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30 Days of Night: Dark Days (2010)
4th Nov 10
After surviving the incident in Barrow, Alaska, Stella is now trying to educate an un suspecting L.A.
Review 30 Days of night: Dark Days is a straight to video sequel to the successful 2007 hit 30 Days of Night. It follows directly from the original and even gives you one of those story so far intros to get you up to speed, meaning you really need to have seen the original first before venturing in to this one. So if you haven't, stop reading this review and go track a copy of that down, then come back. If you have, read on.
So let's quickly recount the events of the first movie. The small Alaskan town of Barrow is so far north it enters a period of 30 days of night once a year, and last year it was descended on by a troupe of vampires, who consequently laid waste to the town, feeding on any residents that hadn't already left. A small gang, led by Eben the sheriff and his wife Stella, try to hide from the vampires wherever they can but Eben soon realises they're sure to die if something's not done, so he takes the brave step of injecting himself with vampire blood, thus turning himself in to a vampire and, with the odds now even-er, he takes on the head vampire and, after a bit of a struggle, kills him. Then the film ends with Eben and his wife watching the sun come up and Eben is burnt to a crisp.
The sequel picks up with Stella doing conference talks through L.A. trying to convince people that vampires actually do exist, even though she's generally just laughed at. After the back story intro, the film itself opens with one such talk but this time with a twist. She says how, even though no one believes her, the vampires are aware of her quest and generally send a couple of vampires along to each talk to see what she has to say. Then she explains to people that she's had the theatre fitted with powerful ultraviolet lights as strong as the sun, and turns the lights on. And a handful of audience members leap out of their seats, visibly burning in agony under the lights. Everyone panics and runs for the exits.
Cops arrive, but here's the thing - vampires are everywhere, and they've infiltrated different walks of life, including the police, so a cover up kicks in and Stella's back to the drawing board. Then, through her travels, she bumps in to a bunch of vampire hunters looking for a new member. Initially she's not keen, until she discovers that the vampire queen they're hunting is also the one responsible for the raid on Barrow in the first place. So she joins, and after a serious of encounters with the undead watches the group get smaller and smaller until the final confrontation with the vampire queen herself.
For a straight to video sequel,30 Days of night: Dark Days is really not that bad at all, a lot better than it deserves to be in fact. Lead actress from the original Melissa George couldn't reprise her role as Stella due to apparent scheduling conflicts, which immediately makes you think "Uh-oh...", but stand in Kiele Sanchez does an admirable job bringing Stella back to life for the sequel. The supporting cast also do well on the whole, although they are mostly men with interchangable personalities of men on a revenge mission, except for vampire hunter Amber, who schizophenically seems to bounce from hard-nosed bitch to crumbling wet female mess at the drop of a hat. The vampire queen, played by Mia Kirshner is pretty scary as the black eyed queen, but I may be just saying that because she's really very attractive in her vamp get up. Stand out though is Troy Ruptash's performance as Agent Norris - he's a policeman that gets his wish to be turned into a vampire by the queen and then goes on the hunt for Stella and her friends with his new found powers, and his intensity in the role is surprisingly refreshing.
It's not all perfect by a long shot; there's lots of wandering down corridors in the middle of the film to pad the running time, and lots of dark places with flashlights that look easy to film (warehouses, sewer tunnels, that kind of thing) and you get the feeling that despite it's healthy 92 mins running time about 20 minutes of it is padding, but despite that the film holds your attention to the end, especially if you're a fan of the original. And the ending, while not predictable as such, becomes obvious once Stella has the revelation that all it takes to bring cinder burnt vampires back to life is a few drops of human blood. Hmmm.
All in all then a good straight to video vampire flick that's a lot better than it should be given it is a straight to video sequel to a major motion picture and that the lead actress and sole survivor of the last film has been replaced. It's also relatively gory in parts, with a couple of well handled CG decapitations thrown in that don't look that awful. I certainly hope they do a third, although I'd be interested to see how they pull that off judging by the end of this one...