Film / 30 Days of Night

"Barrow, Alaska - Northernmost town in the U.S.
Isolated in 80 miles of roadless wilderness.
Cut off every winter for 30 days of night."

30 Days of Night is a 2007 Vampire film directed by David Slade and starring Josh Hartnett and Danny Huston.

The film is set in Barrow, Alaska, which the film quickly tells us is the northernmost town in the USA and as such has one month with no sunlight. During this period, most of the townsfolk leave for sunnier pastures.

But this year, things are different. First, a bunch of mobile phones turn up burned. Then all the sled dogs in town get brutally slaughtered. Then someone smashes up the only helicopter. When a tall, dark stranger walks into the diner and starts drawing attention to himself, Sheriff Eben Oleson (Hartnett) arrests him. But when the stranger starts talking about how "they" are coming, Oleson starts getting jumpy. Finding a man's head on a stake doesn't help calm him down.

When the circus comes to town, the sheriff and his estranged wife gather up a group of survivors and plan to survive the 30 days.

Also it's an adaptation of the first book from a graphic novel series of the same name, written by Steve Niles and illustrated by Ben Templesmith.

A direct-to-video sequel was released in 2010 call Dark Days likewise based on the sequel comic book of the same name. In it Stella, one of the survivors of Barrow, tries to prove the existence of vampires and joins up with a group of people who have also had run-ins with vampires. Enlisting her help in trying to take down a vampire queen.

There's also two supplementary material, Blood Trails, which acts as a prequel to the first movie and Dust To Dust which takes place afterward.

Tropes in this film:

