30 Days of Night (2007) — Tree sloth vs. vampires

“We live here for a reason: because nobody else can.”

Justin’s rating: Fangs for the memories

Justin’s review: It’s a bad month to be a tree sloth, that’s for sure. Far from his native lands, exiled to the cold wasteland of northern Alaska, our intrepid sloth (Josh Harnett) finds himself a law dog in Barrow. His natural slow-moving nature doesn’t bode well for an environment where frostbite sets in under five minutes, but somehow, he makes do.

He makes do, that is, until a tourist bus full of old-style vampires pulls up and decides to make Barrow their playground during the month-long absence of sunlight. These are nasty, dirty, Nosferatu-type vamps that skitter and feed and pretty much wipe out the entire town on the first night. Well, that leaves twenty-nine to go. What’s a sleepy sloth to do?

Saddle up the survivors, run and hide, and enjoy living the good life of the hunted, that’s what. Naturally, he’s hindered by survivors who are somewhat peeved they haven’t been eaten yet, and do everything in their power to put themselves in harm’s way. You can tell he wants to take a lead pipe to their noggins, but that’s the conundrum of the horror hero tasked with guard duty. He’s got to be nice and accommodating until they’re all worm food.

Despite its cool atmosphere and sickly sadistic vamps, 30 Days of Night doesn’t really veer far off the rails of your typical Elimination Movie. These people, who are outnumbered and under siege, keep finding excellent reasons to run out into the open like target practice ducks as we go, “No! You fools!” Because what’s exciting in watching 10 people huddle in complete safety until sunrise, followed by a “Whew! We stayed quiet and now we’re safe and the vampires are literally toast?”

Remember, their deaths are for our amusement. Are you not entertained?

If a horror movie can startle me with something new, unexpected or incredibly well-done, like people deliberately turning themselves into vampires to gain Killing Strength, then it deserves my praise. If it telegraphs a giant woodchipper early on (which is, of course, running all the time and exposed with no safeties whatsoever), then I’m just apathetically ticking down the minutes until someone or something is fed into it with an appropriately gory scrunch. 30 Days wishes it was more the first type and less the second, but that’s what you get when you arm a tree sloth with an axe. Slow swings, big misses.

Based on the comic book by Steve Niles, this film falters a bit in comparison to the acclaimed story, but for what nitpicks I and Mr. Sloth can find (he needs those nits for nourishment), this is a neat twist on traditional vampire tales. Not too scary, way too bloody, and a fun romp in the horror sack before it’s through.


  • If Barrow got cut off from communications, don’t you think other towns would be able to tell and send people to check it out?
  • How our hero beats the bad guy? Pure AWESOME.
  • Of course you have your demonic child who’s introduced with her back to the camera.
  • A picture of Steve Niles, who wrote the original comic book, hangs in the attic hideout.

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