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Badmovies.org Forum  |  Movies  |  Good Movies  |  30 Days of Night « previous next »
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Author Topic: 30 Days of Night  (Read 3412 times)
Eric45
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« on: October 21, 2007, 01:20:56 AM »

Also posted at stomptokyo BMMB message board.


Ok, the town of Barrow Alaska plunges into complete darkness for 30 days each winter.  There are no passable roads, and limited communications with the outside world.  A pack of vampires comes to party.  Honestly upon hearing this I thought, Awesome concept.  It practically writes itself.  However I've heard very mixed reviews at best about the comic book so I was curious to see if the movie was any good.  I can safely say it is...sorta.

Night definitely deserves credit for one thing, its plays everything straight, there is no winking at the audience, no comic relief, the horror is played straight from start to finish.  There is also a refreshing lack of the stereotypical nitwits that populate horror movies.  There is no bumbling oaf wandering off to get slaughtered (well, there is kinda, but its for a better, and sadder reason then normal.), no coward who gets everyone killed, no one tries to negotiate with the vampires, no evil government conspiracy  developed the vampires, the vampires themselves are never portrayed as anything more then vicious monsters, (albeit intelligent).  The characters try to work together as best they can, and when the survivors unity starts to crack its because of believable amounts of stress.  There are also no IITS audience pleasing deaths, no one acts like a jerk and gets killed, smoking does not equal death etc.  Indeed, its a downright brutal equal opportunity movie when it comes to who gets killed. 

The movie runs a rather absurd 113 minutes, but I think the movie proper clocked in at more like 100 min, just on the edge of overstaying its welcome.  The movie starts things off fairly quickly and doesn't drag much.  While the mid portion of the movie turns into a extended hiding game that slows everything down the end gets downright intense.

Ok, so the movie is intense, is it scary?  I mentioned in my review of The Descent I don't think movies can genuinely scare you without some cooperation from the viewer, I wasn't in the mood to be scared, so I wasn't, however I did enjoy myself.

The characters are thinly characterized at best.  Town Sheriff Eben Oleson and his wife Stela are really the only ones with any backstory, (The movie does try to add a little backstory to Eben's partner, but honestly the resolution to that was so rushed that I'm still not sure what the director/writer was trying to do.)  For the record, I didn't remember a single name from the movie, Eben was Sheriff, Stela was his wife, and various other characters were named by what features I could draw from the movie.  Having said that, all the actors give creditable performances with what they have, everyone is pretty believable.

Incidentally, yes, this does start out to be one of those “estranged couple rediscovers love after being almost killed/blown up/eaten/impregnated by a alien facehugger” type movies.  While this did elicit a groan from me, the resolution here is slightly different then I expected.

The movie earns its R rating from violence, lots of blood and gore for those who are looking for it.  No nudity that I saw, indeed not a single scene in the entire movie could be considered exploitative in that sense.  Language seemed pretty mild for a otherwise hard R movie. 

So on to the bad stuff.  The movie had several scenes which seemed to either go nowhere or were perhaps part of a second scene that was cut out.  In a couple of scenes, a character appears to be menaced by a vampire, then it cuts away and when it comes back said character is alone and fine.  Characterizations seemed rushed and confusing since its hard to keep track of everyone introduced in the begining.  I felt cheated out of seeing the majority of the first attack on the town.  There are 150 people in Barlow in the winter, but we only see a portion of the initial carnage.  What we do see is pretty good, including a nice overhead scene, but I wanted a bit more.

I think the decision to actually drag the movie over the entire 30 days of darkness might have been a mistake.  Keichi noted in his review on reelopinions that there is little to note the passage of time other then sparse beard growth, and the vampires start to look pretty pathetic after they hang out in a town for weeks on end after they have killed all the available humans.  Don't they have a life?  Perhaps compressing things down to a week would have been better.  Yeah that would make the title of the movie a bit of a cheat but what are you going to do?  (For example, late in the movie, after about 29 days, a very young girl shows up.  Where has she been?  Were the vampires keeping her as a pet, or bait? Or did the writers just decide they needed a someone for plot purposes at this point?)  To say nothing of any eventual investigation into losing contact with the town.  Even Antarctic stations are expected to make occasional contact.

(Sub musing, with spoiler.  At the end of the movie, the Vampires plan to destroy the town by torching it in a oil spill from the Alaska pipeline.  I thought the time frame could have been easily compressed by just having the survivors sabotage the pipeline to get outside help.  This could be a subtle commentary on Energy policy.  Imagine a guy at a monitoring station in Anchorage.  “Hmmm...communications with Barrow have been out for the last 4 days, well, storms can do that...nothing to worry abo...OH MY GOD THERE IS A LEAK IN THE PIPELINE!!!! GET SOME CREWS UP THERE NOW!”)

