It’s amazing that more bad stuff hasn’t happened in the isolated town of Barrow. Located literally at the Top of the World, this fictional Alaskan town is desolate, freezing cold and has one month a year with absolutely no sunshine whatsoever. It’s the stuff that Hollywood nightmares are made of.
When this sleepy little town is invaded by blood sucking freaks who move fast, howl for no reason and are in desperate need of a visit to the dentist, the townsfolk are terrified yet spend most of the movie running through the snow yelling, “What the hell is going on?” to anyone still left alive.
Why they are surprised is a bit of a mystery to me. Anyplace that dark and out-of-the-way is just asking for a supernatural invasion of some kind. They should just be thankful it didn’t happen a long time ago.
It’s a good set up for a horror film. 30 Days of Night mixes the isolationism of The Thing with the conventions of a zombie film—the survivors hole up in a “safe house” while chaos reigns outside—to create an effectively creepy story with enough gore to keep the hard core fans happy.
With a setting this perfectly creepy the cast doesn’t have to do much other than swing the odd axe and grimace appropriately through blood smeared lips. Josh Hartnett is the love-sick sheriff who one ups George A. Romero’s classic “shoot them in the head” defense by getting up close and personal with these creatures of the night and using an axe to decapitate them. Former Australian roller skating national champion Melissa George is his gun toting ex-wife, while Danny Huston, son of Hollywood legend John, brother to Angelica, is Marlow, the head vampire with a mouth full of rotten fangs and a wardrobe that looks borrowed from Marilyn Manson. Mark Boone Junior is great as a Grizzly Adams type who meets a particularly… grizzly end.
Based on a graphic novel of the same name, 30 Days of Night is packed solid with thrills and is the best horror film of the year.