Graphic Horror: 30 Days of Night: Dark Days
30 Days of Night: Dark Days 2010
It’s March and I’m continuing my recent tradition of making March Graphic Horror month where I seek out and review horror and thriller films that are based on comic books and graphic novels. And while I haven’t made an official blogathon this year, if you would like to join in, here’s a list of films that fit the bill, just let me know via e-mail or Twitter and I’ll check it out and share the link. But for the first film I decided to go back to my other goal for the year and continue watching movies made in 2010 and later with this sequel to 2007’s 30 Days of Night. Unfortunately, while it did have a few moments of inspiration, it mostly fell flat into a rather trope-filled horror movie that fell into all the same routines filled with a rather boring cast. It wasn’t awful to watch, but there were way too many decisions that I questioned concerning the characters, the vampires, and mostly everything else.
Dark Days takes place almost a year after the first 30 Days of Night and Josh Hartnett’s wife Stella has been going around giving talks on vampires and following clues from a mysterious note-writer. There doesn’t seem to be any end game to her talks or any point to them at all except for her to be someone to laugh at, and yet she seems to amass some pretty big crowds. She ends up getting sucked into a vampire hunting club consisting of three members with very little personalities. There’s the Black guy played by Harold Perrineau who would later go on to play Manny in Constantine for a season, there’s the moody girl who is always drinking from a flask, and there’s the dreamy guy who is the leader and obviously becomes a temporary love interest for Stella. The head vampire this time is now a woman who goes by the name Lilith, though the film forgoes any deep mythological meaning of the name and instead just points out quite clearly that nothing is done by the vampires without her say so, including last year’s raid in Barrow. Lilith is played by Mia Kirshner who does look the part, but she isn’t given much to do with the role as she hisses in their vampire language and generally just looks gothic.
One of the more interesting elements of the first 30 Days of Night was how inhuman the vampires looked. They were much closer to a feral Nosferatu than the traditional sexy vampire that we’ve come to know over the years. But this film goes away from that look and makes them look human enough so that they can generally blend in with society as long as they keep their mouths closed and their sunglasses on. Even the vampire leader moves away from the much more unique looking Danny Huston in favor of the gothically gorgeous Mia Kirshner as the vampire queen Lilith, though they did add in the nice touch of Elizabeth Bathory lore where Lilith bathes in blood. They even added in yet another trope where there is a “good” vampire by the name of Dane who has managed to keep his humanity for years because of reasons.
Actually, there is a great set up for the twist ending of this film. There are enough hints laid out throughout the movie that don’t feel like they’re overly foreshadowing. There’s the good vampire Dane who has been able to keep his humanity because his vampire bite was a superficial wound. And later on, Stella sees a vampire that has been burned to a crisp by the sun revived because he hadn’t been fully beheaded. So when Stella is the Final Girl of the movie, she returns home to Barrow, Alaska, digs up her husband who hasn’t decayed past his previous burnt shell and is still more or less intact, and cuts herself to hopefully revive him. But he doesn’t revive right away and she passes out from blood loss. But shortly thereafter, he appears in the flesh and they embrace for just a short while before not-Josh-Hartnett vamps out and bites not-Melissa-George’s neck before it cuts to credits. It gives just enough hope that it might work before dashing it at the last moment in a twist that can actually make you appreciate the rest of the movie a little bit more.
Unfortunately, the rest of the film was filled with predictable and shallow moments. It was a shame that the Black guy was the first one to go, and he revealed that the group of vampire hunters were much more talk than they were business when they weren’t able to put him down when he was turning. It was also forecast pretty clearly when he cut his hand before going into the tunnels. The leader of the vampire hunters also had a confessional moment where he revealed that he was suicidal at one point where he imagined himself killing Lilith and going home before killing himself. But now he has a reason to live, and that speech in film terms clearly condemned him to die right before the end which is exactly what happens. But not before the film gives us an incredibly awkward sex scene after their one minor victory where they cleared out a small vampire nest and saved a young woman. I will say that aside from being extremely predictable if you’re familiar at all with typical horror movie tropes, this film was a fairly decent vampire film. It still paled in comparison to the original, and it didn’t help that they kept using the best shot from the first film which was the big overhead town shot. There were hints of good cinematography here and there throughout this film, but nothing that quite captured the mood the same way that we saw in Barrow. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.