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DVD Review

30 Days of Night
Special Edition 2 DVD set with 48-page Graphic Novel & Slipcase


Starring: Josh Hartnett, Melissa George, Danny Huston and Ben Foster
Icon Home Entertainment
RRP: £19.99
Certificate: 18
Available 14 April 2008

In Barrow, Alaska, people are leaving in droves. 30 days of winter darkness are about to descend. But the people that remain behind have more than isolation and depression to contend with when a mysterious group of travellers arrive. They are aggressively violent vampires intent on feeding on the survivors and wiping out all trace of their presence. Sheriff Eben leads the terrified inhabitants in a seemingly impossible defence. But can they hold out until the light returns...?

Icon obviously thinks it has something special on its hands here. So why is its first move to annoy the reviewer (who after all spreads publicity for the prospective release) by plastering a time-elapsed clock and a 'property of...' warning notice all over the picture. I have little time for this occasional disrespect from some distribution companies for reviewers. I take exception to the apparent attitude that we are all untrustworthy counterfeiters.

Now I've had my rant, on to the film itself. 30 Days of Night is a solid contribution to vampire film lore. To my mind, the modern vampire should be lightening quick in its movements and extremely violent in its actions - and ruthless and unrelenting is exactly how they are here... at least early on. Then we have the need for the viewer to admire them on rooftops or clustered together looking menacing. Don't misunderstand me, they look very impressive (particularly the leader's female sidekick), but why walk slowly towards a lead character waiting to be shot or chopped with an axe, when they can rip out the person's throat before they're even aware of a presence? The answer, I suppose, is that the building of suspense was necessary.

The characterisations are pretty good, the best scene being when one of the survivors goes on the rampage through the town with a JCB digger as a diversion for the others.

The heavy grinding machine reminded me of Doctor Who's The Seeds of Doom, which also had an extreme weather setting (it was only a matter of time before someone met their end in its jaws), and comparisons with John Carpenter's The Thing are unavoidable. In fact, 30 Days of Night is like a cross between that film and the siege of Ghosts of Mars.

Probably the scene with the most impact features the little girl vampire. A similar set-up played in an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and both instances carry real resonance. The self-sacrifice in the film seems rather pointless when the sun reappears so soon afterwards, and serves only to give us a poignant short epilogue.

So, a pretty good addition to the established vampire canon. The special edition of this release contains a second disc of extras (which I didn't receive, so can't comment on), and a small graphic novel depicting the origins of the story (which I did receive).


Ty Power

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