Every once in a blue moon, a horror movie comes along that does little to shock or excite their viewer but instead, casts two attractive leads hoping it’ll distract audiences long enough to sell their P.O.S. Sorry Josh hartnett, you’re not that pretty.
From the beginning, 30 Days of Night lurches along at a near glacial pace as we’re forced to deal with the exposition. Early on, there’s a little violence thrown in to satisfy, but the key word of that last sentence is “exposition”. Anybody know why? Because with exposition you’re promised a story or at least some semblance of one, perhaps some character development even? Not with this flick. After being forced to sit through one of the most excruciating set-ups (after all, let’s be real, nobody does the whole “I know we’re separated, but I still love you” bit like Die Hard) it would help if there was some sort of pay off. I know that the film’s “emotional” ending is supposed to show a growth in the lead character, but it’s just so sudden after all this time, that it seems out of character and is essentially rendered unimportant.
Then again, when it comes to a lot of these vamp flicks, character isn’t really what counts, it’s the body count. If that was my only criteria, it’d be fair to say that 30 days of Night delivers in some regard. None of it really makes up for the weak characters, most of which I had no idea had names, but at the end of the day, there’s plenty of blood to go around. The issue is that the movie peaks too early. It gives us some of the best gore moments early on and those are the ones that I remember best at least. However, it also has some moments that shine towards the end of the film as well. Several key beheadings are among the things that this movie does pretty well, but like I said, none of this is enough to sustain it.
The real issue at the heart of the movie is the pacing. If I’m supposed to care enough about these people to want them to survive or at least spend a fake 30 day period with them, I should know names or at least not secretly hope for the next person to go. There’s too much character development in some areas and not nearly enough for a majority of the movie. Even the violence needs to be paced better. It gave it all away up front which doesn’t exactly leave audiences satisfied, but at the same time, it’s grisly nature is almost recognized as old hat these days. By the end of 30 days of Night it really does feel like it took that long to make it through the movie, which is never a good thing. It was an interesting premise that was handled poorly in execution with unlikeable characters (or ones that I didn’t even know that I was supposed to recognize) and enough to gore to satisfy most horror buffs, but little else.