Plot: For 30 days every winter, the town of Barrow, Alaska, is plunged into a state of complete darkness. This time, a group of vampires takes advantage of the uninterrupted darkness to feed. Sheriff Eben (Josh Hartnett), his estranged wife Stella (Melissa George), and the rest of the town must attempt to survive until the sun rises again.
Who’s it for: There are tons of vampire movies, so there must be a huge fan base ready to suck up the newest one.
Expectations: Because of “Sin City,” “A History of Violence” and “300,” I am willing to give the benefit of the doubt to any film based on a graphic novel, which is exactly what the people behind “30 Days” must be counting on.
Josh Hartnett as Eben: “Hi, I’m Eben … No, not Evan, Eben. With a B!” Hartnett’s character must get stuck doing this the majority of his imaginary life. As far as the performance goes, sticking Hartnett in an action/horror flick seems like a good match. He isn’t required to do much, just look concerned and swing an ax.
Melissa George as Stella: Can we institute a rule that your name can’t be Stella in a film? Unless of course someone screams it while dropping down on his knees … which would have been a great moment of comedy for this film. I have no idea why these two needed to be estranged, though Stella keeps bothering us with how difficult life was for them.
Ben Foster as The Stranger: Spooky name to go with THE creepiest guy in Hollywood right now. There is no one better at deranged than Foster. Unfortunately, he’s just scowling and begging for raw meat. Giving us a little more background on him instead of the other characters would have been a wise choice.
Talking: After seeing half the town get killed, an old woman utters, “We got walkie-talkies, we’ll be fine.” And the vampires say things like, “What can be broken, must be broken.” In other words, the dialogue doesn’t work.
Sights and sounds: Knowing there would be 30 days of night, I was worried the film would be too dark to see anything. That’s not the case. We can see everything, but it is just gore except for one good visual from above as we watch the town being obliterated by the vampires. The worst part of the film might be the high-pitched screams that constantly come from the vampires.
The tagline for “30 Days of Night” is, “based on the graphic novel.” And clearly, the people behind this film are jumping on the bandwagon last used by “300.” But this film doesn’t offer any style, just loud noise and blood. There is wasted character development in the beginning, and I wasn’t even sure if we were dealing with aliens, zombies or vampires. Eben and the others don’t even utilize the darkness, extreme cold or the Alaskan pipeline. I was done when there was a needless scene abusing a woman. And the ending was on the verge of interesting, until it came down to one little punch.
Overall Grade: 3