(Review originally written at 27 October 2008)

This is a rather good genre attempt, that is good looking and for the fans of the genre is still a good watch, but overall it's lacking too much with its story-telling to consider this a truly successful and great genre attempt.

I think one of the problems with this movie is that it can't seem to decide for itself whether it wants to take on a serious and realistic approach or a more entertaining one. Result of this is that the movie features both of these very different approaches in it. Needless to say it doesn't blend in very well with each other. The one moment the movie is tense and unpredictable, the other its over-the-top and not really very credible.

But perhaps the foremost problem is simply the movie its story and how it flows. Things are just happening within this movie. Nothing is really ever being explained and it's not the type of movie that has a clear main plot line in it. It's about a very small town in Alaska being under the sudden attack of a group of vampires, during 30 days of night. This is the story. Nothing more, nothing less. It may sound good and simple enough for the lovers of the genre but the movie and its characters are all over the place. It's as if some sequences are missing at times within the movie and the movie often makes too big jumps. The one moment they are hiding in the police station, the other they are at an attic and then again at a totally different place. The movie often doesn't bother showing how things happened.

You'll also never feel attached to any of the characters really, since most of them remain very shallow and unknown ones. I mean, I surely don't know all the characters names within this movie, even those who have quite an amount of running time in this movie. I'm of course not talking about Josh Hartnett and Melissa George characters, etcetera, but about the rest of the townsfolk, who are hiding and trying to survive along with them. It makes this movie a somewhat shallow experience at times.

But no, none of this really takes away the fun of the movie. This is why the movie is still perfectly watchable for the fans of the genre. It's a good looking movie, that obviously wasn't cheap to made. The movie has some good make-up effects in it as well as some other nice effective gory special effects. Yes, the movie does feature some nice gore but this is not what the movie is all about. It's being somewhat pushed to the background and the movie is more about the survival of a group of people under some very unusual circumstances.

The movie constantly sticks to its main characters, which is also the reason why nothing is ever rarely being explained in the movie. Things are just simply happening within this movie, just as they are happening to the movie its main characters. The movie is based on a comic by Steve Niles & Ben Templesmith and the movie must have obviously sticked to its original source material. This approach taken by the story might work out fine and effective within a comic book but for a motion picture it's simply too lacking and not effective enough. Probably the reason why a lot of studios didn't really picked up this movie when being offered the change to produce it by the comic book authors.

It's nice to see how much Josh Hartnett as an actor has matured over the years. I don't think I've ever seen him in a movie ever since 2001 (with the expectation of his 2 minutes role in the 2005 hit movie "Sin City") and to me in my mind, Hartnett was still that very young actor who made teenage-girls drool with his role in "Pearl Harbor". It's nice to see that by now he has really become a man and is more serious and matured in his acting performances as well. He positively surprised me in this movie.

Could had been a great genre movie with a different approach and an actual clear main plot-line in it.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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