The original 30 Days of Night was a great film with a superb and scarily stark story. Set in Barrow, a small town in Alaska where every year they have a month without sunlight, it followed the terrified town folks fight against a 30 day vampire siege.
The great concept and mix of action and horror was bound to inspire a sequel and Dark Days is that sequel, continuing the story straight from the final scene of the last movie.
Flashing forward several years Stella (A Perfect Getaway’s Kiele Sanchez taking over from Melissa George who stared in the first film) is still trumatised by the events in Barrow and the loss of her husband and many friends at the hands of the hungry bloodsuckers.
Driven by grief she tours the country trying to convince others that vampires do exist, meeting only skepticism and mockery. On the verge of giving up, a group of lost souls find her and offer her the opportunity to get revenge on the vampires who destroyed her life.
Armed to the teeth, the team set out on a mission to destroy the vampire network and kill their queen, Lilith (Mia Kirshner from 24 and The L Word) with bullets and brute force. However it seems that the enemy is everywhere, and faced with the possibility of finally eradicating the fanged freaks from the face of the planet Stella must journey straight to the vampire’s lair if she wants to be free from the ghosts of her past.
Like the first film Dark Days is based on a comic mini-series of the same name, written by Steve Niles who also co-wrote this screenplay as well as penning the original 30 Days of Night comic and film script.
Niles involvement and the fact that the film is an adaptation leads to a strong story-line, which continues and develops on the original, investigating the world of the vampires it created further and taking the character of Stella on an dark and interesting journey both actual and psychological.
Sanchez does an excellent job taking over a character already molded by another actress and the rest of the cast are solid.
The vampires in general are your standard issue Goths in black leather with sharp teeth and unidentifiable Eastern European accents. However in her portrayal of the vampire matriarch Kirshner gives an untouchable regal air with boats of disturbingly detached sadism which makes the character all the more believable and brutal.
Taking a different tone to the first film director Ben Ketai takes his influence from the brilliant Blade Trilogy. With guns and gore, action and frights and a ‘hard ass’ heroine with a rag tag team of misfits all out for blood from the bloodsuckers.
In its pacing the film seems to sag a little in the middle, but its climax - although predictable - gives the audience what it wants.
The final scene is an excellent and emotional payout which ties the two movies together, yet leaves things open hopefully for more days of night to come.