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Film / 30 Days of Night

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"There is no escape. No hope. Only hunger, and pain."

"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, Melissa George, Ben Foster, and Danny Huston.

The film is set in Utqiagviknote , Alaska, 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 (Foster) 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.

"They" turn out to be a horde of vampires itching for a taste of fresh blood, and they plan to take every advantage of a month without sunrise. The sheriff and his estranged wife (George) gather up a group of survivors and plan to survive the thirty days of night.

Also it's an adaptation of the first book from a comic book 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 miniseries: Blood Trails, which acts as a prequel to the first movie, and Dust To Dust which takes place afterward.

Tropes in this film:

  • Actionized Sequel: Dark Days is a lot more action-packed and filled with blazing guns than the first movie.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The little girl appeared in the comic for all of a couple panels, but didn't appear to take much interest in attacking Eben.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: The paunchy, late-thirties, happily married main couple of the comics become buff, mid-twenties, and sexily divorced.
  • Adaptational Dumbass: A downplayed example. The vampires in the graphic novel are fully capable of speech, whereas in here, most of them emit horrid shrieks.
  • Adaptational Heroism:
    • Marlow, in the graphic novel, is a despicable bastard whose only goal is to have a month-long buffet of human blood and doesn't care much for anything else. He's given a lover here, and even Mercy Kills her when she's wounded by the UV light.
    • Dane in the Dark Days graphic novel started out trying to get revenge on Stella for the death of Marlow but allies himself with her later, whereas in the film adaptation, he was always on the side of the vampire hunters.
  • Adaptational Villainy: While Lilith was evil in the Dark Days graphic novel, her motivations were based on revenge solely against Stella because Eben killed Vicente, and she disapproved of the attack on Barrow. In the film adaptation, she's intent on invading Barrow again, seemingly for no other reason than For the Evulz.
  • Adaptation Distillation: The film is very faithful to the story it is based on, with a few aspects altered or even added.
  • Adapted Out: Judith and Taylor the vampire hunters tracking Marlowe and his actions in Barrow (although Judith was in some tie-in webisodes).
  • Affectionate Gesture to the Head: Eben hugs and pets his little brother on the head while comforting and consoling him. Stella does the same thing.
  • Always Night: The film is set during the one month where Barrow, Alaska is without sun.
  • And Then John Was a Zombie: Eben does this willingly, reasoning from what he's seen that he'll be able to control himself long enough to kill the other vampires before he succumbs to his new instincts.
  • 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. Marlowe manages it with a simple match as if it were gasoline.
  • Artistic License Space: There is not a full day of normal sunlight before the curtain is suddenly rolled down for a month and then the sun rises up like normal. Due to the earth's tilt, latitudes closer to the poles get longer nights during winter time (and longer days during summer). The closer to the poles the more drastic the effect, with communities above the arctic circle experience the sunlight slowly vanishing until an extended period when the sun does not reach above the horizon. On midday there is a gloomy dawn-light, rather than complete darkness. When the sun finally comes back it only reaches above the horizon for a short while before vanishing, with sun appearing more and more as spring comes.
    • Notably, Barrow (now Utqiagvik) actually has 67 days without sunlight.
  • Ax-Crazy: The vampires are all extremely violent and animalistic.
  • Badass Normal: Beau. During his Dying Moment of Awesome he single-handedly deals with two dozen vampires, kills most of them and badly mutilates others. Eben also counts, before becoming an Empowered Badass Normal.
  • Bald of Evil: Arvin, the bald vampire that appears to serve as The Dragon to Marlow.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: Beau's conclusion during his Suicide Mission.
  • Big Bad: Marlow leads a small group of vampires to ravage the town of Barrow.
  • 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 shark-like 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, Lilith bathes in a tub of blood.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Several of the vampires go out by shotgun to the face, taking off most of their heads with it.
