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|Home: BigScreen Journal - DVD Review: 30 Days of Night|
30 Days of Night
Columbia Pictures 19615
List Price: $28.95 (Check Price at Amazon.com)
Barrow, Alaska is the northernmost town in the United States. So far North that the sun disappears for 30 days, creating a darkness that only the hardiest of town residents endure. When a mysterious stranger shows up in town and various minor crimes occur, Sheriff Eben Oleson starts an investigation while dealing with the fact that his estranged wife is back in town. When night falls for the next month, things get dicey when vampires arrive to take advantage of the darkness. Can the residents survive until the sun returns?
As you can imagine about a vampire story that takes place in a snowy town covered in darkness, the overall look is dark and bleak, but there is still plenty of depth to the image and the action doesn't happen off in the shadows where you can't see many details. Since this is an R-rated affair, there's no PG-13 dumbing-down of the blood and gore involved with a band of vampires coming to town to feed on the residents!
For a standard definition DVD, the picture is quite good.
The soundtrack varies between quiet and explosively active. When you have a wind-swept wintery Alaskan town, you would think that there would always be some wind howling and other ambient noises like buildings creaking under the brunt of the wind. It's possible that such ambience would take away from the focus of the story at times. That said, however, I had no complaints with the quality of the dialogue, the sound effects, or anything else having to do with the sound.
I like to see the theatrical trailer included with movies, so I'm disappointed that they omitted one on this disc. What is provided is a commentary track (which I didn't listen to), 8 behind-the-scenes featurettes, and an anime episode unrelated to the movie except for a vampire-like theme.
The featurettes are good for what they are. The disc allows you to watch each episode separately, or as one 50 minute sequence. Along with a limited amount of back-slapping on the part of the cast, much of the content is showing how the movie was made, the logic behind the approach they took with the vampires, and challenges of long all-night shooting. These are worth a look.
The anime episode didn't do anything for me, but if you're into that sort of thing, maybe you'll appreciate it more. It appears to be a teaser for a more complete DVD.
The reason that they didn't include the trailer for the movie can't have anything to do with the fact that they were running out of space on the disc. No less than 14 videos for movies coming to theaters and/or DVD are provided in the "Previews" menu item on the Special Features menu.
If you're into horror movies, and you don't mind R-rated gore and violence, give this movie a look. I was surprised by it, and the ending was definitely unexpected, but good in the way that it didn't just wrap everything up neatly with a pat ending. While other reviewers seem to take issue with the difference between this movie and the graphic novel upon which it was based, I prefer to judge movies on their own merits.
30 Days of Night is well worth renting, and if this sort of movie appeals to you, a purchase wouldn't be out of line.
Don't just take our word for it, check out these resources for more reviews of the movie and of the disc.
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