Director: David Slade
Writers: Steve Niles, Stuart Beattie & Brian Nelson (screenplay)
Stars: Josh Hartnett, Melissa George, Danny Huston
From comic writer Steve Niles (who also co-wrote the screenplay) we have a no-holds barred schlock gore-fest of a vampire movie. Niles had pitched this idea many years earlier and was met with a rather negative response from various studios. Eventually it was taken up, and what a splatter-fest we are served up.
The films opening scene is fantastic as we see what appears to be to be an abandoned ship against the backdrop of cold blue and ice. It really is a great shot in my opinion. A stranger has arrived on shore and starts to make his way through the snow towards town. The town is question is Barrow, Alaska, which is about to endure thirty days of night from December to January.
We are then slowly introduced to the characters of the town. The local sheriff (Hartnett) is doing his rounds before the sun sets. We quickly learn that his estranged wife Stella (George in another great performance) is leaving for the winter along with many other residents. Naturally, an accident messes up this plan and she is forced to spend the winter in Barrow. Various bad things then start to befall the residents of this soon-to-be blacked out town.
The stranger is arrested after an altercation at the local diner and we soon figure out that he is responsible for the strange happenings, citing ‘they’ are coming. Now, in terms of plot tightness etc, this is where the film lets itself down somewhat. Could he have really sabotaged some of the things he supposedly did? It’s a little far-fetched, but within the context of the story it just about works. It’s a horror film folks, just go with it.
This is when the vampires make their long-awaited appearance and all hell breaks loose. The proverbial shit (or blood in this case) really does hit the fan. Now this film has received a lot of mixed reviews and quite some negativity. Sure the plot is a little loose at times and as per the course in these types of films, some characters decisions are dubious at best. But all that aside, I feel the negativity is slightly unjust (though I’ll happily agree that the screeching got old very quickly).
The film moves at a reasonably fast pace, has an above average script and has some splendid photography. And gore, lots and lots of gore! The acting is also above average for this kind of splatter-fest horror film. Overall I would say this is a pretty slick horror film, and is certainly above the usual mind-numbing drivel that this genre constantly churns out.
The Sage’s Rating: