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30 Days Of Night: Dark Days (2010)

DVD Cover (Sony Home Entertainment)
Movie Connections:
30 Days Of Night
> 30 Days Of Night (2007)
> 30 Days Of Night: Dark Days (2010)
Genres:
Horror, Vampire Film
Director:
Ben Ketai Ben Ketai
Starring:
Kiele Sanchez Kiele Sanchez
Rhys Coiro Rhys Coiro
Diora Baird Diora Baird
Harold Perrineau Harold Perrineau
Mia Kirshner Mia Kirshner

4.4 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Chad
Added: October 25, 2010
Sequels have a tendency to disappoint, we all know this. Direct-to-video sequels... well, those usually don't go very well. They usually come to us courtesy of a franchise that the studios have little faith in, and thus, they toss them over to some up-and-coming director to do with as he or she pleases with a shoe-string budget. The results are almost always quite ugly. However, I enjoyed the hell out of 30 Days of Night, a film that made me forget all about how much I typically hate vampire movies, and thus, I picked up my copy of the sequel. Surprisingly, it wasn't half bad.

We pick up where the first film left off, and we find that Stella (now played by Kiele Sanchez) has returned to the mainland, where the police and general public think that she is simply suffering from post-traumatic stress. After all, there's no such thing as vampires, right? There was simply an explosion up there in Alaska, a horrific accident that killed a bunch of people, but certainly nothing supernatural. Stella starts to travel the country telling her story in hopes of finding someone with a similar tale to tell, and she eventually encounters FBI Agent Norris (Troy Ruptash), a man who knows that she is telling the truth. He knows this because he works for the vampires and wants nothing more than to see Stella dead.

Clearly frightened out of her wits, Stella plans to return to her hotel room, grab her things, and take the first bus out of the city. It doesn't quite work that way, as there are three people waiting for her there. These three people - Paul (Rhys Coiro), Amber (Diora Baird), and Todd (Harold Perrineau) - introduce themselves as survivors of various vampire attacks, and they proceed to invite Stella to join them in their vampire-hunting activities. She's reluctant to join them, but when she learns that they are currently hunting Lilith (Mia Kirshner), the woman who ordered the siege of her Alaskan hometown, she picks up a shotgun and joins their ranks.

Let's get this out of the way right up front: Dark Days is nowhere near as memorable as the original film. If you pick this one up and expect to see more of the foreboding atmosphere, the nerve-wracking tension, the great characters, and the savage glee of the vampires, you're going to walk away disappointed. Make no mistake about it, this sequel is a step down in just about every category, but that's not to say that it's a horrible film that should be avoided. In fact, if you enjoyed the first film, you might actually like it.

Granted, the idea has been done before, and the vampire-hunters found here make the ones found in Vampires: Los Muertos look like a group of war-proven Mongols. The vampires are constantly getting the upper hand on them and the humans are constantly screwing up their raids, but that works for me after seeing how ruthless the vampires were in the first film. A small group managed to take down an entire town in that film, and you expect to see four people take down an entire nest along with a high-ranking "official"? It's not going to happen, and thus, I didn't have a problem with the main characters being seen as weak.

The story itself is pretty good, even though it does start to lose its way towards the middle of the running time. The beginning of the movie will get you sucked in and the ending worked rather well for me, but I have to admit that there was a stretch in between where things could have been improved. For example, it seemed rather awkward how the heroes found the location of the vampires: they were completely clueless and ready to give up, and then bam, they know exactly where they're hiding and are ready to move in to save the day. A better route from point A to point B would have worked wonders here, and there are a few other instances where things don't quite go the way that they should have (how about that awkward sex scene?).

As for the visuals, they were also pretty good - again, and this is a recurring theme with the film as a whole, they weren't as good as the original, but they were definitely serviceable. Lilith has a nice bloodbath scene that Bathory fans will enjoy, and there are plenty of kills and drainings for the gorehounds to enjoy. The vampires themselves looked quite nice as well: the filmmakers may not have received the same high-dollar budget for makeup effects, but viewers won't find themselves complaining about the look either.

Overall, Dark Days gets a thumbs up from me. Yes, it is a step down from the original in just about every way, but if you liked that movie as much as I did, you'll probably enjoy this one to a certain extent. You can pass on it if you didn't care for the previous film as this one will do nothing to change your mind on the series, but speaking as a fan, I thought that it made for a fairly fun day in front of the tube. It wouldn't make my year-end list even if I compiled my Top 100 movies, but I don't regret spending ninety minutes of my life on it either. 6/10.
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