  • Casual High Drop: A vampire casually drops off a roof as part of an ambush in the sequel.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The large industrial grinding machine is shown at the start of the film. Unsurprisingly, a vampire, Arvin, 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. This is why his personality radically changes at the end (Vicente was Marlow's superior who showed up to cover his massive Masquerade breach, killing Marlow for his stupidity in the process).
  • 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 punches Marlow's brain out, the rest of the vampires just stumble around, not sure what to do, then slowly retreat.
  • Decapitation Presentation: The vampires gang up on Gus, kill him, and skewer his severed head on a pike for Eben to find.
  • 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.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Iris is implied to be Marlow's lover.
  • Event Title: 30 Days of Night.
  • Expy: Beau is the movie's answer to the comic's John Ikos, who's practically a one-man army against the vampires. They even look a little similar.
  • Faux Action Girl: Amber in the sequel. She exists mainly to complain about how Stella is useless in a fight and is going to get the rest of the group of vampire hunters killed. She kills exactly zero vampires, gets Todd killed when she panics in the middle of their first operation as a group, dies herself during the climax, and provides nothing in the interim except needless antagonism towards the female lead.
  • Feral Vampires: One of the Trope Codifiers of the modern day. The vampires sail their raggedy old ship to a small village and start hunting people down like wolves.
  • 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.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Despite all the extreme vampire gore in the film, the camera doesn't show Jake chopping off the little girl vampire's head with the fire axe.
  • Grim Up North: A mild vampire apocalypse story that takes place in Barrow, Alaska.
  • Harbinger of Impending Doom: The Stranger, who kills the sled dogs and sabotages the communications to facilitate the vampire invasion in the hopes of being allowed in their clan.
  • The Hero Dies: Eben allows himself to burn in the sun after turning himself to fight the vampires.
  • 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.
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: "Barrow" is a kind of tomb. And an actual town.
  • Kubrick Stare: The vampires of this movie are very fond of pulling these, especially Arvin and Iris.
  • Large Ham: Ben Foster relishes his performance as the Stranger.
    Stranger: I don't talk to dead men. I DON'T TALK TO DEAD MEN! You're all dead!
  • Last of Their Kind: The vampires, at least according to the trailers.
  • 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. He gets eaten and ends up taking his son with him when he escapes out a window.
  • 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 runs from cover to grab a traumatized child at the end, even though the child is bait.
  • Manly Facial Hair: Beau probably kills the most vampires and has a pretty long and thick beard.
  • The Masquerade: Marlow mentions that the vampires have gone to great lengths to make people forget they were ever real. This is why they carefully plan to cover up their attack by burning the town.
  • 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 gets one too. It's messy, but still much more gentle than any other option. He also gave one to his wife and daughter, so the vampires wouldn't catch them.
    • Interestingly, Marlow has one as well. He kills 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!
  • Nerdy Inhaler: Averted. Eben has asthma that he treats with an inhaler but is a handsome, athletic Action Survivor cop. Even when he suffers from an asthma attack latter in the film, it does nothing to lessen his coolness factor.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Vampire!Eben delivers one to Marlow at the end, ultimately driving his fist through his mouth and into the back of his head.
  • No Name Given: None of the vampires are named in-story. All their names come from the 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. They also don't seem to need an invitation.
  • Papa Wolf: Eben takes his role as Jake's protector very seriously.
  • Pink Means Feminine: Kristen, the unwilling quisling, has a pink sweater on and is somewhat made up and Neutral Female.
  • 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.
  • Put on a Bus: Despite being Eben's little brother and therefore Stella's younger brother-in-law, Jake is bizarrely absent from the sequel film. What makes this especially strange is that Jake would only be sixteen at the time of the sequel and Stella should presumably be his guardian.
  • The Quisling:
    • The Stranger, who makes sure no one will be able to escape the town or warn anyone of the vampires before they show up.
    • The girl used as bait. She helps the vampires, because it's better than being killed on the spot. It's more than obvious that she is heavily traumatized by this. And when there is no-one else to eat...
