From the pages of yet another comic book springs 30 Days Of Night, a vampire thriller with a deep, easy command of the genre, a very strong stomach as far as gore goes, and an inspired setting. Josh Hartnett stars as Eben Oleson, Sheriff of the small Alaskan town of Barrow. As dusk falls, he's investigating a spate of vandalism around the town. It's a tense time of year - Barrow won't see daylight again for a month. But this winter's going to be a real killer - a pack of vampires is waiting just outside the town, ready for thirty days of uninterrupted fun.
The film gets its set-up in place with remarkable efficiency, bringing Barrow and its people alive with minimum screen time before plunging whole-heartedly into vampire carnage. Fantastic set-pieces, like an aerial view of the (black-eyed fangy Russianish goth) vampires tearing the townsfolk to shreds, grind home the peril. This keeps the tension high when Eben and a handful of survivors, including his estranged wife Stella [Melissa George] are forced to hole up, Anne Frank style, in a hidden attic.
"CASUAL YET EXTREME GORE"
Unfortunately, this passing of time in what should be an atmosphere of claustrophobic terror is unconvincingly evoked, making the middle of the film drag, and the sudden jump from day 14 or so to day 29 a bit of a stretch of belief. But when it gets back into the action, it storms along, shocking with casual yet extreme gore (including what must be one of the best screen decapitations ever), and amusing with humour so very black that you're ashamed at having laughed. For its final third, 30 Days Of Night strikes out a nerve-jangling, bloodily unpredictable route to a truly stunning ending that's well worth the wait.
30 Days Of Night is out in the UK on 1st November 2007.