30 Days of Night Review

Lured by the scent of warm red blood and the cold, pitch black dark of the month long winter solstice of all day night up in remote Alaska, a screeching pack of presumably Eastern European ancient vampires migrates across the Atlantic Ocean to Barrow, Alaska without benefit of green cards. And with the malevolent intent to party hearty 24/7 and enjoy the open bar, so to speak, in David Slade’s nasty guzzler orgy, 30 Days of Night. Based on the Steve Niles graphic novel, this oddly humorous horror feeding frenzy on frozen turf finds Danny Huston as the head honcho of a ragtag pack of wilding vampires, high decibel screamers with beaks full of bad teeth talking in subtitles, and into necking with humans. These compulsive drinkers, whose many vices don’t happen to include nail biting, also possess long, pointy fingernails that come in handy for playing LP records.

Possibly biting off more than he can chew, Hard Candy indie director David Slade moves on from pedophile revenge fantasy to this Alaskan blood feast. Called into duty to suppress the appetites of the cannibalistic hordes and part time oil pipeline pyromaniacs angry at the human race and encircling Barrow, are fearless, take charge Sheriff Eben (Josh Harnett) and his sidekick law-and-order ex-spouse Stella (Melissa George).

And when the freaked humans gather for safety at the local downtown greasy spoon, they find to their misfortune that it’s them on the menu. Hartnett’s dismayed sheriff ends up running around town chopping away at the undead illegal aliens with an ax, after the brainy bilingual monsters pull the plug on his scheme to sunlamp them all into oblivion with grandma’s pot growing electric paraphernalia. But in the weirdest of apocalyptic plot turns, the sheriff figures out he can beat them by joining them, and gets into dirty needles in order to shoot up some bad blood and meet the challenge of those overindulgent feeding fanatics who haven’t yet lost their heads. Apparently, there’s something about blood that kicks in like a protein shake – even if it tends to rot your teeth – and turns these over the hill immortals with ill will into super-athletes, who toss around their human prey like pro-wrestlers diving into a mosh pit.

Sam Raimi claimed producer rights to the graphic novel screen incarnation of 30 Days of Night and Slade is into matching the scare guru’s stellar credentials, with mixed results. Though that red blood smearing the white snow-covered nocturnal streets makes for some fairly impressive arty gore.

SONY Pictures

Rated R

2.5 stars

Prairie Miller is a New York multimedia journalist online, in print and radio, who reviews movies and conducts in-depth interviews. She can also be heard on WBAI/Pacifica National Radio Network’s Arts Express.