  • Race Lift:
    • 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, or at least on the verge of turning. In the film, he's a human being who hopes his vampire masters will reward him.
  • The Renfield: The Stranger, again. He aids the vampires by cutting off the townspeople's means of escape, in the hopes of being turned. Too bad for him that Marlow doesn't keep his end of the bargain.
  • Run or Die: When a pipeline worker is attacked and killed in front of his two colleagues, Denise runs away upon seeing his body and gets away. The other guy lingers to stare and is implied to become another victim.
  • 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.
  • Sinister Schnoz: Iris. Being played by Megan Franich may have something to do with it.
  • Slasher Smile: Arvin gives a nightmarish bloody smile upon encountering poor Gaz.
  • Stock Scream: During the Taking Over the Town sequence, one man utters a Wilhelm when a vampire throws him off a roof.
  • Stupid Evil: Marlow, with an even bigger emphasis on the "stupid" than in the graphic novel. He and his pack slaughter almost everyone presumably on the very first of the 30 days of night, leaving them to stalk the streets of Barrow over the course of the next month, leaving with very little in the way of food. Then, close to the end of the period of darkness, he finally gives his speech to the surviving vampires about how they've given humans reason to suspect their existence. Of course, this is all largely because Vicente, the elder vampire who gave the speech at the end, was Adapted Out and became a Composite Character with Marlow.
  • Suicide Attack: Beau sets off several sticks of dynamite while the vampires rush him, but survives. Marlow kills him.
  • Suicide by Sunlight: Eben waits with Stella on the morning when the sun returns, and is burned into ash.
  • 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, but Marlow took care of that. Marlow mocks the tactic, deriding it as a sign of weakness.
  • These Hands Have Killed: Jake is understandably shocked and horrified when he beheads the little vampire girl with an ax. Eben, Stella, and Beau are quick to comfort Jake and reassure him that he did the right thing, but Eben also points out this reaction is a pretty good indicator that he won't be up to constantly chopping down vampires left and right.
  • Undead Child: One scene has the group fighting against a vampire girl. It takes all of them to restrain and kill her.
  • Vampire Monarch: Marlow appears to be this for the rest of the vampires. After he dies, the rest just wander around aimlessly, indicating he may have had some mind control over them which has lifted now. Lilith is referred to as Vampire Queen in the sequel Dark Days.
  • 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.
  • Weakened by the Light: Vampires are quickly burned alive by sunlight, which is why they targeted Barrow. A whole month of no daylight means they're free to feed. Ultraviolet lamps still work, though, which is exploited by Evan. Unfortunately, those need power, so that trick only works once.
  • Where Is Your X Now?: Marlow says what amounts to "Where is your God now?" in a subtler form.
    Lady victim: Oh...God.
    Marlow: God? (looks around, frowns and shakes his head 'sadly') No God.
  • Where's the Fun in That?:
    Denise: Neither of you are getting me alone. Neither!
    Aaron: Ah! We share, right? None of us have to be greedy.
    Gabe: Yeah, come on. We'll be good.
    Denise: Oh, you will? Where's the fun in that?
  • 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 an eternity without them is unbearable for him. He lets himself be killed instead.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: The vampires set up a trap early on by having a lone girl wandering around, shouting for help. Anyone who comes out to help gets eaten. Eben catches onto the trick and is Forced to Watch as the vampires proceed with killing the girl for failing.
  • The X of Y: 30 Days of Night.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: The vampires kill the girl they were using as bait when she fails to attract anyone. Marlow also kills The Stranger after he's prepared the way for the vampires (who had promised they'd turn him), saying to the others "The things they'll believe."
  • Your Head A-Splode: When Eben punches out Marlow. One vampire's head gets blown off by a shotgun blast and (apparently) killed earlier too.
  • Zombie Infectee: Carter. Though in a twist he doesn't wait until it's too late, just until there's a proper moment to deal with the problem. He chooses to be killed rather than fully turn into a vampire.


Video Example(s):


30 Days of Night [Vampire Girl Attacks]

Scene from "30 Days of Night". The surviving protagonists hole up in a grocery store to hide out from the vampire horde attacking the town. However they find they're not alone when the youngest of the horde find them.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / UndeadChild

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