“If you cherished the original, then you may be a little dismayed at the sequel’s offering!”
Vampires and Zombies! Two of horror’s most loved genres have both gone in different directions these days. While Shaun Of The Dead was the best and probably the worst thing that happened to the formula, in that I mean, its easy to make a Zombie flick these days as long as you sprinkle a bit of comedy which guarantees some box office payback, and of course you can also make a serious undead filck, but if you ask poor Romero it does not do that well. Vamps through are stuck in one path. If they are not sexy, in love, or don’t carry a diary, then no one wants to know, especially the teen crowd who have fallen in love with all things Twilight!
One film that managed to separate itself from the teen angst was 30 Days Of Night, a box office hit in 2007, that has developed a strong following since, especially with the comic book sales. While I am not those that label it a classic, it was still perfect weekend fodder, a guilty pleasure, and one that stood out from me, because it made Vamps scary again, even though the film failed my expectations in some aspects. Compare it to the sequel though, then it is a work of art, because make no mistake, if you cherished the original, then you may be a little dismayed at some of the sequels offering.
We start with the ending of the original, but reshot because the two main stars have been replaced by unknowns, simply because 30 Days Of Night: Dark Days, is a straight to DVD offering and the budget alone could not afford Mellissa George, never mind Josh Harnett. George’s character Stella is now replaced by Kiele Sanchez, who after holding her husband the second time to burn, the film then actually starts, 10 months later, in which Stella is travelling, spreading the word that Vampires do exist. Her latest seminar in which she tells of the cover up and what really happened in the town of Barrow, brings laughter from the audience from the crowd, until she switches on some special lights that fry the watching Vamps in the crowd, which stuns the rest who now share Stella’s view that these blood sucking fiends do live among them!
In what follows many stupid plot threads, the police arrest Stella for no apparant reason, question her, in which she is then released, where she bumps into a gang who tell her more about the Vampires. It seems they have a queen called Lilith (Mia Kirshner) who may have came up with the plan to kill all those in Barrow, and worst of all, they are planning a new attack on a town where it becomes another 30 Days of Night. Stella, wanting revenge for all her old dead friends, joins the gang and soon she finds herself back in the battle, where this time, there is no going back!
The question you need to ask yourself is “can you imagine anyone else in the role of Stella!” if the missing Melissa puts you off right from the start, and it is a bit of a culture shock at the beginning, seeing the same scene with two different people, then you are going to struggle with the sequel! To be fair to Sanchez its not her I had the problem with. She holds her head high through out the film, even though she has become Sarah Conner from T2, the heroine of the franchise, who started off so quiet and becomes this mean, lean fighting machine.
The problem I had was with the story itself. Its all a bit lame. The same recycled story of a queen Vamp that needs to be destroyed. Stella and her new found friends, go from A to B, without going anywhere, until they get a break towards the end and the find themselves where they want to be! It also makes a mockery of the original’s premise. One of the reasons is that the Vamps attack the sleepy town in Alaska, is so they can stay hidden, not to draw attention to themselves, but now we find them all living in LA, where even the Cops know of their existence!.
Lilith baths in blood so that means she MUST!!! be evil but saving a great kill scene, involving a tooth, she comes across as a bad girl that looks like she has just stepped out of the Buffy series, and the best actress in the entire film Katherine Isabelle (Ginger Snaps) is totally wasted in her role!
The Vamps keep their fantastic design from the original, but are again underused, the threat they displayed in the original, nowhere near the heights in this, and just when the film raises itself with one or two spell blinding set pieces- the throat being ripped is sicking and awesome-it lets itself down with scenes that will make the fans cry in their cushions.
Stella has mourned the death of her husband throughout but then has a quickie with one of the new guys, only because the film needs a sex scene, and then we get to the ending! Now be warned: Unlike me, if you do totally love the original then the ending of this, will make you want to vomit! Maybe it carries the same story thread from the comics, but the final five minutes of this, wrecks everything, not only in this film, but for the original! What Stella does and what happens is bonkers, pointless and probably the most stupid shock ending in any horror this year! and that is the best I can warn you! Because even for me, I won’t be able to watch the first now, without thinking of this, it really is a franchise breaker!
30 Days Of Nights: Dark Days, does not quite reach the depths of Dusk Till Dawn 2, but it goes close, its feels more like a Resident Evil sequel in terms of what is on offer, but while its a great looking straight to DVD offering, fans may be spilt in terms of the direction it goes……
OVERALL: It really could ruin the memories of the original for many, it changes the mythology of the premise, and while Sanchez is pretty decent has Stella, its too similar to the recent Daybreakers, which will frustrate the die hard fan base who wanted more days of darkness….
[pt-filmtitle]30 Days of Night: Dark Days[/pt-filmtitle]