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"30 Days of Night"

Directed by David Slade ("Hard Candy").
Written by Steve Niles, Stuart Beattie and Brian Nelson.  Based on the comic by Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith.
Starring Josh Hartnett, Melissa George, Danny Huston and Ben Foster.
Release Year:  2007
Review Date:  10/25/07

Folks--

"30 Days of Night" gives me brief hope once again that horror flicks have a future.  Thanks to impressive visuals and that oft-attempted but rarely captured mood of I'm-sitting-in-the-theater-and-I-could-jump-at-any-moment, this vampire horror flick works because of that nasty sense of foreboding danger for our heroes/good guys & gals.

The film takes place right before a month-long blackout in the northernmost town in Alaska.  As it turns out, a stranger (Ben Foster, who needs to really consider expanding his acting palette) comes into town right before this blackout as a scout for a group of evil vampires bent on devouring the entire 500-person town.  Wise to this evil plot is town sheriff Eben Oleson (Josh Hartnett), who leads a small band of random survivors and his ex-girlfriend (Melissa George, from the third season of "Alias") in a fight for survival, between killing off some of these crazy vampires and surviving 30 days and nights without much food, resources and power.  Oh, and watch your back: if you get bitten by one of these bad boys, you turn into one of 'em!!!

Is "30 Days of Night" great?  I don't think so, but it IS a fun, violent, suspenseful fantasy that mixes enough of the real world in to make this a unique experience.  That makes it good, and for some of us--those who wish PG-13 horror films would die an NC-17 death--this is pure heaven.  The visuals are really great, and the strange faces of the vampires really never gets old; something about those faces and the way their eyes and teeth look just really freak me out.  We even get character actor Danny Huston (he's been a bit player in like 20 movies in the last few years) as the lead vampire; using a mix of some made-up vampire language, incredibly-detailed vampire teeth and this really cool blank stare, Huston actually carves out an interesting scary guy here.

Yep, it's too long, especially with a set up of vampires attack on Day 1 of the no-sunrise period, kill 95% of the town by Day 2 and we wait for everyone left to sweat it out for 28 days.  And, even though I thought it was cool-looking, the ending is a bit empty.  But, the meat of it and the sheer nasty level of the violence make for some good watchin', and when you are talking about horror movies, that's all this simple man ever asks for!  Check this one out if you have the stomach for it...

Rating:  $9.50 Show

 

Comments?  Drop me a line at justin@bellviewmovies.com.

 

Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/bellviewmovies.com except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09