Action / Horror / Science Fiction
30 Days of Night
Directed By: David Slade
Produced By: Columbia Pictures
Reviewed by Frank L. Ocasio
Hi and welcome to my free internet lesson The Vampire Language for Beginners. Let's start:
First, you should know that nearly all words in the language of Vampires are made of two elements: a vowel and a consonant. That's right--pairing any vowel with any consonant in any order yields nearly all Vampire words.
Da - which translates to "oil"
Ek - which translates to "snow"
Mi - which translates to "kittens"
Now that you know that, you're just about fluent in Vampire. What else is there to know? Read on:
1. Occasionally throw in a longer word like "challa" or "meek" to make your Vampire nearly sound legitimate.
2. Words like "da" and "ek" can also express long phrases like, "Why can't we speak English?" and, "I dunno. A population of 200? We probably killed all of them 23 days ago."
3. When you speak Vampire, speak slowly. Very, very slowly.
And now you're fluent in Vampire and probably wondering "Ir?" which, of course, translates to, "Why are you telling me all of this?" Quite simply, it's because this is all I got out of 30 Days of Night. At the very least, this is all that I got that's worth remembering.
The northern Alaskan town of Barrow is cut off from the rest of the world for thirty days of unending night every winter. It may sound like a mess for town sheriff Eben Olemaun (Josh Hartnett), but man, he really has no idea. When odd occurrences start popping up around town--everyone's cell phones stolen and burned in a pile, sled dogs slaughtered mercilessly, helicopters highjacked and destroyed--Eben soon realizes that this year's winter is going to be much worse than usual. Naturally, neither he nor anyone else in town suspect that a band of vampires have found Barrow, systematically severed it's communications, and intend to gorge their murderous blood lust for the full thirty days that the town will be submerged in darkness. Can Eben, his disenchanted wife Stella (Melissa George) and a band of humans who survive the initial vampire attack survive for a whole month?
I know--you're excited. I was too. This movie has a great premise. However, the film attached to it really isn't worth your ten dollars. It starts off very well; we're introduced to Eben, the town of Barrow, and its citizens. We get a taste of the difficult situation between Eben and Stella. We're introduced to a delightfully creepy bum with a funny lisp. However, all of this starts to fall apart when the plot suddenly cuts forward in a way that can only be called messy. One minute, the vampires are attacking and people are dying. The next, some townsfolk are hiding in a well lit, window-riddled diner (somehow) and talking about how no matter what they throw at these vampires, they simply won't die. Other such plot jumps follow with various quirks and nonsense, all of which are served with a helping of the hands-down most annoying vampires you will ever see--we're talking constantly squealing/screaming like velociraptors or (to a greater extent) giant roosters disguised as vampires. We're talking Vampires that stand around in complete silence for minutes on end when they speak, as if they can't string together the simple pairs of vowels and consonants that make up their pitifully fake language.
It's such a shame too. The first half hour is so promising--the action works up and the plot develops at just the right speed. And then, somehow, the ball is dropped. Sure, there will be some intense action and gore here and there, but neither is sufficient to make any action or gore fan want to stick around for the twenty minutes of exhausting dialogue between them. And on the other hand, I'm sure the action and gore wouldn't impress a crowd looking for a good story (a crowd who would, of course, be even more scandalized by all the pointless/silly dialogue).
So really, just about anyone and everyone should stay away from 30 Days of Night. If you really love gore and horror, then sure--check it out; most horror movies are B-rated anyway. And if you love vampire lore (especially to the extent that you actually LARP as a vampire) then sure--totally check this movie out (and Godspeed to you, by the way). If not though, then all I can say to you is "challa dek," my friend. Challa dek.
One more thing before I quit: As is almost always the case with films based on graphic novels, please, just read the graphic novel. Even if you don't like reading, there are plenty of pictures! And I promise the graphic novels for 30 Days of Night are amazing; the first one, which this movie is poorly adapted from, does have about 5 friggin' sequels, after all.