Finally, the editing.  I won't belabor this point, this is yet another movie with a case of shakycamitis.  I don't think its as bad as say 28 Weeks Later, but its still there.  Since vampires strike from the shadows, and are supposed to be stealthy, I suppose it works better here.  You know if you can tolerate this or not, I hate it, and I'm sure it kept me from giving the movie a unqualified thumbs up, but the concept, and some good scenes and a intense ride combine to make 30 Days of Night a modest success.

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Joe the Destroyer
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« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2007, 04:11:02 AM »

I really liked the graphic novel and still look forward to the film, despite the shaky camera.
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Eric45
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« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2007, 12:43:25 PM »

This should have been posted in reviews.  My bad.
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Jack
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« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2007, 04:53:14 PM »

When I heard about the book I was really excited about the concept, but then I found out it was a comic book  Bluesad  Anyway, I'll probably get this on DVD when it comes out.  Sounds like it should be alright from your review.  I guess I don't mind the shaky cam as much as I detest that childish MTV style Attention Deficit Disorder editing.
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« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2007, 05:17:42 PM »

The movie was decent, but could have been better. And to be honest I found the ending to be a bit of a cheat. Iv'e read other reviews about the twist ending, but I didn't find it that much of a twist and figured it was going to happen. The gore was decent but the shaky camera, which seems so prevelent now days, makes it hard to see the gore sometimes, really the best part is towards the end when the guy losses his hand and gets his head cut off.
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« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2007, 09:27:20 PM »

When I heard about the book I was really excited about the concept, but then I found out it was a comic book  Bluesad 

Whoa, why the hatin' on comic books? What's a comic book ever done to you? Wink

Also, though I dig most of what Steve Niles writes (and I dig everything that Ben Templesmith illustrates), I get a little irked when people (not anyone in particular, just critics as a general statement) used to or still refer to the first "30 Days of Night" mini-series as being something so hugely original that it helped change the face of horror. The idea of vampires raiding an arctic town where it's night for extended periods of time, whether it be 30 days or 6 months, was covered loooooooong ago in an episode of "Tales From the Crypt", so I'm not sure where this became a revolutionary concept along the way. I mean, sure, not everybody saw or remembers that episode, but come on...
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« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2007, 03:18:12 AM »

I'm with Anubis, no need to hate on the Comic if you haven't read it.  Art work is good [not 'comicy'] and it portrayed the 'horror' elements well.  Sure not scary as such, but it was cool all the same.

Not sure how the rest of them are, since apparently there's other 30 Days of Night comics, but certainly the one which the movie is based on is a corker.  I quite enjoyed it.

Also I'm not sure if it's altogether that revolutionary, but it certainly was the first horror-story based comic that I've read in a style which added more 'class' to the project. [ie no spandex, big boobed caricatures, but something more like semi-realistic/stylised painted work, like a gritty Alex Ross or something.]  Not sure how many others really hit the same nerve/even existed to that extent before this one, but it was certainly a nice change of pace.

I'm looking forward to it.  Shaky cam doesn't bother me, even if it's largely a lazy directing tool.

 Thumbup

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AnubisVonMojo
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« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2007, 06:37:10 AM »

I have no problem with the original comic being deemed as "groundbreaking" because it really was something unique in that it was the first genuine horror comic to bleed into a mainstream audience (no pun intended) and it opened the door for a multitude of other horror books to make it past the planning stage. My only issue is when people praise the story idea itself instead of the book as a whole.

For anyone who dug the book, Steve Niles has done a number of mini-series for a character he created called Cal McDonald whose basically a pill-popping supernatural private eye with an Ash attitude. He's also doing a series for DC about a sort of homeless horror-fantasy vigilante called "Simon Dark" that just started last week. And for anyone who dug the art of "30 Days of Night" like Dean and myself, Ben Templesmith's stuff pops up here and there, but the best stuff he's currently doing on a fairly regular basis are the Warren Ellis written "Fell" from Image Comics and his self-written title "Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse". The former is an amazing "nothing-to-lose detective stuck in the most miserable city where some underlying conspiracy is playing out" and the latter is an amusing "parasite worm reanimates corpse to play detective for supernatural crimes while patrolling the portal between our world and a world of Lovecraft type monsters".

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"Don't make me stain my last clean shirt with the back of your head." - Shatter Dead
"A grizzly bear with a chainsaw. Now THERE's a killing machine!" - The Simpsons
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Jack
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« Reply #8 on: October 22, 2007, 07:40:29 AM »

Whoa, why the hatin' on comic books? What's a comic book ever done to you? Wink

A comic book once stole my money and called me names! I was just disappointed because a comic book only takes 15 minutes to read.  A regular book takes many hours and is a tremendously more immersive experience.  And of course the best part is they don't have pictures, so you have to use your own imagination to visualize the characters and settings.  And I like to visualize all the women having big boobs and wearing spandex dammit  TeddyR
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AnubisVonMojo
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« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2007, 10:47:03 AM »

A comic book once stole my money and called me names!

