Saturday 16 February 2008

30 Days of Shite...

Coming fresh off the rather disappointing heels of hearing that apparently the new season of the absolutely awesome 24 has been arse-shafted back to January 2009 (why are the Americans adverse to showing any quality television throughout summer months? Losers...) I've decided to take that disappointed-cum-fan-anger and inject into the twitching corpse of 30 Days of Night which I had the misfortune to see.

Although, the Superbad soundtrack is cheering me up with it's 70's porno-funk stylings, and GTA 4 has finally been firmly dated...but 30DO-Shite is still a pile of rancid crap.

A bunch of idiots hanging around in some random gimmick-tastic Alaskan town as the thickets, most stupid and useless vampires go about staring dim-wittedly just off-camera, is how I'd describe the film in a sentence. It really is fucking stupid, just wading around in a swamp of shit with it's massive Alaska-sized plot holes flopping around like the lifeless script, and piss-boring characters.

It's painfully obvious that the makers were attempting to go somewhere more artistic with this movie. Some of the shots look straight out of a graphic novel (from whence this story came apparently), and it is indeed this aspect - the look of the film - which is pretty much the sole impressive aspect. But looks are certainly not everything, nor even half of a whole. 20 to 30 percent at best I'd say.

The story, as I've said, is chock-full with vast, yawning chasm-like plot holes. The whole film is based around one single gimmick - a town that's dark for 30 days with a bunch of vampires running around - ooh, how clever...actually no, the idea is neat but it's nothing more than a nifty least in the hands it ended up in anyway.

You couldn't give a bollocks about any of the characters, or their apparent characterisation and 'important' back-stories (which are honestly just dull). However, the inclusion of an elderly man suffering from Alzheimer's is an interesting twist when you're busy hiding - but beyond that, all the characters blow goats with gusto. Some just vanish, others add nothing at all, yet more just sit there gawping or being annoying, and the leads just prat around like idiots.

Speaking of idiots - the vampires themselves. This is the dumbest bunch of blood suckers that have ever (dis)graced the silver screen. You'd have thought that in a month, in a small town, and with blood-sniffing capabilities, you'd be able to track down a few survivors. With so few houses, and a sizable band of vampires, you could quite easily go from house-to-house literally sniffing out your prey.

But no, this bunch of n00bs sit around actually looking thoroughly confused and wait for the survivors to make A LOT OF NOISE before they turn up, and even then they're so lazy about hunting down their prey, you wonder why they bothered existing at all.

Now, this is a spoiler, but nevermind because you aren't missing anything at all by not watching the movie. Of course, what you really want to do as a vampire, is wait until the last few hours to burn down the entire town to flush out the humans - why not on day two? It's the sort of logic-defying plot devices that leave you groaning, rolling your eyes and watching the clock until it's all over. It continuously defies common sense, logic and even movie-style-reality.

For instance, for a month solid the vampires all have (what I called) 'blood beards', all drippy and fresh - FOR AN ENTIRE MONTH - and this is without constantly feeding. So explain, movie people, why with the month-long, fresh-blood beards? Chuck in some silly pointy teeth, some completely random vampire language (why wouldn't they just continue talking their native-human-english?) and you've got a crap fest on a plate.

Redeeming features? Beyond the visuals, which are rather spiffing, there's the gore. The gore is good (aside from the logic defying bloody faces), in fact it's the single best thing about the film when I come to think about it (yes, out of two good points). For example, towards the end someone gets their head hacked off with an axe - it's awesome and you actually get to see it - and it looks real. It's bloody, it doesn't appear to be drenched in CGI. Simply, the gore is awesome - but with a complete lack of a good plot and strong characters, it's two silver-lined clouds amidst a thunderous, torrential downpour.

Finally, you get a sense that the people behind this were gleefully attempting to make their own version of The Thing, trying to riff on Carpenters excellent film which actually establishes the characters, the location and their gradual cutting off from society and escape with a masterful talent. However, 30DO-Shite doesn't even come close to scraping the surface of the brilliance of John Carpenter's The Thing.

Quite simply, if you want to watch a bunch of people in a really cold place fighting an unknown enemy - watch John Carpenter's The Thing. Over 25 years later it's still a brilliantly constructed and terrifying piece of sci-fi-horror. The same could never be said, by anyone sane at least, of 30 Days of Shite.

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