30 Days of Night

| October 21, 2007

Despite being released by Sony/Columbia, 30 Days of Night suffers from what I like to call “Lion’s Gate Syndrome.” This is where a potentially decent idea for a film is ruined by low production value. This flick was apparently shot for $50 million, but for some strange reason it looks like it was shot for $50. Maybe shooting in the harsh weather conditions became expensive? Perhaps Josh Harnett and Stuart Beattie’s paychecks made up for a large portion? Or it could be possible that the producers were SMOKING FUCKING CRACK.
I really got behind the idea of this movie. I truly did. When it was first announced a few years ago (The Rock was previously attached to star) I immediately was attracted to its kickass concept: vampires flock to a small Alaskan town as they enter an annual month with 30 days of darkness. Simple, right? Then when I heard Josh Hartnett was going to star I got even more excited. I really dig the dude and his previous flicks (Lucky Number Slevin, Sin City, etc.). But for whatever reason, the studio just didn’t put enough money behind this flick as they should have. This resulted in most of the scenes being shot in shaky-cam mode, which annoys the shit out of me. Sure, if done effectively it can be a useful filming tool (like, say, United 93?) but it was almost as if the director was too lazy to shoot any real action sequences so he just said “let’s just make the lighting dark and the camera so shaky that they won’t realize we’re not shooting shit!” What makes or breaks a horror movie these days are the kills and gore. While there were a couple of cool kills and a moderate amount of gore, the majority of these scenes were ruined by the curse of the hand-held camera. And the marketing campaign is all wrong. The posters look ridiculous (they remind me of House of the Dead and every other Uwe Boll movie) and the film quality of the trailers are too dark and shitty to make out what’s going on.
Then we move on to the script, which doesn’t make much sense. Where did these vampires come from? Is there any way to kill them besides sunlight? The characters spend most of the movie trying to switch locations throughout the town with no real purpose except to achieve new scenery. If they just had stuck together, stayed the hell put and kept quiet then it seemed that things would blow over. Not to mention the movie spends an enormous amount of time alluding to back story between our two leads (Hartnett and Melissa George) which is never fully explained. And Ben Foster annoys me just as much as he did in 3:10 to Yuma. Could you just play a normal role, dude? Why do you always have to make your characters so fucking weird? The best thing this flick has going for it is its two leads. Like I said, I’m a fan of Hartnett, and despite the shitty script he gave a lot of great depth to his performance. Most of his emotions were channeled non-verbally which is hard to do in the midst of a C-grade horror movie. And Melissa George did what she could with her character as well. I definitely felt the chemistry between these two. Too bad we didn’t get more back story with them. And the way their story ends (as well as the movie itself) was retarded. Too bad I can’t talk about it without ruining it.
If you absolutely must see this movie, wait for video. There’s no real reason to see it on the big screen unless you want to be more confused as to what’s going on due to choppy editing and shaky-cam. Damn you, Sony! Don’t turn into Lion’s Gate!

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