Ken's Review: 30 Days of Night - A Vampire Film Comparison
by Ken Evans
October 19, 2007
After watching 30 Days of Night I already had my mind set on what I thought of it. Thank goodness I don't write my reviews as soon as the credits roll. Normally I like to take a few days and really think about what I just saw so that my initial reaction and feelings for the film have time to develop. My mind acts as a rolodex quickly spinning through all the movies I have ever seen and comparing those to the most recent I just watched. If I decided to stick with this method for reviewing 30 Days of Night this review would be much different and much more negative. What I decided to do instead is compare 30 Days of Night to other vampire films. Hopefully doing this will be more helpful to the type of people that are dying to see this movie.
30 Days of Night is about a pack of vampires attacking Barrow, Alaska where the sun sets for 30 days of winter. After the initial brutal attack very early on, there is only a small group of townspeople who have managed to hide and survive. Among this group is Eben Oleson (Josh Hartnett) who is the sheriff of Barrow and leader of this group of survivors. The bloodbath ensues as we watch this group go from hiding spot to hiding spot making stupid choice after stupid choice along the way.
That is basically the whole movie summed up. Sure there are some subplots about love and family, but they seem more like desperate attempts to bring some depth to a beautifully filmed, conceptually solid, semi-interesting monster movie. Let there be no mistake about the fact that this is barely a vampire movie, it is much more of a monster movie. That doesn't mean that I didn't enjoy it, but hopefully it gets you better prepared before going to see it.
Vampires in film have taken a turn from everything they were in the beginning. Like I said previously, they have become leather-clad, sunglass-wearing, rave-dancing monsters instead of smart-talking, women-seducing, shape-shifting, blood-drinking rulers of the night. After Blade (in 1998), vampire movies just haven't been the same. Now don't get me wrong, I have still enjoyed many of the new vampire movies. I loved the Blade trilogy and the two Underworld films, but I miss the classic vampire image that started it all and I find myself longing for a writer and director to undertake a revamping, no pun intended, of the vampire film genre. Take the classic vampire from Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein, mix him with the director and cinematographer of the Underworld series and you got yourself a vampire movie that I want to see!
I loved the concept behind 30 Days of Night. Taking vampires to a place that has no sun for 30 days was ingenious. I loved that the vampires had a leader that talked to them and gave them instructions. I absolutely loved what Hartnett did at the end of the movie to save his wife, although it didn't really play out to be as cool and exciting as it potentially could have been. Ultimately this movie had so many parts that started off as potentially being very cool and a thrill to watch, but none of them really delivered.
Compared to other vampire films that have come out in recent years, this is one of the better ones. Although not really delivering on all the great concepts that were presented, it was still fun to watch. If you like the horror and vampire film genre you will probably like 30 Days of Night. I just pray that the tide turns soon for the original type of vampire that started it all.