My next selection from Undress Me Robot is a review of this movie starring Josh Hartnett and a then unknown Ben Foster. With the upcoming release of Breaking Dawn and the controversy surrounding it taking over entertainment news, perhaps this will help us remember the good ol' days
30 Days of Night
Now that Hollywood has exhausted its supply of comic books, it's time to move into new territory: graphic novels. Enter 30 Days of Night, a fresh take on vampires that snuck into theaters just in time for Halloween. Considering the lack of fall horror fare, audiences may welcome anything in search of a few scares. They'll find it here, even if it is in small doses.
Night begins rich with frightening promise. As the isolated community of Barrow, Alaska prepares for a month of darkness, the sheriff (Josh Hartnett) heading the town's mom and pop law enforcement (seriously, it consists of two brothers and their grandma) investigates some suspicious activity; cell phones disappear only to be discovered in a charred heap, sled dogs are slaughtered, and the power cuts out leaving the remaining 150 town folk at the mercy of a few generators. It all coincides with the mysterious appearance of a wandering stranger who foretells the coming of "Them." When "They" finally appear in the cover of night, the ensuing carnage decimates the population, leaving only a few survivors to fight or wait in hiding for the coming of dawn.
Much like Spider-Man, and less subtly in The Hulk, much of the movie's aesthetics take on qualities similar to the illustrated work. Like so many panels on a page, the camera languishes on some shots that appear picturesque. Some moments verge on tableaux as the characters are positioned against a desolate landscape manipulated to achieve a crisp, fantastic quality. At times, it almost seems as if the eerie beauty of the setting has to work overtime to compensate for the performances of the living.
Unfortunately, Hartnett phones it in as the overwhelmed young lawman, and the chemistry between him and actress Melissa George as his ex-wife falls flat in an unnecessary and sorely neglected romantic sub-plot. While the intended victims underact, the sleek, monstrous villains do the opposite. They snarl and gnash their teeth as they stalk the snowy streets, speaking cryptically to one another in some form of vampirese. At times, their exaggerated movements are like the undead equivalent of "Cats". Only Ben Foster (The Stranger) stands out in his turn as a crazy Renfield serving a new generation of blood suckers.
The best points in the movie belong to the panning bird's eye shots overseeing the first mass kill spree, where blood sprays and bodies fall anonymously far below. At least up there our enjoyment isn't ruined by the poor performances-just gore and plenty of it. With that said, the movie still manages some intense moments, and my eyes never got sick of taking in the brilliant reds and cold blues that accent the movie's predominantly white palette. But by the time the sun rises again, you might find yourself more than a little disappointed.
Grade I originally gave it: C
Grade I give it now: B (Twilight makes you appreciate things)