rather mysterious since they're rather scarier that way. Hearing him command his other vampires to attack is nowhere near as creepy as just watching him stare at individual "soldiers" and understanding is reached without actual words. Old school vampire telepathy right there!

Like a lot of recent Hollywood horror movies, it started off with pretty good progression, which each of the unusual petty crimes linking together to reveal how well planned this attack of Barrow was. The ending had a lot to be desired where all the cheesy lines were pulled out and characters started acting weird. For example, they spend most of the movie running to and fro, hiding from the vampires as they cross streets in such, relying on the snow to conceal them whenever possible. By the end they're still scared, but they keep walking around like nothing's going on. Keep an eye on Harnett - he has the most speed changes in the movie.

If you're looking for a good movie to kick your heart back into action without getting overly scared to the core, this might be the one for you. Plus a lot of it ends up feeling like a video game like Resident Evil or Silent Hill, which can be good in terms of the creepy sequences and bad like in terms of the cheesy, badly-translated dialog. Haha.

No comments:

Post a Comment