30 Days of Night


Writer Steve Niles and illustrator Ben Templesmith’s three-issue comic-book series, originally published in 2002, spawned a subsequent franchise and now a big-screen adaptation by doing little more than drenching the centuries-old vampire myth in just a little more gore—something for the kids. Director David Slade’s stab at the story is actually rather ordinary: a grisly game of hide-and-seek, pitting the town’s few survivors (among them Josh Hartnett as the sheriff and Melissa George as his estranged wife) against the bloodsucking gang, led by Danny Huston, who speaks in a foreign tongue just for extra spookiness. The promise of endless night is misleading; they should have called this 30 Days for Night, as the thing’s as brightly lit as any MGM musical, despite the power being out all over town. Alas, that’s just a nitpicky point—there are much larger problems, chief among them being that the movie’s just not very scary. And perhaps that’s the point: It’s as much a western as it is a horror film, with Harnett as Will Kane and Huston’s posse as the evildoers come to do him in. Get it? High Noon, when it’s always midnight. Shrug. Still, it’s the best thing Hartnett’s ever done; the guy’s better at playing the undead . . . no surprise there.