Movie Review: 30 Days of Night (2007)

And here it is, the final review for the Month of Spooks. I’ve had a lot of fun talking about horror stuff this month, and I hope you guys have enjoyed it as well. Now, let’s get into this thing… which is another vampire movie.

Ladies and gentlemen… “30 Days of Night”.

Barrow, Alaska. Once every year it gets covered in complete darkness for 30 days. Only this year it will be a bit more problematic than usual since a group of vampires enter the town to kill every last person in Barrow. And we follow Sheriff Eben Oleson (Josh Hartnett) as he tries to keep a small group of people alive. So now we have our survival horror movie. And I say survival horror because it’s not so much about Eben and the other trying to find a way to kill all the vampires, but it’s rather about them just trying to survive until the sun rises once again. And it’s actually quite enthralling, based solely on the never-ending tension. Good plot.

The characters here are all flawed and all get some kind of good development throughout the movie. Josh Hartnett plays Eben Oleson, Barrow’s Sheriff and our main character for this story. He’s a recently divorced man trying to just live an okay life… which of course gets interrupted because motherfucking vampires decide to come to town. And I have to say, this is the best I’ve ever seen Josh Hartnett, he’s actually kind of great in this movie. Melissa George plays Stella, Eben’s ex-wife. She is a fire marshall who wants to get out of Barrow during this dark time, but that gets interrupted by a couple of things. And Melissa George is great in the role. Tough, but not a brash idiot. Danny Huston plays Marlow, the leader of the vampires. He doesn’t say a lot, at least not in a language any of us mere humans understands. But he gives a terrifying performance, and he has a very intimidating presence. So yeah, Huston is great. Mark Rendall plays Jake, Eben’s younger brother. He’s not as brave as his brother, but he is willing to help out when shit gets tough. And Rendall is really good in the role. Then we have Ben Foster as a strange man… I’m not trying to be funny, he is credited as “The Stranger”. But he is a crazy weirdo, which is probably the type of character that Ben Foster does best. And as you could expect, he’s really entertaining in the role. This movie knew how to use it’s Ben Foster. And in further supporting roles we have people like Mark Boone Junior, Manu Bennett, Amber Sainsbury, and more… all doing well in the movie.

The score was composed by Brian Reitzell and it was pretty damn good. It’s eerie, droning, intense, exciting, emotional, and just overall fit the movie very well, often elevating certain moments throughout. ’tis a good one.

This movie was directed by David Slade and is based on a comic book series written by Steve Niles. And while I haven’t read Niles’ comics, I think Slade did a mostly great job with his direction here. It is intense and never really gives you a moment to feel relaxed or safe. His direction makes you feel like there could be a vampire or ten around the corner, which I really appreciated. The only thing I don’t like about the directing is that during the action scenes the camera movement/editing goes from steady and smooth to really shaky. Sure, I had a good idea of what the hell was going on during the action scenes, but there were moments where the shakiness got quite distracting and a little bit disorienting. For the most part it wasn’t too bad, but in some parts it was shakier than a chihuahua trying not to shit itself in a blizzard. Again, doesn’t take away too much for me, but it is worth noting. I do have to mention that there’s plenty of blood and gore here, so if you like that stuff in your movies, then you are in for a treat. But if you’re squeamish, there is your warning. Anyway, the visual effects/makeup look awesome. As for scares, it has a handful, but I feel like the tension and feel of unease is this movie’s strong suit rather than any straight-up scares.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 51% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 53/100. Roger Ebert gave it 2,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,6/10.

“30 Days of Night” is flawed, but it is an overall good vampire movie. It has a really good plot, good characters, great performances, really good music, and mostly good directing. My only flaw(s) with the movie come in the form of those really shaky action bits. Time for my final score. *RAWR!*. My final score for “30 Days of Night” is an 8,99/10. While flawed, I’d say that it is definitely worth buying.

My review of “30 Days of Night” is now completed.

There is apparently a comic that crosses this over with “The X-Files”, and I kind of want to read that. Also, wouldn’t the basic idea of this movie make for an awesome video game?

Movie Review: Black Hawk Down (2001)

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*Ron Perlman voice activated*. War… war never changes.

Ladies and gentlemen, we got a… “Black Hawk Down”.

In 1993, a band of American troopers were sent in Mogadishu, Somalia to try to take down a local warlord who is the cause of a civil war. However when one of their Black Hawk choppers crash in the city they have to fight for survival against essentially everyone in the city… or at least a lot of heavily-armed Somalis. And while the story doesn’t have a lot of cultural empathy, it’s still one hell of a ride. What we have here is a really intense war story and how it affects different people in this situation. And it was all very riveting. There is rarely a calm moment in this movie, so when there finally is a bit of calm you never really take it for granted. But I have to say that it was really interesting, intriguing and pretty well handled.

The characters in this movie are nothing to write home about. They are all bland and never really develop at any time. And I know that you might be sitting there like “Come on, they’re in a war, there is no time for character development”. Three words: “Saving Private Ryan”, a war movie that is just as intense but takes the time to develop it’s characters and keep them interesting. The only reason you care for the characters in this movie is because the movie makes you root for them but introducing them in the beginning and making sure you don’t completely hate them. The only one I actually still really cared about was Josh Hartnett’s characters, but that’s really only because he gets the most space out of everyone. That and his performance is pretty great. That is something positive I can say: while the characters are bland and such, the acting is still fucking phenomenal, great work by everyone in the movie.

The score for the movie was composed by the ever so masterful Hans Zimmer. It is tense, emotional, big and badass. I would really say that it perfectly fit a war movie of this size and scope while also working very well musically overall. I also like the good mix of licensed tracks in the movie because they all worked really well in my opinion.

“Black Hawk Down” was directed by Ridley Scott who I am a huge fan of and once again, he delivered. First off, the movie is masterfully shot and directed and never really has any of that terrible shaky-cam bullshit. And the action scenes are very well handled too. They are both masterfully crafted and plentiful, so anyone in need of realistic war-action, look no further. I will just say that at one point there was so much intensity going on that I thought I was gonna get a heart attack from this damn movie. Thankfully the movie felt like quieting down for a bit around that time so I could catch my breath.

This movie was well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 76% positive rating and a “Fresh” ceritifcation. On Metacritic it has a score of 74/100. Roger Ebert gave it 4/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,7/10. The movie also won 2 Oscars in the categories of Best film editing and Best sound. It was also nominated for an additional 2 Oscars in the categories of Best director and Best cinematography. 

“Black Hawk Down” is a really intense war movie with an engaging plot, bland & uninteresting characters, great acting, great music,  great directing and excellent action. Time for my final score. AAAAAAHHHHH. My final score for “Black Hawk Down” is a 9,38/10. I would say that it’s worth buying.
Worth buying

My review of “Black Hawk Down” is now completed.

Only the dead have seen the end of war.