**/**** Image A Sound A+ Extras B
starring Josh Hartnett, Melissa George, Danny Huston, Ben Foster
screenplay by Steve Niles and Stuart Beattie and Brian Nelson, based on the graphic novel by Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith
directed by David Slade
by Walter Chaw The dialogue is woeful and the scenario is stretched at feature-length, but there's a lot to like about David Slade's graphic-novel adaptation 30 Days of Night. As high concepts go, it's a pretty good one: What if a band of vampires was enterprising enough to head north to Alaska--where some towns experience the titular month-long blackout--to live it up in luxurious dark? It makes so much sense that it's a wonder it hasn't been done before, really, and a few glacial, arctic moments in the film gave me a thrill of anticipation as to what might be possible should Dan Simmons's The Terror ever receive a proper, big-budget treatment. The gore is good and plentiful--not explicit to the point of exploitative, but packed thick with unequivocal suggestions of child murder, cruelty, and the wholesome goodness of a satisfying, old-fashioned decapitation-by-hatchet. And in a fall that sees the flicker of resurrection of the early-Seventies/late-Sixties western, it's easy to place 30 Days of Night in the context of another revision of that hoary American genre, complete with exit music suggesting that the way to salvation lies in the assumption of the enemy's tactics and identity. Explanation at last of what our government is thinking when it tears up our Constitution to fight people wanting to tear up our Constitution.