Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

There were no Black people in this movie.  Now before somebody reads this and gets all upset, goes Grand Wizard on me on and wants to call me a dirty name (click here if you can’t think of one), I only mention that there are no Black people in ’30 Days of Night’ maybe because it’s based on a graphic novel and there were no Black people in that, but more so I mention it to point out the accuracy of this film by not having any Black people in this movie.  ’30 Days of Night’ is set in a place called Barrow Alaska which is about a half a block south of the Arctic Circle.  Hell, it could be IN the Arctic Circle for all I know.  And it’s cold.  And I’m not talking Milwaukee winter cold either.  And it’s like this all the damn time.  Polar bears have been heard muttering ‘Damn its cold bro’.  Black people hate the cold, and that’s not a generalization.  So you see putting Black People in this movie, even just one, would be akin to putting a White man in a movie about Native Americans and then that White man ending up being their chief or something.  It would be ridiculous!  As a matter of fact there is a scene in this film when Josh Harnett’s character of Eban Olsen, faced with a particularly dire situation explains to the few survivors of this town the advantages over these monsters that the residents have.  He says ‘Why do we live here? Because nobody else can!’ and if he had put at the end of that sentence, ‘Especially Black people!’ I wouldn’t have been mad at him.

Once a year, 30 days of darkness falls on Barrow Alaska.  Most people can’t do without the sun for thirty days so they high tail out and the town is basically populated by essential personnel and those who don’t mind the dark so much.  Sheriff Eban Olsen (Hartnett) is investigating a few strange happenings in his chilly town, as people either leave or prepare for the darkness, such as all of the Satellite phones being destroyed, a man having all of his sled dogs murdered, the town helicopter being

disabled and a few other peculiar vandalistic crimes.  Eban’s stress level is heightened because his estranged wife Stella (Melissa George) is in town for some work she has to do and doesn’t even bother to call as Eban is hoping the two can reconcile.  Stella isn’t trying to live in darkness for thirty days either, but circumstance force her to miss her plane so stuck in the dark town she is.  An appearance is made by a rather grungy rotten toothed man in town know only as The Stranger (Ben Foster) who is very confrontational and having gotten himself thrown in little local clink, spits out all kinds of venomous things about death coming and whatnot, completely freaking everybody out.

Perhaps they should have asked somebody because death has arrived in the form of a gang of the meanest, most violent, vile looking, brutal vampires ever recorded on film.  Plus they are damn near invincible, impervious only to sunlight, which ain’t coming for another thirty days and getting their heads chopped off is the only way to kill them –good luck with that one.  Insatiable would be a word to describe these creatures as they run through the residents of this town like a three month old through Similac, leaving only a handful of survivors who must make it thirty days until dawn comes again.  The Vampires though, led by a monster calling himself Marlow (Danny Huston), finds it imperative that they ALL die, giving other humans no warning of their existence, and the freedom to feast, if only once a year on any town that experiences 30 days of night.

With each successive film I watch I often state that ‘This is probably the most violent film I’ve ever seen’ and well, ’30 Days of Night’ is probably the most violent film I’ve ever seen until the next most violent film I’ve ever seen.  Lestat de Lioncourt these guys aren’t.  We aren’t given much back of a back story on where these creatures came from and what made them the way they are, we only know that they hate humans and they are unnecessarily MEAN.  Don’t these guys know that happy meat is good meat?  This ambiguity worked just fine for me for these characters, as they are portrayed, didn’t seem to interested in explaining much of anything anyway.  The frigid Arctic atmosphere reminded me another film set in a similar location in John Carpenter’s ‘The Thing’ which at one time years ago was ‘The Most Violent movie I had ever seen’.  There’s something about the cold and the darkness which lends itself fear and dread and director David Slade, who managed to make a thirteen year old girl scary in ‘Hard Candy’ uses this setting to its utmost advantage.

A few things I wondered about though while watching this film, such as the monsters sure were greedy in eating up the townsfolk.  You would have thought they would save a few instead eating them all of them that first day, as they sure tried to do.  The monsters were presented as almost omnipresent, able to see and hear everything, but were always conveniently doing something else when the script required that the survivors needed to walk across town unencumbered to move a plot point along.  There was also this big fight scene at the end which also kind of struck me as silly and a bit anticlimactic.

Overall though I reasonably enjoyed the gore-fest that is ‘30 Days of Night’.  I’ve completely given up on a movie actually scaring me anymore at this point in my life and simply hope to be entertained, and though this film didn’t cause me to jump out my seat, it did manage to entertain me just fine.  A movie about a white man becoming the chief of a bunch of Indians.  That’s just too funny.

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