The Red Right Hand
  www.theredrighthand.co.uk





30 DAYS OF NIGHT
They're Coming

Director
David Slade

Starring
Josh Hartnett
Melissa George
Danny Huston
Ben Foster

There's never a bloody middle ground, is there? Contemporary vampires are either depicted as animalistic monsters or broody tortured ponces. I'm so sick of this crap. I know that sounds oddly steep but I really enjoyed the 30 Days Of Night graphic novel and the way in which the beasties were shown; then again, what worked so beautifully in comic book form has completely failed to deliver when transferred to celluloid.

Set in the northern-most establishment in US-owned territory (the small town of Barrow, Alaska), the story follows the trials and survival tactics of a handful of villagers who have stayed to brave the annual black out (the titular month of nightfall that blankets the town). Just before the impending darkness, a stranger [Foster] arrives to cut off any means of exit or contact with the rest of the world but for whom, or more terrifying, what? MUAHA HA HA *lightning bolt illuminates the room, followed by a crash of thunder* HA HA! So with that plot line (excusing and ignoring my ever-so-slight mental breakdown toward the end), the film should have emulated such classics as Night Of The Living Dead, The Thing or The Shining instead we are treated to a piss-flop mess like AVP. Every hideously unbearable cliché is followed to the letter; the loud guy, the dumb guy, the hero guy [Hartnett], the blonde girly... guy [George], the bad guy [Huston], the wimpy sibling, blah blah; boring! I genuinely cannot understand how the plot and characters of the comic felt so original in their printed form and yet so ludicrous on-screen. Before dissecting the film itself, I would just like to quickly draw a few parallels and inconsistencies between film and comic. First of all, the comic felt amazingly atmospheric and the pre-panel opener 'Day 17' made sense, as opposed to the reaction I had to the movie's bearing on time: 'Really?' The plot tracked the comic relatively healthily but some of the most important aspects (namely the history and back-story of the vampires) was completely left out - a quick example is that the film highlights Marlow as leader of the vampires, however in the comic he is second in command. It's only when the true leader, Vincante, discovers his plan that he confronts Marlow, explaining they have tried to keep their species a secret for years and that his plan is a mistake.

Two technical sections now; the vampires and the humans. I fucking hated the vampires. Yes, they were animalistic, yes they looked accurate to the comic but I am so sick of stupid contemporary vampires with their gaping mouths and their wobbly, tilting heads. That's all they do, wiggle their heads around and scream… a lot. To be honest, my initial thoughts regarding Danny Huston were that he was completely miscast but I must confess he pulled off an interesting, Slavic-orientated look/role that proved interesting. I don't recollect any part of the comic implying that the vampires spoke anything other than English but it was an interesting touch. The humans were equally annoying; morons the lot of 'em. I really didn't like any of the cookie-cutter characters or the actor's performances. The best word to sum up the whole experience would be, "Meh." Josh Hartnett stared all the time, like some lost puppy and Melissa George's familiar I look like Maria Bello and Estella Warren's love child sort of face just distracted the hell out of me; especially considering their characters' split, which was not present in the comic, served no additional purpose and was poorly fleshed out. I know it's been a fairly damning review but I would like to close with a few positive points. First of all, the end credits, a montage/medley of innocent photographs of the towns people and secondly, Brian Reitzell's extremely commendable, atmospheric score.

Final comment: The teeth; no, not the Vampire teeth, the regular ones. My God, they annoyed the piss out of me. Almost everyone had these overwhelming, bright, protruding chomping pegs. I know that's not uncommon in the states but these were really intimidating and unnatural looking; even my American girlfriend made a comment.

Release Date:
24th October 2007

The Scene To Look Out For:
I very much enjoyed 'The UV Plan' scene, if only for its sheer stupidity. I realise that's a very short explanation too but the same applies here.

Notable Characters:
Ben Foster was interesting as The Stranger, with his dodgy teeth, crazy Cajun accent and underwhelming exit. Very short explanation, I know but I don't want to ruin the film for anyone thinking of watching - I'm a pretty reasonable guy sometimes.

Highlighted Quote:
"We'll be alright, we've got the walkie-talkies"

In A Few Words:
"Fantastic graphic novel, terrible film"

Total Score:
4/10


Matthew Stogdon