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30 Days of Night

(2007, Slade)

"When man meets a force he can't destroy, he destroys himself. What a plague you are."

Vampire lore establishes that they can only come out at night. This certainly gives potential victims a certain window for which to look for while trying to survive. But what if it was nighttime for a whole month? That is the twist that 30 Days of Night puts in the vampire sub-genre.

Set in Barrow, Alaska during winter, the film follows a group of people as they prepare for their month-long polar night. Sheriff Eben Oleson (Josh Hartnett) seems to be on top of everything, except his own marriage as his estranged wife Stella (Melissa George) is looking forward to move to the mainland USA.

With the polar night on top of them, a band of ruthless vampires led by Marlow (Danny Huston) attack the town. Without the hope of daytime, survivors are forced to seek shelter for the month-long period. The film then follows the typical storyline of survivors in hiding having to deal with each other. Will they destroy themselves, or will they destroy their tormentors?

This is a film that, for some reason, I hadn't seen and now I have to wonder why. It was definitely a lot of fun that felt like a jolt of energy into a sub-genre that seems to need one more often than not. The whole premise of survivors trapped with vampires free of the constraints of sunlight should be unnerving enough. However, this also leads to the pace feeling a bit chopped off as a result of a couple of time jumps that feel a bit abrupt.

Hartnett and George were pretty good as the leads, and the whole supporting cast was solid. As usual, Ben Foster was a treat as a stranger that arrives at the town warning of the incoming threat. Huston also seemed to be relishing his role as the threatening Marlow, although I think the whole band of vampires could've done with a bit more personality and charisma. Still, they looked menacing enough and were menacing to keep us on edge for 2 hours, or 30 days.