30 Days of Night - Horror Sandwich
| 30 Days of Night is like a sandwich. Wedged between a week beginning and ending is a fairly good horror movie.
The problem with each is different. In the beginning, the problem is that the set up is far to rushed. I guess the film maker wanted to get to the good stuff. The town's descent into unspeakable horror is glossed over with blink and you miss them (a la Hostel) attacks that don't let you feel the horror building. The suspense just isn't effectively created. In very little time we get an overview shot of the town being overrun with vampires but it's so quick to this point that it just doesn't feel right.
However, once the film gets to the meat part of the story, the survival, it starts to get good. Now the film makers don't hold back. They start to show the vampires as something truly horrific and 30 Days of Night starts to touch on the desperation of the captives. There are a number of truly effective scenes which manage to be scary. The film starts to deliver on its great premise.
And what a smart premise it is. Why didn't vampires think of this before? Why not set up shop in a part of the world that doesn't see sunlight for days? Sure, the problem becomes what to do when the sunlight returns (it will be sunlight for 30 days straight too) but the film doesn't really get to that. There is never an explanation of how these creatures who survived for centuries expect to survive daybreak.
I guess the film doesn't know where to go with that because at the end it falls into a disappointing end. If you don't want to know the ending stop reading here. I would hate to spoil it for you but I have to discuss the ending to discuss what I didn't like about it.
You see, the main character decides to go all Blade on us and turn himself into a vampire so he can fight them. Huh?! To put this into perspective, imagine that the characters in 28 Days Later decided the best way to fight the zombies was to become one. The film first establishes that those who become vampires take on all the killer instincts of the beasts. Why would he be able to maintain his nobility long enough to use his new power to fight the masses of vampires left? The character lamely explains that he witnessed others transform and maintain "who they were" for a short while. Yet we are to believe that he becomes powerful enough to fight off a heard of vampires immediately while maintaining his humanity long enough to stay on the side of right. It just doesn't add up.
Another problem with 30 Days of Night is how it clocks time. It makes a point of counting down the days. Near the end it has a character announce that it is one day until sunrise. Almost immediately a battle happens and the sun comes up. Huh? Was that supposed to be 24 hours? Or even 12? Or does the film, which calls itself 30 Days of Night, play that loose with the timeline?
If you can sit through the beginning and stomach the end, the middle is a good ride.