30 DAYS OF NIGHT is a good horror film but not a great one. That’s a shame. I was really hoping for a great one. Don’t get me wrong. It is good. It’s got a great premise, solid acting, is well directed (for the most part), has a number of very scary moments and actually has the wisdom to have a fairly bleak ending. It has the strength of an R rating in these days of the PG-13 in that it doesn’t shy away from the violence and keeps the tension level pretty high. Its best described as part NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD and part Carpenter’s THE THING- and that’s a good combination in my book! Snowy cold creepy stuff always hits my sweet spot. Hint to all horror filmmakers- the quickest way to appeal to me is set your scary tale in winter.
My one real complaint with the movie is an odd one to have to deal with. Strangely, the film feels as if a big part of the narrative is missing. I don’t mean that the story got chopped down reducing the source comic book to a manageable length for film. I mean that there are three or four moments in the movie when the story leaps forward in a sloppy way that just screams SCENES MISSING. I seriously think that there is at least 10 to 15 minutes of footage that was cut out- probably to adhere to some specific desired running time. Indeed, I’m willing to bet that a longer version of the film will be released on DVD eventually if not right off the bat.
I find this kind of disappointing. I liked the film and to a degree my perception of these missing parts didn’t keep me from giving it a thumbs up. But more and more we’re not getting the whole film anymore in the theaters. Even the version of DEAD SILENCE I raved about a week ago was a minute longer than what was shown theatrically. I guess times have changed. Maybe its better to wait to see these things at home when the full movie can be chosen instead of a shortened cut.