30 Days of Night

Paul Cook 20/11/2007

Rating: 3.5/5

It's been quite some time since the silver screen saw a half decent vampire flick and finally it's arrived in the form of David Slade's adaptation of Steve Niles' gory horror comic 30 Days of Night. The film, aside from the depiction of the town of Barrow, follows the comic line closely with Josh Hartnett playing brave hero Sheriff Eben Olomaun. Eben defends his Alaskan town from the terror of a hoard of opportunistic vampires as it is plunged into 30 days of darkness.

The film features some particularly on-the-nose acting from the not-so-highly-rated Hartnett as he valiantly leads the remaining survivors across town to safety. Suspense is successfully built up throughout the film ending in some considerably gory shocks and the relentless onslaught of hungry vampires make the near-two hour film fly by. Despite being somewhat of a cliché released around Halloween, 30 Days of Night is a viscerally impressive horror film.

But it's far from perfect as its narrative structure and script lets down a promising film. The first half hour is pleasing with a well structured, nicely rounded storyline with the right mixture horror, action and romantic threads to keep the audience entertained. Unfortunately once the first week of darkness has fallen and the plan to survive has been decided, Harnett's group of hunted townspeople manage to survive for another eleven days and the film fails to show how. Huge pieces of the story are left out with only three to five days of the thirty being shown in the film. The next leap takes us from day 18 to day 27 and again we know nothing of the previous nine days.

Further adding to this overly problematic structure, obvious solutions to the vampire threat are forgotten until half way through such as the huge, tree-cutting digger which manages to decimate a number of vampires with ease. Where was this in the first two weeks? Aside from a few strikingly obvious problems with the film's story and script, 30 Days of Night is an enjoyable shock-fest with enough surprisingly good acting, gore and tension to please the majority of viewers. Most importantly this could be the start of a shift for Hartnett from cheesy, teen rom-coms to more substantial, involving films such as this.