Wednesday, October 01, 2008

30 Days of Night

30 Days of Night- 3 stars (using the new JPX ratings scale)

(A quick Caveat prior to my VERY FIRST HORRORTHON REVIEW! I am NOT a film aficionado. I often pick the newest popular film on the Blockbuster shelves on a Saturday, ‘cause I just don’t want to work that hard… I have never even seen Schindler’s List for this reason. I know I should see it, but on a Saturday night with the Swede I am just looking for some entertainment and possible to get lucky. As Seinfeld taught us, Schindler’s List is not the appropriate move to make-out to. (Besides if your partner is turned on after watching it, that opens up a whole new can of psychological worms…) The point is, I do not examine the director’s vision, or cinematographer’s skill, I just know what I like.
So, I don’t write as well, or in as much detail as Jordan, and I don’t have the film nor horror chops of Octo/JPX/JSP, but I am looking forward to trying to entertain and inform with my amateur reviews.)

This is a vampire movie based on a Graphic Novel that I am sure others are more qualified to discuss. I would rate the premise with 5 stars, and the ending (which I will not reveal) the same rating for originality. I can only imagine that somewhere there are geeks who adored the Graphic Novel, who despise the movie, because the movie takes these flashes of brilliant originality and makes an average horror movie out of them.

The movie takes place in Barrow, Alaska, which we learn is the northernmost town in Alaska and falls into darkness for an entire month each year. We join this little town of misfits just before the darkness falls.

Our hero is Sheriff Oleson (Josh Hartnett), who is mourning the separation from his wife even as he is discovering little hints that something is amiss. I have to admit here that I don’t dislike Hartnett, and he doesn’t detract from the movie, but he is like Chinese Take-out. He’s fine at the time, but I can’t even remember he was in the movie as soon as it ends.

As the month of darkness falls the town is overrun with some of the coolest looking Vamps I have seen in film in a long time. Led by Marlow (David Huston), these ain’t your Daddy’s Dracula. They have black eyes, an entire mouth full of fangs, and the make-up artists have made their faces look like a surrealist painting come to life…there is just something…off…about them. They move fast, hit hard, and take out almost the entire town in their first attack-wave.

We are left with the same rag-tag bunch of survivors we have seen in a million movies before. The reluctant-hero sheriff, his estranged wife (ohhhh, do you think they will fall back into love?…yawn.), the young man who learns to be brave, the town curmudgeon (who gets to redeem his grumpy ways), blah, blah, blah. Our humans learn to chop the heads off the vamps with axes, hide in attics of the empty homes around town (ala Anne Frank), and make a heroic last stand.

The stars here are our vamps, they hunt in packs, use terrified children as bait to lure out the adults, and speak their own language (For which we get subtitles). The only time we hear them speak English is when Marlow leans into a young lady who exclaims “Oh, God!”, when she realizes she is about to get drained. Marlow looks up to the heavens as if searching for something, leans in to the terrified girl, and growls “God? No, God.”, then he eats.

The reason for the three stars is the dark mood of the movie, the fantastic premise, and the originality of the Vampires. This is yet another movie that could have been so much better than it was (see Underworld). If I was a Vampire, I would get tired of hiding all day too. I love the idea that they prey on small isolated towns that stay dark for long stretches of time and wipe them out. I just wish the premise had been supported by a script and star worthy of its genius.


AC said...

first blood miko! bravo, sir! and a great review to boot. :)

Catfreeek said...

Yay Miko, nice review.

Landshark said...

Cool, this one is on my "to see" list. Sounds fun. Love the description of Josh Hartnett.

JPX said...

Imagine my delight to turn on my work computer this morning to see a fresh review from a new participant! Then imagine my annoynace that a new participant got the first review out. Now picture my annoyance that I couldn't post a comment on my damn blog because my work computer is as tempermental as Whitney Houston running out of crack. Imagine my annoyance that I see Catfreeek just posted a review. Horrorthon!

DCD said...

First strike to miko!! Awesome review. I'd like to see this one as well.

Johnny Sweatpants said...

And we're off! Nice one Miko. I did not expect you to strike first!

I fell asleep watching this one in the theater with 50Page last year but I enjoyed the first 20 minutes or so!

What do the vampires do in the summer when it's sunlight 23 hours a day?

Octopunk said...

Go to Antartica and live on penguin blood.

Hats off to Miko! First blood and a great review. I'd heard "meh" about this but good to hear the idea's good, at least.

JPX, your comment is funny. DCD, dig the new avvie.

Whirlygirl said...

Miko, you wrote a terrific review. Thoroughly enjoyable. I too loved the Josh Harnett Chinese takeout comment.

JSP, yay to you for falling asleep in movie theaters. I'm glad I'm not the only one.

I'm worried I might fall asleep tonight watching movies. I stayed up too late last night, looked through obituaries all day at work, came home did tons of school work, wrote my review, read everyone’s reviews, and now I want to sleep, but I can't because I have movies to watch. That's the spirit of Horrorthon.

50PageMcGee said...

i was kind of bummed that jsp conked out so early. that was the first paired horrorthon viewing i had that didn't include octopunk. it was supposed to be a special night.

ah, just as well: any of you who have seen a movie in the movie theater with Pants can attest to how chatty he is when he's disappointed in what he's watching. so i got all that quiet time to sit there and be disappointed by myself.

incidentally, my review of 30DoN can be read here.

as you see Miko, i'm totally with you on the bitchin premise and the star rating.

Julie said...

Too bad it's not that great. I remember seeing the trailers and thinking it was a cool idea. Way to be first!