Sunday, November 4, 2007

30 Days of Night - Terrifying New Vampire Vision

I think that humanity as a whole has goten far too comfortable with vampires. Think about Anne Rice's Louis and Lesat. Joss Whedon's Angel. Coppola's vision of Dracula. The new CBS show Moonlight. The vampires of the past 20 years embody raw, passionate, beautifully dangerous human sexuality; heterosexuality, homosexuality, virtiginous androgeny - the penetration and imbibing of fluids creating new sexual meaning. Sure, they have their pair of pointy mincers, but that's about it. It's interesting how vampires have anthropomorphized since Murnau's grotesque and iconic Graf Orlock in his 1922 film, Nosferatu. Now we have sympathetic visions of the vampire, poor creatures riddled with inner tumoil over their human/subhuman struggle, far removed from their animalistic primal origin.

But 30 Days of Night puts the monster back in the monster. The vampires in 30 Days of Night are quite possibly the most horrifying visions of the vampire that I have every seen.

The 30 Days of Night threat go far beyond the mere two sharpened canines. The vampires in this movie have a whole set of sharpened points lurking behind carnal sneers, their smooth sloping angular faces reminiscent more of sharks than of man. When they claim their victims, there are no clean bitemarks. Their victims are totally and utterly masacred. Unlike the our modern trend of vampires, who somehow manage to drain their victims of blood as cleanly and meticulously as a surgeon, their clothes and skin spotless, the vampires in 30 Days of Night unabashedly dig their teeth in, proudly wearing their victims' blood as a badge. As the movie progresses, the snow begins to fall over Alaska, white caresses the air, and blood red shines on the chins and bibs of the horrible night-stalkers. The direction is incredible and definitely creates visions of a terrorized paranoid town. The vampires created in this movie are monsters; there is no humanity left within them.

30 Days of Night is an adaptation of the graphic novel of the same name by Steve Niles. The concept is that a Family of Vampires target an Alaskan town that every year has an entire month of night. Director David Slade definitely creates an intense seige movie, emphasizing paranoia, fear, and claustrophobia. Josh Hartnett plays the believably altruistic hero and Melissa George the love interest. David Slade creates an ambiance so intense that I actually found myself holding my breath, feeling the quiet as the survivors huddled in fear and hiding.

I was definitely impressed with this movie. I went in with high expectations, and the movie held up ok (yes, only ok). The "only ok" rating comes from impending yet ultimately unsatisfying showdown (vaguely inferred so as to avoid spoilers).

But it's not that bad. I give it * * * *. Definitely a must-see for blood-thirsty vampire fans.

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