30 Days of Night Review

            American Horror is suffering. Hollywood may still proudly claim most blockbuster genre films as the most groundbreaking. Hollywood is monumental internationally, able to complete fantastic sequences. It is just unfortunate that ideas have run dry for most horror films. Suddenly remakes of foreign horror films became more popular, most of which worse than the original. Before long it became obvious that horror belonged to anyone willing to step up and reinvent the genre. The British have shown themselves capable, reinventing the zombie film with undead that move fast in 28 Days Later, blending comedy pastiche with zombie fun in Shaun of the Dead and female machismo in the Descent, which was remarkably unique in having no obligatory explanation or resolution. Korean cinema reinvented the monster film with The Host (followed by a remarkably similar Cloverfield), and since Pan’s Labyrinth there has been new attention given to the Mexican filmmakers working in the genre now also.

            Hollywood’s only chance of surviving lies in its ability to do something unique and original. Cloverfield, if only for the unique filming style, is a step in the right direction. 30 Days of Night takes an approach that is similar to 28 Days Later, reinventing the creatures, but it also gives a promising premise to the audience as well. Taken from a graphic novel, 30 Days of Night is more than a little cheesy at times, but it is also marks a promising change in Hollywood Horror. Still nowhere near as original or clever as other horror being made in other countries, 30 Days of Night manages to be creative. More than that I found myself surprised by how subtle much of the suspense is.

            Gone are the fragile vampires From Dusk Till Dawn, vanished are the wooing abilities from Dracula, and these vampires don’t even speak English. They are creatures, ugly and deformed but with increased strength due to the blood they drink. The only weakness appears to be sun, so it is unfortunate for the small Alaskan town they invade which is about to have its 30 days of night. The sun stays out of sight for that entire month, so the humans must resort to hiding. They are no match for the strengthened vampires, who are also incredibly fast and have ultra-sensitive senses. In the moments when the group, ushered by the town sheriff (Josh Hartnett), must be moved or come out of hiding for some reason, 30 Days of Night is most successful. In one of the most frightening sequences they are attacked in an abandoned store by a small vampire child left behind.

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