30 Days of Night: Dark Days picks up from where the original 30 Days of Night ended, which is a bit difficult in a way as the lead actress changed, due to Melissa George not being available to reprise the role. We rejoin the town of Barrow, Alaska, which we’re told in a voiceover from the new Stella (Kiele Sanchez, right), that the town was rebuilt and that life goes on.
The first movie had some good things going for it, particularly the aforementioned Ms George and Brit actress Amber Sainsbury, but as a whole, the premise of a slasher flick where all the characters are trapped in a town for an entire month could’ve had a lot more scope to it that just wasn’t explored there and the ending did leave quite a bit to be desired. So, onto this sequel.
We see Stella giving talks around the US, telling her story in lecture theatres to people, some of whom laugh, understandably, but for this one she’s giving, she’s rigged the room with a few lights with enough power to replicate the sun and given that she states she’s had a few vampires turn up to those talks, this is how she wants to root them out. Naturally, this makes for a rather short lecture and given that she’s been doing these for 10 months, you’d have expected word to get round and the world to have cottoned on, so it makes no sense that not a single person has caught a whisper of what’s gone on.
Paul (Rhys Coiro), Todd (Harold Perrineau) and Amber (Diora Baird), who’ve also lost loved ones to vampires in other states across the US, track Stella down to her hotel room. The aim, and the reason they’re all at her latest venue, Los Angeles, is that Lilith (Mia Kirshner, right – and below-right in a picture certainly not from this film – who I mostly remember for blowing up a plane in the very first ’24’ episode) is in town, the Queen Bee vampire so to speak. She orchestrates everything and if they can get rid of her then they get rid of the problem. For good. A man called Dane (Ben Cotton) will help them, but he has the unfortunate disability of being bitten by a vampire and not quite have turned into one.
Throw in a creepy FBI guy, Agent Norris (Troy Ruptash), who clearly knows more about what’s going on that he lets on, and you have a film that you can predict from the off. Before I get to it, I can predict you’ll see the good guys preparing for an onslaught with Lilith, you’ll see her prepare her army and then there’ll be gore aplenty. Wonder if I’m right…
Overall, I’ll leave you to guess whether I’m right, but the fact this is a direct-to-DVD sequel won’t fill you with aspiration for what you’re about to watch and shooting bad guys in the dark with automatic weapons just makes me feel like I’m watching someone play Doom 3, and if that was any good then I’d go play it instead. This is a sequel that’s as redundant as a lot of people are feeling since the recession. Whoever commissioned this should be fed to the vampires.
Presented in the original 1.85:1 theatrical ratio and in 1080p high definition, the picture is sharp and detailed with no problems whatsoever. There’s nothing particularly stand-out in this movie, but I can’t pick faults where there are none. A spot-on job has been done with the mastering. For the record, I’m watching on a Panasonic 37″ Plasma screen via a Samsung BD-P1500 Blu-ray player.
Audio-wise, you get a 5.1 DTS HD MA soundtrack, for which I got the 5.1 DTS version, which is faultless when it comes to getting across what is mostly gunfire and vampires growling, and there’s thudding bass in the soundtrack. It doesn’t do a great deal else though, but does what it needs to without a hitch.
The extras are small in number and are as follows:
- Graphic Inspirations: Comic To Film (9:51): Use the arrow keys on the remote to move between 7 images from the graphic novel upon which this film was based and ‘enter’ to hear a short piece from the director about how they brought that scene to the screen. This is a Blu-ray exclusive.
- The Gritty Realism of Dark Days (10:07): A standard behind-the-scenes featurette, led by director Ben Ketai and with contributions from all the key cast members as well as Make-up FX designer Todd Masters.
- Audio commentary: From director/co-writer Ben Ketai and producer JR Young. Commentary subtitles are available in English, Italian and Spanish.
- Trailers: Don’t get excited… there’s none for this film, which is a bizarre Sony trait recently. Instead, you get Legion, Salt, Takes and The Other Guys.
The menu mixes clips from the film with some incidental music. There are subtitles in English, Italian, Spanish, Danish, Finnish, Hindi, Norwegian, Portuguese and Swedish. The chaptering is a low, but usual for Sony, 16 which isn’t enough. I work on the rule of thumb for approximately one every five minutes, ensuring one apiece for the opening and closing credits.
Running time: 93 minutes
Distributor: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Cat no: SBR65616
Released: October 2010
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: DTS 5.1 HD Master Audio, DTS 5.1
Languages: DTS 5.1 HD: English, Italian, Spanish
Subtitles: English and 8 other languages
Disc Format: BD50
Director: Ben Ketai
Producer: Vicki Sotheran
Screenplay: Steve Niles and Ben Ketai
Music: Andres Boulton
Stella: Kiele Sanchez
Paul: Rhys Coiro
Amber: Diora Baird
Todd: Harold Perrineau
Lilith: Mia Kirshner
Agent Norris: Troy Ruptash
Dane: Ben Cotton
Jennifer: Katie Keating
Stacey: Katharine Isabelle
Clyde: James Pizzinato
Ship Captain: Peter Hall
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.