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Thursday, 24 December 2009

30 Days of Night (Movie version - 2007)

These vampires don't sparkle. This is more like it. I've always wished there were more movies where vampires were utter beasts instead of woeful fops, and 30 Days of Night gave me exactly what I wanted.

The graphic novel, by the legendary team of Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith, was a masterpiece of twisted comics storytelling, with a tight script and disturbing artwork that perfectly captured the chill of the setting and the madness of events that unfold in its pages.

When the movie was greenlit, many fans were worried that the film would be a poor imitation of that stupendous first graphic novel in the 30 Day of Night series, but when the film hit, those worries were largely silenced. 30 Days of Night is a violent, brutal and scary movie that hits all of the beats of the graphic novel, and also does a grand job of translating Ben Templesmith's gorgeous and unnerving artwork into moving images.

Josh Hartnett and Melissa George are superb in the lead roles. I'm not a fan of either of them really, but they're on fine form here, as are the rest of the cast as their characters are put through all hell while fending off a horde of animalistic vampires.

The limited colour palette of the film gives the tale the same washed out, nightmarish quality as the source material, and the little CG touches on the faces of the vampires are subtle enough to pull them out of normal proportion while keeping them grounded in reality.

The pacing and direction are excellent, tension winding tighter and tighter until that marvelously downbeat ending. This is far from being a fluffy, romantic vampire flick. These vamps are utter, demented bastards that deserve to be feared. There's blood, characters you give a toss about, a frightening location and a relentlessly claustrophobic story that deserves every bit of praise it gets. 30 days of Night is certainly the best widely released vampire film that there's been in a very long time indeed. Take a bite.

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