Sadly, I know what you mean. When the lowest price you'll pay for a single issue these days is $2.99 and your taste and intelligence as a fan is insulted on a weekly basis (90% of the stuff coming out of DC these days is the perfect example), the comic industry really is stealing our money and calling us names! They're not all bad though. Surprisingly enough, stuff like Daredevil and Captain America have been consistently good the last few years (yes, even though he's dead, Captain America is still being published and, to be honest, I don't really miss the title character. THAT's how good Ed Brubaker is on writing it), so it's not a total loss.

I was just disappointed because a comic book only takes 15 minutes to read.

Well, yeah, a single issue only takes 15 minutes to read, but the way companies stretch out storylines for 6 or 7 issues these days, it usually ends up taking half a year to read a story.  Wink Well, unless you just wait for the trades, in which case you can get the entire tale in one sitting, usually an hour or two.

A regular book takes many hours and is a tremendously more immersive experience.

Yeah, but I like something short and sweet to keep me occupied just long enough for a subway ride or a trip to the crapper...

And of course the best part is they don't have pictures, so you have to use your own imagination to visualize the characters and settings.  And I like to visualize all the women having big boobs and wearing spandex dammit .

But then that's where the "unreal" artists are at their best. If I were reading half the comic book stories I do in an all text format, I'd be left with a lot of stuff that looks too much like real life. That's where guys like Eric Powell, Mike Mignola, Ben Templesmith, Kelly Jones, Sam Keith and old schoolers like Basil Wolverton, Richard Corben, Vaughn Bodé and all of the crazy Golden Age sci-fi and horror folk who work magic that puts my imagination to shame. Granted, you can easily make a case that a lot of comic book illustrators are throw aways and indistinguishable from one to the next, but there are plenty of interesting people who are either in the industry or have passed through it that are consistently awesome. Highly recommended stuff if you're ever looking for something interesting to read and don't have a lot of time to read it.  Thumbup



« Last Edit: October 22, 2007, 10:55:41 AM by AnubisVonMojo » Logged


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"A grizzly bear with a chainsaw. Now THERE's a killing machine!" - The Simpsons
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« Reply #10 on: October 22, 2007, 05:15:13 PM »

A group of friends of mine went to see this Saturday night. I was supposed to go with them but went over schedule with getting my carpet cleaned in my house that day so I had to pass.

Half of them liked it, the other half thought it was terrible. They did all agree though that the movie was great to look at and visually stylish in terms of the art direction and stuff. 
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Classic.


« Reply #11 on: October 23, 2007, 07:40:23 AM »

Putting comic books in the same catagory as graphic novels is kinda like comparing Cole's footnotes to the real book. Don't get me wrong, I love both comics and graphic novels, it's just like Anubis said. Comics strech a short storyline over several issues with lots of filler and even multiple storylines, whereas graphic novels are much more in depth and go start-to-finish. I own alot of graphic novels, and several of them are well over 1000 pages. I don't think I could power thru one of my smaller Gnovels in under 15 mins. I really reccomend checking out the graphic novel for this one, it was really good!
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« Reply #12 on: October 24, 2007, 12:06:57 PM »

Putting comic books in the same catagory as graphic novels is kinda like comparing Cole's footnotes to the real book. Don't get me wrong, I love both comics and graphic novels, it's just like Anubis said. Comics strech a short storyline over several issues with lots of filler and even multiple storylines, whereas graphic novels are much more in depth and go start-to-finish. I own alot of graphic novels, and several of them are well over 1000 pages. I don't think I could power thru one of my smaller Gnovels in under 15 mins. I really reccomend checking out the graphic novel for this one, it was really good!

I think the difference between "graphic novel" and "comic book" is essentially meaningless.  Especially because many things called "graphic novels" actually fit the usual definition of "comic book" when initially published.  Like Watchmen, for example, or Sin City.  Not every comic series does the "tons of filler" sort of thing either, though most certainly do.  Near as I can tell, "graphic novel" is generally just a term used to elevate some comics over others.

Quote
A regular book takes many hours and is a tremendously more immersive experience.

I'd say this is frequently the case, considering how insubstantial many comics are, but you might try some more serious, wordier short run affairs. 
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Midnightxpress
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« Reply #13 on: October 26, 2007, 10:17:59 AM »

Didn't 30DON comes out as a series first?

Thus making the book a collection rather an original graphic novel...
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HarlotBug3
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« Reply #14 on: October 26, 2007, 06:41:40 PM »

Horror is hard to do well, I'll admit. But Templesmith's art is the ONLY reason this graphic novel got so much attention. It's a lot of hype over a passable, but far from great story. I might see the movie on the cheap, but my movie-critic philosophy has been changing more and more to:

"Don't complain that dog food doesn't taste like steak."
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