  • Action Girl: Stella Oleson
  • Adaptation Distillation: The film is very faithful to the story it is based on, with a few aspects altered or even added.
  • An Axe to Grind
  • Answers to the Name of God:
    Lady victim: Oh...God.
    Marlowe: God? (looks around) No God.
  • Always Night: The film is set during the one month where Barrow, Alaska is without sun.
  • Artistic License Chemistry: Crude oil is much harder to ignite than gasoline due to impurities (its flash point is around 100 degrees Fahrenheit); in the bitter cold of an Alaskan winter it would be no small task to start an oil fire. And yet somehow it catches fire just like gasoline.
  • Badass Normal: Beau. During his Dying Moment of Awesome he singlehandly deals with two dozen vampires, kills most of them and badly mutilates others. Eben also counts, before becoming an Empowered Badass Normal.
  • Better to Die Than Be Killed: Beau's conclusion during his Suicide Mission.
  • Big Bad: Marlowe.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Eben is very protective of his teenage brother, Jake.
    • Could also apply as Big Sister Instinct to Stella, who protects Jake just as fiercely as her estranged husband does.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Although some survive, the rest of the town (around 150 people) are dead, and the protagonist is a hunk of charcoal. Luckily, most of the citizens survive by going southward for the month.
  • Black Eyes of Evil: The vampires' eyes have wide, solid black irises covering almost the entire visible eye, which, along with their mouthful of sharp teeth, makes them look really sharklike and sociopathic.
  • Black Speech: The vampires speak in an odd combination of words and animal-like sounds like hisses and screeches. When they want to signal others, they let out terrifying screams.
  • Blood Bath: In the sequel.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The large, grinding machine is constantly active throughout the movie for no real justifiable reason and, unsurprisingly, a vampire is thrown into it not long after the survivors reach the plant.
  • Composite Character: Marlow in the film is a combination of the character of the same name from the comics and another Vampire called Vicente.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: A fight between a couple dozen vampires and around 150 humans (many with guns) ends up with little to no casualties among the vampires and only maybe a dozen humans left. For what it's worth, the vampires gained a few bullet-wounds for their effort.
  • Darkness Equals Death: Vampires take advantage of the fact that the sun is naturally absent for a month.
  • Decapitated Army: Literally. After Eben blows Marlowe's brain out, the rest of the vampires just stumble around, not sure what to do.
  • Determinator: Eben. Clearly overpowered, outnumbered and succumbing to vampirism. And yet he still fights back.
  • Dwindling Party: Five people survive from the whole group. And the town of 152.
  • For Want of a Nail: Most of the survivors left town for a month. Stella desperately wanted to be among that group, but missed her flight. She ends up reconnecting with her estranged husband Eben and promising that they will watch the sunrise together. The promise is kept, but only because Eben was willing to infect himself in order to save Stella. Had she made her intended flight, she might never have patched up her relationship with Eben. And Eben would very likely have survived since without Stella to worry about, he would have stayed in the shelter until the sun came up.
  • Grim Up North
  • Harbinger of Impending Doom: The Stranger.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Eben becomes a Vampire knowing full well it was the only way to successfully save Stella and fight off the Vampires, as well as the fact that he wouldn't be able to change back or control himself from not harming anyone for long. So, after the Vampires are leaderless and scared shitless he lets himself be turned to ash by the sun. Some view this as a Stupid Sacrifice, but really, there weren't many other options.
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: "Barrow" is a kind of tomb. And an actual town.
  • Infant Immortality: One was (literally but temporarily). The others weren't.
  • Large Ham: Ben Foster.
  • Leave No Survivors: The standard practice of the vampires, so as to uphold The Masquerade.
  • The Load: The demented old father, who is not really aware of what's going on around.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: Vampires' MO. Kill everyone and burn everything to the ground, so there are no witnesses and everything can be blamed on a freak accident with the pipeline.
  • Mama Bear: Stella.
  • Men Are the Expendable Gender: After the initial killing spree during the Taking Over the Town sequence, none of the female characters die. Yet the party is constantly thawing.
  • Mercy Kill: From Eben to Carter Davies. Carter, finding that he has slowly been turning into a vampire, asks it of Eben so he wouldn't live forever without his family, who died years ago. Eben obliges and does so offscreen.
    • Billy get one too. It's messy, but still much more gentle than any other option.
    • Interestingly, Marlowe has one as well. Killing his lover, Iris, after she had been burned over half her body.
  • Must Be Invited: Averted when a vampire suddenly breaks into a family's house by jumping through a window!
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown
  • No Name Given: None of the vampires is named in-story. All their names comes from credits.
  • Off with His Head!: Like most creatures, beheading is the surest way to kill these vampires. And it's neither clean nor easy to do.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Their ashen skin, solid black eyes and mouths full of small, sharp teeth make them look almost like sharks. This depiction is far more terrifying than the typical metrosexual bloodsucker. They also don't seem to need an invitation.
  • Papa Wolf: Eben takes his role as Jake's protector very seriously.
  • Pro-Human Transhuman: Eben.
  • Promotion to Parent: Eben and Jake's parents are never mentioned, so it can be assumed that Eben shares custody and responsibility for Jake with their grandmother. However, once she is killed, Eben becomes this trope in full-force to his teenage brother.
  • The Quisling: Unintentionally, the girl used as bait. She helps vampires, because it's better than being killed on spot. It's more than obvious that she is heavily traumatised by this. And when there is no-one else to eat...
  • Race Lift: Not only are the paunchy, late-thirties, happily married main couple made buff, mid-twenties, and sexily divorced; the Native American Eben Olemaun becomes the white Eben Oleson.
    • Also, in the comic books, The Stranger seemed to pretty clearly be an actual vampire himself. In the film, he's a human being who hopes his vampire masters will reward him.
  • Sadistic Choice: Vampires set up a trap early on - a lone girl is wandering around, shouting for help. Heroes can choose - die, going for impossible rescue or let her die. A scene later Eben is Forced to Watch as the vampires proceed with killing the girl.
  • Scylla and Charybdis: When the whole town burns, Stella and Gail are hiding beneath a car wreck. Their options are either to run away, being killed almost on the spot... or burn alive.
  • Shout-Out: The little girl vampire has a tattoo of Einsturzende Neubauten's logo. Since it's a fair assumption that she didn't get this before becoming a vampire, one can only assume vampires dig industrial krautrock.
  • Shur Fine Guns: Billy can't shoot himself because the gun jams. Clearing weapons is never an option.
  • Sound-Only Death: Thunk. Thunk. Thunk.
  • Stock Scream: During the Taking Over the Town sequence, one man utters a Wilhelm when a vampire throws him off a roof.
  • Super Window Jump
  • Taking Over the Town: Several minutes are dedicated to showing this trope in action. The sequence is either really cool (the humans put up a legitimate but doomed fight), or utterly terrifying.
  • Taking You with Me: Beau was trying to pull this with a box of dynamite. Amusingly, he survived the explosion.
  • Undead Child: One scene has the group fighting against an vampire girl. It takes all of them to restrain and kill her.
  • Vampire Infectee: Carter. He choose to be killed rather than fully turn into a vampire.
  • Vampire Wannabe: The Stranger, who paves the way for the vampires by stealing and destroying the town's means of communication in exchange for being turned. They don't.
  • Villain Exit Stage Left: The remaining vampires just... walk around, because it's not even clear if they are trying to run away or hide from the incoming sun.
  • Walking Backwards
  • With Catlike Tread
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Carter lost his wife and kids in an accident and hardly can live on without them. The idea of spending the whole of eternity without them is unbearable for him.
  • Your Head A Splode: When Eben punches out Marlow.