01/11/2008. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts
pub: ICON ICON50131. 109 minute film with extras. Price: under £ 7.00 (UK) if you know where to look) stars: Josh Harnett, Melissa George, Danny Huston, Ben Foster and Mark Boone Jnr.
check out website: www.iconfilm.co.uk
There are three variations of the film '30 Days Of Night' out on DVD and if you're after the one with the graphic novel, you're going to have to hope the warehouse your supplier pulls his DVDs from has any left in stock. As long as I had the extras disk, I have to confess to being reasonably happy.
Going after this film was an interest to see where the startling pictures of vampires came from. More so, that they weren't so much the fanged type but had a mouth of teeth that would have put a piranha to shame. They also didn't have much in the way of table manners and as the lead vampire Marlow (played by Danny Huston) demonstrates, blood makes for an excellent hair gel although I doubt if it'll be in the shops any time soon.
The whaling town of Barrow in Alaska is positioned that periodically it has a month of darkness. At that point, the majority of the population re-locate so they can at least get some sunlight during that time. Those who stay are a bit more tolerant of the dark. Other than the sheriff, restaurant and a few shops, one really has to ask what do these people do here most of the time without a whaling industry. Maybe they should invite some tourists or at least not the ones they got.
Perfect opportunity for a group of vampires to come for a feed which they do with fierce relish and enthusiasm and it is up to the few survivors to stay alive and, well, stay alive really. There's an interesting twist to the ending which clearly indicates these vampires were created by a passable infection which makes it potential Science Fiction as much as horror.
In some respects, other than environment and creatures, this is the kind of plot that harkens back to the type of film where humans are stuck in a room while zombies roam around outside and occasionally try to break in. With this film, its more of a wonder of what do these vampires do for the month. They catch any human who are wandering free and even set bait to catch the unwary but with so many, you would think they would systematically do a house-clearance and be gone within half the time. Even more remarkably, the human group we follow, after raiding the local shop for food, don't appear to change much during the course of the month. Having not read the source material, I have no idea how close they stayed to it but you'd have expected in an adaptation that someone had given thought to such problems. One thing I was glad to see was Marlow in translation explaining that they're destroying the town to conceal their own presence there. Considering the problems of bringing in building materials and supplies in, could you honestly see people decide to go back after such an extensive fire and no survivors?
I have to confess compared to the humans, the vampires themselves are awesome. They might not speak English but they aren't the handsome creatures we've seen elsewhere. Probably the nearest comparison is to those in the film 'Near Dark'. There's still the little problem of how did they get to Barrow let alone get away afterwards.
You might think I'm having a downer on this film. It does have some serious plot flaws but you can get carried away with the action which makes it likely to be re-watched a few times yet. With all the 'snow', it makes for a perfect Yuletide film after all. Even more remarkable was seeing New Zealand doubling for Alaska. The extras DVD fills in a lot of information about the making of the film and their extended night working which even the crew felt was turning them into caffeine-drinking vampires.
Not perfect but certainly an interesting way to spend a couple hours over a blood sarnie.
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