Movies with a touch of realism always work. Even in the world of fantasy and make-believe, that film strikes the right chords when a sense of ‘believability’ is set as teh platform for the story. ‘The Dark Knight’, ‘Ironman’, The Chronicles of Narnia, Harry Potter… the list goes on. Each of these movies were set in real times, in real situations and then rose to the climax where the superhuman and paranormal were justifiably interspersed in these settings. ‘30 days of Night‘ is one of those movies.
I caught this movie last Friday evening on HBO. The IPL has turned out to be a pure drain on channel space and I switched on to this Josh Hartnett vehicle. I am not a fan of this guy having watched Lucky Number Slevin – an overrated piece of crap with very mediocre acting. The only worthwhile effort of this actor seems to be Sin City… that too he hardly had enough scenes to make an impression. Anyway, getting back to ’30 Days…’, the reviews for this film were quite good and I was curious about the movie after hearing the story. Vampires attacking the remotest county in the whole of US i.e. Barrow, Alaska, and making hay turn red while the sun stopped shining during the winter.
The movie starts with a foreboding feeling. As the inhabitants get ready for 30 days of the harshest wintry darkness, there is always that dreadful feeling in the air that something bad is going to happen and the mood of the film conveys this without any in-your-face scenes. Hartnett plays the righteous sheriff in this county and starts investigating a series of animal killings and weird happenings in the town. The movie slowly unfolds bringing out the vampires as they feast on the towns inhabitants while speaking to each other in some absurdly corny language.
I liked 30 Days of Night just for the mood of the movie. In a way it brought back memories of another (not exactly similarly themed) movie – John Carpenter’s ‘The Thing’, where scientists in a remote Antarctic station get cornered by an alien. Hartnett and the rest of the cast here did a pretty good job. No hamming, no overacting, no screeching, not too many false alarms with jarring bass notes. the second half of the film did descend into a bit of ‘Dawn of the Dead’ territory, keeping this aside I would not write-off this film.
This is one of the best horror films made of late and would make the top 10 in best comic book adaptations. Creatively bankrupt Hollywood failed to recognise this pitch from Steve Niles who initially came to the studios with a script for a movie. The rejected script was then turned into a graphic novel and the rest is history. Script pitches don’t seem to be working in Hollywood. You need to have a graphic novel on hand, a spec for a reboot of some 1970s franchise or a dog-eared diary that lists out a sequel for some dumb long forgotten film.