Written by: Troy Gross
Finally, 2017 is upon us. Every new year seems to bring an opportunity to celebrate some sort of anniversary, both in film and every other event that has happened throughout history. However, there are (unfortunately) some things worth celebrating that get lost and forgotten. When it comes to horror films, it’s time to admit we owe a severely underrated gem known as 30 Days of Night a raise of our glass this year.
Before everyone lights me up, I do not think 30 Days of Night is necessarily the greatest movie ever. Does it have flaws? Absolutely. Could it have been better? Sure. But, on its’ 10 year birthday, it’s important to recognize that while perhaps it wasn’t perfect, 30 Days of Night was the movie horror needed in 2007, and more specifically, the knight in shining armor that saved vampires.
For those of you who don’t remember, an entire beloved sub-genre of horror (vampires) was nearing extinction in 2005 and 2006 due to the Twilight books. While I am not trying to poke fun at Twilight fans, it certainly felt as if vampires were beginning to be associated with something other than horror. The early 2000’s were not great for vampires; in fact, other than Blade (2002) and John Carpenter’s Vampires (1998), there was not much to be excited about at all if you were a fan of fast paced, violent vampire movies. Vampires needed a film to reinvent the dark and fearsome lore they once waged upon us. Ultimately, vampires were at a crossroads in 2007; either they would go the way of the Twilight series and become something of an iconic teenage love symbol, or they would be returned to their bloody roots.
Then, shortly before Halloween ten years ago, 30 Days of Night was released. The film was fast paced, brutal, gory, fun, scary (for many), and above all else, it was about vampires. No, not the ones who fall in love and think we’re interested in their emotions. Instead, we were given vampires like we had never seen them before. With long, sharp claws, a mouthful of hideous fangs, and a relentless thirst for blood, 30 Days of Night didn’t only bring vampires back, but it brought them back with more intensity than any film has yet to match since 2007. The thing I love the most about this film is I could really feel the frustration everyone involved with it felt; it was like they had watched three back to back to back marathons of the Twilight saga and wanted to make a film that completely slapped it in the face. Well, 30 Days of Night was just that for horror fans. It proved to be an inspiration for other filmmakers as well, because shortly after we were granted multiple horror films that followed the lead of 30 Days of Night, such as Daybreakers, Thirst, and arguably the best overall horror movie in the last fifty years: Let The Right One In.
Of course, as I said before, 30 Days of Night is not perfect. Perhaps it isn’t the best in terms of acting, dialogue, and character development, which are all things I generally put a massive emphasis on. But, 30 Days of Night is one of the few films that gets a pass, because while it may be flawed, it is a masterpiece in its’ own right. Being a genuinely horrific, fast paced, vicious vampire film combined with a time when the vampire sub-genre was dying for a hero helps make 30 Days of Night one of the best modern blockbuster horror films, and one of the best vampire movies ever. The film is everlasting too; if vampires ever enter such a slump again, a deadly trip to Alaska will be there on the shelf, reminding us what vampires should look like. So on this ten year anniversary, I raise my glass to you, 30 Days of Night, you saved one of my favorite movie monsters from mass extinction, and I am forever grateful.