Horror Movie Month: "30 Days of Night: Dark Days" Review
Rating: NC-17 (bloody violence, language, and some sexual content)
Length: 92 minutes
Release Date: Oct. 5, 2010
Directed by: Ben Ketai
Stars: 3.5 out of 5
"30 Days of Night: Dark Days" is a dark and thrilling vampire movie with an interesting revenge plot. It's a direct-to-DVD sequel to David Slade's box office movie"30 Days of Night," which was released in 2007. Steve Niles, the original author of the horror comic-book series "30 Days of Night," on which the first movie and the sequel are based, returns as one of the screenwriters. Although both movies adopt the main narrative of the graphic novels, Niles took great care in omitting convoluted references to vampire politics presented in his comic books, thereby producing a more concise and effective plot.
The movie opens with a brief reminiscence on previous events in the first film. The story centers on Stella Oleson (Kiele Sanchez)—a survivor of the vampire attack in Barrow, Alaska. After the death of her husband at the hands of brutal vampires, she now roams the US giving lectures in an attempt to convince people about the existence of vampires. She wants to unravel the truth about these creatures, while trying to persuade people that vampires aided by human collaborators were the real reason behind the death of numerous people in her hometown. However, nobody believes her story except for three vampire hunters who want to recruit her for a vampire-killing mission. Amber (Diora Baird), Todd (Harold Perrineau), and Paul (Rhys Coiro) have all lost important people in their lives through vampire attacks. They have come to LA seeking revenge and are out to kill the vampire queen, Lilith (Mia Kirshner). Stella hesitates at first but eventually joins the cause after finding out Lilith may be the mastermind behind the Barrow attack and the death of her husband.
Although the original actress from the first movie was replaced in "30 Days of Night: Dark Days,"the new lead, Kiele Sanchez, gives a commendable performance as a vampire killer. Her character, Stella, is constantly downing pills as she is still troubled by an unrelenting depression that arose after her husband's death, and she carries a gun to bed.
The movie delves into the realm of vampire cults. Several human collaborators cover up the existence of vampires, hoping to become worthy of being transformed into bloodsuckers. The queen, Lilith, is the most-feared vampire in the cult. Mia Kirshner effectively portrays a charismatic yet darkly haunting character who exudes power and dominance among her vampire and human subordinates.
Dane (Ben Cotton) is an exception to the vampire norm as he wants to help the hunters kill the vampire queen. Diora Baird, a former Maxim model, struggles slightly to fit the character of a tough vampire hunter amid blood and violence. Nonetheless, her companions Harold Perrineau and Rhys Coiro are convincing in their roles as vampire hunters. Paul and Stella are attracted to each other and are often seen sharing intimate moments. Unsurprisingly, Coiro and Sanchez have a good chemistry between them that makes the romance work.
Same as the first movie,"30 Days of Night: Dark Days"interprets the vampire as a vicious, dangerous species capable of biting necks and sucking blood mercilessly. They go on killing sprees and splatter much gore and blood in many scenes. Director Ben Ketai remained faithful to the original movie's tone set by David Slade. He still portrays vampires as primal, brutal creatures led by their beguiling queen, who's played excellently by Mia Kirshner. The movie has a dark and gritty feel to it that may keep you on the edge of your seat.
There are good CG effects interspersed throughout the movie, especially in the scene where Stella sets a UV trap for the vampires. This sequel is comparably different to the story in the comics where Stella is shown to somehow become a fearsome vampire killer. It explores Stella's emotions and builds a strong character ready to hunt down the vampire responsible for her husband's death.
"30 Days of Night: Dark Days" is a bit toned down compared to the first movie, but it offers the same enjoyable bloody scenes and badass characters.Although it isn't quite up to par with its predecessor on the whole, it's well worth the watch for its gory horror and nail-biting intensity that will surely satisfy fans of thriller movies.