As far as vampire movies go, this is one of the best I've seen. But let's be clear, I don't like vampire movies. I don't like the genre as a whole as I find, especially these days, that there are way too many dopey cliches that surround it. And while 30 Days of Night does a fair job of scaring me and grossing me out (and entertaining me), it still clings to the belief that an effective vampire must speak with some goofy Eastern European accent, have at least one bad tribal tattoo and be decked out in leather trench coats. It's as if the dorky goth kids from your high school all got jobs at big Hollywood studios to act as consultants. Or, maybe in this case, with comic book publishers (which is much MUCH more likely).
So, as a horror movie goes, 30 Days of Night is good, but not one of the best. It looks fantastic, the barren ice fields of Barrow, AK being almost as frightening as the vampires themselves (who, granted are not all that frightening). And let's give credit where credit is due - what a great concept. For those unfamiliar: A man walks away from a burning icebreaker, apparently the sole survivor of some awful accident or something. He winds up in Barrow and immediately dispatches all of the sled dogs, burns as many cell phones as he can find, destroys all phone and Internet lines and whatever else would be needed to isolate and trap the residents who are about to begin thirty days where the sun does not rise (due to their being so far north). The guy is soon arrested and immediately starts predicting doom and gloom for everyone. "They're coming" he warns. The "they" are, of course, a group of vampires who have made their way to Barrow to feed on it's residents in an uninterrupted 30 day bloodbath. GREAT concept right? If only the execution had followed.
First off, the vampires, as I mentioned before, are beyond ridiculous. Aside from conforming to every dorky vampire-rule that Blade set into motion, they also speak some gibberish vampire language and squeal and howl like animals. No need. It's not scary, it's dumb.
Secondly, why do they need 30 days to kill 164 people (the population is firmly established near the beginning)? If 164 people live there, then AT MOST, one can assume there are a total of 328 buildings for them to hide in (assuming every person lives alone in their own home and works alone in their own building, which is very unlikely). So, over 30 days that leaves them just under 11 buildings to go through per day. HOW are the residents hiding from them?? Why can't the vampires, with their heightened sense of smell and physical superiority (again, all established early on) find these people?
But whatever, I'm really really nit-picking here, I realize. Despite the dimwittery that must accompany any movie where a certain level of suspension of belief is required, I admit to having been very entertained by 30 Days of Night. There are some decent scares, the script is not bad at all and, again, it's just a scary movie to look at. I've really wanted to go to Barrow for a long time, if only to say I've been there. This movie effectively squashed that.
There are two or three scenes of intense gore that really got me. In particular is, maybe, the most gruesome beheading scene I've seen in a long, long time. Maybe better than Ash's decapitation in the original Alien. It's fucking gnarly.
30 Days of Night is totally worth seeing despite it's shortcomings.