30 Days of Night

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Rating: R

Starring:
Josh Hartnett as Sheriff Eben Oleson
Melissa George as Stella Oleson
Danny Huston as Marlow
Ben Foster as The Stranger
Mark Boone Junior as Beau Brower
Mark Rendall as Jake Oleson
Amber Sainsbury as Denise
Manu Bennett as Deputy Billy Kitka
Megan Franich as Iris
Joel Tobeck as Doug Hertz
Elizabeth Hawthorne as Lucy Ikos
Nathaniel Lees as Carter Davies
Craig Hall as Wilson Bulosan
Chic Littlewood as Issac Bulosan
Peter Feeney as John Riis

Special Features:
Audio Commentary With Josh Hartnett, Melissa George And Producer Rob Tapert
8 Behind The Scene Featurettes:
Pre Production
Building Barrow
The Look
Blood, Guts & The Nasty #@$&!
Stunts
The Vampire
Night Shoots
Casting

Other Info:
Widescreen (2.40:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
French Language
French and Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 113 Minutes

Synopsis:
The following is from the DVD cover:

“Josh Harnett (‘The Black Dahlia,’ ‘Pearl Harbor’) crosses over to the dark side in this bone-chilling adaptation of the cult-hit graphic novel, brought to the screen in all its demonic glory.

In a small Alaskan town, thirty days of night is a natural phenomenon. Very few outsiders visit, until a band of bloodthirsty, deathly pale vampires mark their arrival by savagely attacking sled dogs. But soon they find there are much more satisfying thirst-quenchers about: human beings. One by one, the townspeople succumb to a living nightmare, but a small group survives – at least for now. The vampires use the dark to their advantage, and surviving this cold hell is a game of cat and mouse – and screams.”

“30 Days of Night” is rated R for strong horror violence and language.

Mini-Review:
When I heard Sam Raimi’s company was adapting “30 Days of Night,” I went out and bought the first series issues. (It was still on stands at the time, so I found Issue #2, but never found #1.) Years later, I finally saw the film version and I was suitably impressed. As far as I can recall, it stayed true to the heart of the story while slightly modifying a few minor details for film.

I’m generally not a big fan of horror movies, but I did like “30 Days of Night.” It’s a basic concept that’s so good you have to wonder why nobody had done it before. I think what made it appealing to me was that it was equal mix of survival story, character drama, and horror flick. While there was a bit of gore that went over the top, it never took over the film.

Josh Hartnett and Melissa George make a good team in the film. (Their marriage wasn’t on the rocks in the comics.) While they don’t bring anything particularly unique to their performances, they make a convincing couple and the handle the action well. The supporting cast also has moments to shine here and there. Ben Foster stands out as The Stranger, but his role is disappointingly short. But the vampires are the real stars. They are portrayed fairly different from those in other vampire films. There’s absolutely nothing romantic or seductive about them. They are monsters, pure and simple. There’s some weird CGI going on with their eyes, but it’s effective for giving them a bizarre look.

David Slade makes the unusual transition from independent film (“Hard Candy”) to big budget horror with “30 Days of Night.” He does get some interesting shots of the carnage. There’s a haunting scene where the camera flies over the town as the vampires are attacking. The final scene where the sun returns to Barrow is also beautifully done. But Slade doesn’t shy away from common horror movie clichés. You see a piece of giant rotating machinery and can guess how a vampire is going to die an hour before it happens. You also have the typical “character walks backwards and runs into a vampire scene”. I could have lived without these horror staples.

If you’re a fan of vampire movies, Josh Hartnett, or comic writer Steve Niles, then you’ll want to check out “30 Days of Night.”

Upon first glance, it doesn’t look like there are many bonus features on this DVD. But the few that are here pretty much cover everything you’d want to hear about. There’s an Audio Commentary with Josh Hartnett, Melissa George and Producer Rob Tapert. The eight behind the scenes featurettes cover everything else including the stunts, the vampires, the gore, the sets, and more.

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