30 Days of Night (2007) mini review

based on a comic

A few years ago, Steve Niles developed a story for a movie pitch - what would happen if vampires visited the northern-most cities in Alaska that go for weeks without sunlight? The movie pitch didn't work out as well as he wanted, and he ended up pitching it to artist Ben Templesmith as an idea for a comic book. A little later, 30 Days of Night was published by IDW. [While you'll continually hear that the movie was based on a graphic novel, it was originally published in regular comic book format as a 3-part mini-series.] As you know by now, the idea came full circle and was released to theaters this past Friday.

That's the plot - a group (tribe? pride?) of vampires, comes to Barrow, Alaska, looking forward to a complete month without having to view the sun (Wikipedia's got an interesting article on Barrow - take a look to see the facts). The film stars Josh Hartnett (Sin City) and Melissa George as Eben and Stella (see also the 30 Days of Night mini-series sequel of the same name - Eben and Stella). Eben is sheriff of Barrow; Stella is his estranged wife. Together with a group of people from the village they attempt to survive until the sun comes out again (including Mark Boone Junior (Flass - Batman Begins, and Wristcutters (!)) and Joel Tolbeck (Ghost Rider)). In addition, the Stranger is played by Ben Foster (Angel - X-Men: The Last Stand, The Punisher).

While it was a good movie, I think that it fell a bit short as a horror film. It just wasn't scary - it was very intense, extremely suspenseful, and very, very bloody - but it's not going to keep me up at night. (Not like that creepy girl in Ringu. *shudder*) It's an interesting take on the vampire tale, and I thought it was worth the time and money spent. It's got a lot of the sensibilities of the comic (which I just finished a little while ago). The story strays somewhat (as is expected), but there are a lot of scenes and lines lifted right from the page.

Dark Horse Comics had a credit (see their name up on the credits at the beginning) - apparently, Mike Richardson (founder of Dark Horse) had some hand in getting it made; he's actually in the IMDB credits as producer (as well as Timecop, The Mask, Hellboy, Son of the Mask, the upcoming Hellboy 2, and the Hellboy animated movies). I probably missed his name in the movie credits. Sam Raimi (director of Spider-Man 1, 2, and 3, and Darkman; producer on Darkman II, III, and Timecop, and the upcoming Priest) is also listed as producer.

See it if you like horror films.

Don't see it if blood makes you a bit squeamish.

No comments: