Saturday, 9 May 2009

30 Days Of Night

This will be brief. 30 Days Of Night is a terrific little vampire film starring Josh Hartnett. Set in Alaska, in an area that have thirty days of darkness, the occupants have the misfortune to be attacked by very brutal vampires, who act like animals on the hunt rather than humans. Cut off for these thirty days, these people have to hide from the attacking vampires, in the middle of a very cold winter, over this time, being picked off one by one.

The film has a wonderful sense of build. From the start something is off, little details adding to unease as the characters are introduced, the vampires finally going brutal at the thirty minute mark, taking out most of the town in a coldly executed style. In the next section of the story we watch the survivors hide and get hungry as days past, all of them very human, making the kind of mistakes that would be expected under pressure, getting themselves and family members skilled, which is fascinating to watch. In the final section, as the final days before sunlight approaches, the humans and vampires both get desperate and up the ante in horrific ways.

What the film has going for it is its bleakness. Decent people are established and are killed, have their families suffer in the most horrific ways. Even Hartnett, as the hero, is given few hero moments, any he does have coming with tragic consequences. Its probably one of the darkest horror films in events since the eighties with films such as The Thing and Day Of the Dead. Its got that essential bleakness which is thrilling in a horror film, having been lost for so long in a genre that is gimmicky as hell. It has good solid performances all round and is calmly framed within the horror, kept at a distance for the more horrific moments.

So this is a very good film that's likely to be a cult film pretty soon and deserves that status. It was produced by Sam Raimi's production company, the first really solid film I've seen from them. The Grudge remake was okay but weak in comparison to the terrific original, and the rest of them have had reviews to make you want to avoid the films like the plague.

So this and Star Trek has made it an excellent weekend for films for me.

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