’30 Days’ should rot in hell

Andrew Gaug

Photo Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

Credit: Ron Soltys

30 Days Of Night

Starring Josh Hartnett, Melissa George and Ben Foster

Directed by David Slade

Distributed by Columbia Pictures

Rated R Runtime 113 min.

Stater rating (out of five): 0.5

There are only two things viewers will learn from 30 Days of Night: Vampires apparently speak in long and pointless monologues and the bloodsucker genre should have died five years ago.

When the movie begins, 30 Days of Night feels similar to The Thing. The frosty town of Barrow, Alaska, is facing an entire month of darkness and the few characters the movie formally introduces, led by Pearl Harbor’s Josh Hartnett, prepare for the desolation and gloom that will come with it.

Then cell phones are found burnt to a crisp, power goes out all over town and people begin to die. As a stealthy group of vampires begins to do away with everyone in the town, audiences will begin to sympathize with the dead. Not because they were characters we care about, but because they got out of the movie early.

Similar to the vampire-centric Underworld, 30 Days of Night is based on a popular series of comic books. Admittedly, I have never read them, but it already edges out the movie since it features one of the most wooden casts in movie history.

Josh Hartnett, a decent actor despite his inability to show human emotion, is miscast as the heroic Sheriff Eben Olemaun. Granted, the script does him no favors as it mainly has him either screaming orders or giving his usual puppy-dog face, but as the leader of an entire town against a seemingly ruthless and cunning group of bloodsuckers, he’s not believable. Add that with his former love-interest Stella, played even more stiffly by Turista’s Melissa George, and you’ve got a romantic subplot that almost reaches Twister-levels of pointlessness and absurdity.

Director David Slade took 2005’s Hard Candy and was able to balance cruelty and torture with character depth and emotion. With this movie, he’s directing a story that is ugly only for the sake of being ugly.

People are all but disemboweled by the vampires, often at length, for no other purpose than for the movie to be as violent and numbing as possible. In the movie’s first 20 minutes, it goes from being a psychological horror movie in the vein of The Thing and 28 Days Later to an almost graphic melee of torture with stereotypical horror characters so stupid that their deaths are nothing more than a chance to find a way to use the movie’s endless supply of fake blood.

Even the villains aren’t given any background. They appear, they kill people and occasionally go into long speeches about how more humans must die.

The only nightwalker of interest, played by a clearly lost Ben Foster (3:10 to Yuma), is played up during the first quarter as a big villain. But, as for pretty much everything in the movie, he serves no purpose and, thankfully, his brief time in the movie meant he went on to do better films.

As Halloween approaches, this seems like the horror movie to see, as the only other one will be the fourth installment of the Saw series. Do yourself a favor; instead of seeing the movie, make about three buckets of fake blood and ask a friend to pour it over your head. It will save you two hours of your life and will be more fun than sitting through this.

Contact all correspondent Andrew Gaug at [email protected].