tn2_30_days_of_night_4.jpgThe idea behind Steve Niles comic and the subsequent film is so delicious (vampires in an Alaskan town where the sun doesn’t come up for a month) that it sort of writes itself. The problem is you should never let films write themselves, as celluloid is a rubbish typist and has little grasp of plot and character dynamics. Case in point here is the lead sheriff and his fire marshal ex-wife, all simmering pretend tension, no actual reason for it. But the real problem with 30 Days Of Night is that by basing its concept on a key part of vampire mythos (that vampires can’t go out in the daytime) it then seems to shed far too much unwelcome light on the other shonky vampire facts. Bearing in mind that the town has about 150 inhabitants when the sun goes down, the fact that all but ten or so are massacred in the first night seems a bit of a waste – especially as the draw of the town is loads of FRESH meat. The fact that one person is kept alive as bait for other survivors for twenty days seems unlikely. And considering at the end of the movie when our hero becomes a vampire himself, we discover that he can smell living creatures at a distance, it makes it hugely unlikely that the small band of survivors could hole up in their attic for so long without discovery.

So instead the film gives us a hugely implausible film about a thirty day hideout which skips arbitrarily from day one to day seven without any feeling that time has past. That gives us unstoppable vampires who are all too stopable (indeed the vampires suffer surprisingly heavy casualties for such a good plan). And which gives us a film where darkness is the whole reason for the film, which is lit so well it might as well be the middle of the day. The film is so light that shadows are cast from impossible light sources. The photo above is a sequence which takes plac ein the middle of this neverending night. SNOW DOES NOT RADIATE OR GENERATE LIGHT ITSELF. Now I know Hollywood’s version of night-time is a lot lighter than the real thing, but it is the point of this film that it is dark. You know, scary dark. There si nothing ominous about hiding in an attic for ten days if the attic is lit up like the Blackpool illuminations.

Perhaps the makers should have seen Michael Haneke’s The Time Of The Wolf, which has a genuinly frightning segment which is almost completely pitch black. Not whilst 30 Days Of Night probably couldn’t get away with a two hour completely dark running time, it could have used at least one pitch black segments to explian exactly how fearsome the equation bloodythirsty vampire + darkness is. Instead we get Angel out of Home And Away in a tight red parker and Danny Houston wishing his Dad had left a bit more money in his will!