Notice of Blackout

Review by Vives Anunciacion
Inquirer Libre November 6, 2007

30 Days of Night
Directed by David Slade
Based on the graphic novel by Steve Niles, illustrated by Ben Templesmith
Starring Josh Hartnett, Melissa George
Columbia Pictures

See vampires. See vampires run. Replace with bantay and that was the reading exercise back when I was a kid. Anyway, 30 Days of Night is a vampire movie pumped-up with concept but anemic in story.

The story is set in the small town of Barrow, Alaska ang pinaka-northern settlement sa US mainland. Sa sobrang layo nito sa hilaga, every year during winter the sun sets below the horizon and doesn’t reappear until after 30 days (ayon sa Wikipedia, yung tutoong Barrow experiences darkness for 67 days).

It is on this one occasion that a group of vampires invades the sleepy quiet town and butchers it, killing almost everyone within hours of the first night of darkness. Sheriff Eben Olemaun (Josh Hartnett) and his ex-wife Stella (Melissa George) lead the few who survive in hiding. Their goal is to survive the cold winter while vampires roam the town for 30 days until the sun comes out again. Lots of blood, head-chopping and a few instances of humor.

If this movie doesn’t make you jump from your seat for sheer fright, its ear-piercing sound will. The movie is so loud I thought it should be a health hazard.

I admit to be unfamiliar with the artwork of Ben Templesmith (who personally introduced the movie at the preview), but the artwork in the movie (meaning the production design) neither looked like it came from a graphic novel nor did it look creepy enough. For some reason, the town reminded me of Home Alone, set during happier days at Christmas time.

Typical relationship problems stalk Eben and Stella even as they scamper away from the lightning-speed vampires – which happen to look like zombies more than the usual leather-clad sexy vampires of Blade or Underworld. The vampire scenes are reminiscent of 28 Days Later – jarring handheld camerawork (for cameramen the terms are under-cranked, strobed and sharpened with tilted shutter angles.)

Oddly, the vampires speak in an unknown language, which indicates some back-story that’s probably intended for a future sequel. But there is one issue with 30 Days of Night which makes it less than scary than it already is: the moonlight is so bright the town is hardly dark at all.


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