For a film called 30 Days of Night, this movie sure was brightly lit. I think director David Slade might want to have a little word about natural lighting with his director of photography next time. Of course, had they used nothing but natural light sources, we probably would've been unable to see the actors' pretty faces, which, after all, is why we go to the movies in the first place, right?
(That was sarcasm, by the way.)
Speaking of actors' pretty faces, Melissa George, who plays Stella Olemaun, the estranged fire marshal(?) wife of Josh Hartnett's town sheriff Eben, is absolutely stunning. On the run from vampires for a month and she still looks like she just stepped out of a makeup trailer. She's so gorgeous, it almost made me forget about her accent, which seemed to keep slipping from her native Australian to your basic American Midwestern, with a slight twinge of Canadian, eh? While she wasn't given much to work with on the page, George made the most of the role. Hers was perhaps the strongest acting in the film. Had the film been written with any depth, one might have actually felt Stella's pain and anguish at the end.
Hartnett, sadly, is still not a great actor, but when you're fighting for your life against hordes of the undead, perhaps you only need a select few expressions rather than the full range that a more accomplished actor could possibly feel burdened with. I enjoyed Hartnett immensely in Lucky Number Sleven, and he was far from the worst actor in The Black Dahlia (hello, Hilary Swank!), but he seems to have peaked as an actor. He'll continue to get roles because of his pearly whites, and I hope something comes along that forces him to evolve his skills, but I'm certainly not going to hold my breath.
Slade made an interesting choice for his follow-up to the disturbing, and very good, Hard Candy. He's gone from the monstrousness of pedophilia to plain ol' monsters. Oh, but what monsters they are. Seemingly ripped from the pages of the 30 Days graphic novels illustrated by the uber-talented Ben Templesmith, these vampires are sickly pale, ferocious creatures. Filthy, razor sharp teeth, dead, obsidian eyes and sticky, blood-spattered faces, they couldn't have looked any better or more faithful to Templesmith's stylized artwork.
Barrow, Alaska is the northernmost U.S. town, where, once a year, the sun sets and doesn't rise again for 30 days. That's when the infamous creatures of the night descend on the town, but not before somehow stealing, and then burning, all the cell and satellite phones they could find, effective cutting the townspeople off from the outside world. Next they take out the power station, because vampires are always scarier in the dark. Then the feasting begins.
That about sums up the plot of the film. What follows are more requisite horror/vampire film cliches than you can shake a stake at. I went into the theatre wanting to love this movie, and while it had some entertaining moments, other than Templesmith's vampires come to life (ha! Get it? Vampires, come to life ... get it?) and the beautiful Melissa George, there wasn't a whole lot to like, let alone love. The film simply wasn't as original and engrossing, story- or character-wise, as it could have been.
I think I'll just go reread the comics and wait for the inevitable sequel.