Friday, November 30, 2007
30 Days of Night
My expectations weren't high for this one, mostly due to the presence of Josh Hartnett, who seems to doom every film he touches. So it was a great surprise to see the subject of vampires given new life and rebuilt with respect for its Nosferatu (Murnau) and Vampyr (Dreyer) foundations into a chilly and grim modern tale. 30 Days of Night chooses an underexploited backdrop -- a small Alaskan down during its month of ceaseless night. These vampires are genuinely creepy, though a few look to have escaped from a Marilyn Manson road crew. Their unknown and ancient language, reportedly made up by the writers, sounds Germanic, which again recalls the past's best vampires. The film is hyper-grisly for sure, but rightly sparing in story details that might spoil the menace of the vampires. How did they find this town? Where did they come from? What happened to the passengers on the ship they arrived on? What's going to happen next winter? Ben Foster is great as The Stranger. Few young actors are such consistent and believable nutcases. And Hartnett is actually watchable! I'm looking forward to reading the original graphic novels.