Ror Reviews: 30 Days Of Night: Dark Days
With a new actress in the lead role of Stella, a new director and a much smaller budget, how did this straight to DVD sequel to the impressive 30 Days Of Night hold up?
I really enjoyed 30 Days Of Night. Sure it had some problems, a pretty big plot hole in which several days go unaccounted for being one of them. But I thought director David Slade provided a nice sense of dread and it was nice to see vampires be REAL vampires again after so many films go the tortured/emo route with them. So when I heard a sequel was in the works I was looking forward to it. But then news leaked that Susan George was being replaced and the dreaded words "straight to DVD" lessened by enthusiasm somewhat.
The sequel begins with a flashback to the end of the last movie as we see Stella Oleson(now played by Lost's Kiele Sanchez) sit holding her now vampiric husband Eben(played in the original by Josh Hartnett) as he allows the sun to rise and destroy him. Flashforward a year and Stella is now relocated to LA where she holds seminars in an attempt to tell the truth about what happened in Barrow. After being continually met with scepticism and threats from "Bug Eaters"(Vampire wannabes) she is about to pack in it and go home when she is contacted by a team of vampire hunters who offer her a chance at revenge by killing the vampire queen Lilith, who planned the attack on Barrow. The team consists of Paul(Rhys Coiro), Amber(Diora Baird), Todd(Harold Perrineauas) and Dane(Ben Cotton), a "good" vampire. She agrees to join up and they set about their plan to take out the queen who sleeps deep beneath the city.
The plot is pretty basic and unoriginal. And the Vamps seem to have lost some of their bite. What made the first film so fresh was the ferocity and animalistic nature of the vampires and the gimmick of the sun staying down fore a month. This film has neither. The vamps still look as freaky, with their black eyes and rows of shark like teeth, but they just seem more subdued and human in this. But, although there are no real surprises with the story its still pretty entertaining. The script is solid, even if there is the occasional eye roller, and new director Ben Ketai manages to squeeze a few moments of tension and handles the action well. There are also quite a few innovative gore scenes to keep the splatter fans happy. A vampire slowly pulling a tooth out so she can kiss/drink and a bug eater tearing out a human's throat in graphic detail are highlights. But where the film really falls flat is the handling of the characters. Aside from Stella and to a lesser extent Paul, nobody is developed much at all. Its particularly frustrating that by far the most interesting of the group, Dane, is hardly touched upon. And, as is so often the case with films like this the climax is rushed and a bit unsatisfying. The performances though are all fine. Sanchez in particular doing a great job. Perrineauas is as reliable as ever, if also criminally underused and Diora Baird shows some chops(although she is cruelly covered up in loose fitting cloths;). The weak link is Rhys Coiro as Paul. He's not bad exactly, he's just saddled with the tortured, "hunky", potential love interest role and the attempts to make us sympathise with him by giving us his back story just seem to make him even more uninteresting!
Basically, this is a solid horror/action flick. If I had gone to see it in the cinema I would probably have been disappointed , but you won't go wrong giving it a rent. Its not a patch on the first one but far exceeds something like Daybreakers or any of the Underworld movies imo.
You could do a lot worse than giving it a watch when it hits DVD and Blu-ray October 5th.
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