Steve Niles, Stuart Beattie, Brian Nelson and Ben Templesmith
Josh Hartnett as Eben Oleson
Melissa George as Stella Oleson
Danny Huston as Marlow
Ben Foster as The Stranger
Mark Boone Junior as Beau Brower
This movie scared the Bejesus out of me and I can’t say that about many vampire films. While they are generally graphic, often with lavish costumes and interesting characters (Interview with a Vampire), 30 Days of Night is actually chilling and horrifying – just what a vampire movie should be!
The setting is Burrows, a town in Northern Alaska that shuts down for “30 days of night” during which there is literally no sun for a month. A handful of townspeople remain during this period each year and this time they’re in for real treat. You see, being nocturnal killers, any place with 30 days of night would be a vampire’s Utopia. So we assume a random vampire somewhere – maybe in Cleveland or Rochester – read about this town, immediately called his friends and they all started packing.
As Burrows begins to clear out in anticipation of the last sunset, Sherriff Eben and his estranged wife Stella end up rescuing the townspeople (or so they think) from a madman that burns cell phones, kills dogs and rambles on about how “they’re coming to get you”. Unfortunately no sooner is the door to the madman’s jail cell locked when Eben and Stella realize he was the least of their problems.
Now the vampires arrive. In a horrific scene of blood, snow and fangs they massacre the unsuspecting townspeople. Only a handful survive, including our friends who manage to hide themselves in a boarded up house attic.
In the midst of the terror, violence and chaos we actually find a little love story. Eben and Stella, in the face of what’s going on, begin to realize that whatever problems they had before were really not that big a deal. Couples counseling apparently did not have the same success at saving their marriage as did fear of losing loved ones, excruciating death, etc. Who knew?
The lead vampire Marlow is hauntingly reminiscent of the vampire in 1922’s Nosferatu, equally sinister and even more compelling. He speaks in his native tongue but the subtitles let us know he is calculated in his mission – to spread the vampire seed and not let one human being in this town escape the curse. I would think the ruthless Marlow is exactly the type of person you would want to be your leader if you were a \vampire, although he may be equally as effective as a football coach. Either way.
You have to hand it to these Burrows townspeople banning together to fight a common enemy. They have to ax their own friends-turned vampires, run over vampires with tractors and even behead little girls. Granted they must be a little gutsy to want to stay in the dark for 30 days to begin with, but still. One man actually shoots his wife and children to spare them a less humane death. Actually that was weird. But you get the picture. The vampires have met their match!
The ending? Remember the back story of Eben and Stella? Let’s just say in the end it is love that saves the day…or rather the 30 days of night.