Sunday, October 24, 2010

30 Days and 13 Hours

Watched a couple of new films of late, so some thoughts ... I really enjoyed the original 30 Days of Night film ... a great idea, simple, and yet effective. If you've not seen it, it's basically about a town in Alaska which, every year, experiences a month of night as the sun doesn't rise there. When this happens, the town effectively closes - everyone leaves or settles in for a month indoors. But on this year, the town is targetted as the hunting ground for a pack of shark-like vampires who swoop in and kill anyone and anything in their path. Now there's a sequel to the first film, called Dark Days, and it takes a different tack. The surviving woman from the first film (played by Melissa George there, and by Kiele Sanchez here) travels the country warning people about the Vampires. She meets up with a group of hunters and they start seeking the creatures out. They eventually discover that they are planning an attack on another Alaskan town, and so get on board the ship with the vampires in order to try and stop them. It's more character driven than the first film, and is interested in itself, although I found it slow. The vampires are placed in the background here which is a shame, and you don't really get to see them except as killing machines. There's a queen vampire controlling everyone, and she comes over like Alice Krige as the Borg Queen in that Trek movie, and a policeman Renfield who wants to be a vampire ... The film very much ticks all the boxes of everything that we have seen before and does nothing new. It introduces the idea that the crispy vampires that have been burnt in the sun can be revived with blood - which actually makes a nonsense of the first film where the lead Vampire's girl is crisped, and he kills her with the words 'That which can be broken must be broken'. If all it needed was blood to restore her, then why kill her? I'd probably only give this 5 out of 10 ... The other film is called 13 Hrs, apparently from the producers of Dog Soldiers ... well they really shouldn't have bothered. It's another werewolf flick, but so vastly inferior to Neil Marshall's epic, that it doesn't really bear comparison. A girl, Sarah, returns home to find a group of her friends drinking and smoking pot. They are a disparate bunch: Emily, who is sleeping with Sarah's ex-boyfriend apparently to get back at her, a younger brother, and a couple of other lads, one of whom is I think her other brother. They are so generic that I can't actually remember who was who or what their names were. Anyway, they inexplicably find themselves trapped in the family home with a werewolf on the rampage. The creature kills Simon McCorkindale in a very short cameo appearance in what might have been his last film, and then hunts and chases the kids all over the house, through secret passages and up into the attic. Along the way they argue and bicker and disagree ... one by one being polished off. The denoument is very predictable indeed, and the werewolf effects are terrible. The editing is also awful, rendering fight scenes impossible to follow as the cutting is too quick - one second shots of what's happening all cut together does not make for excitement, it makes for bemusement on the part of the viewer who has no idea what's happening. The dialogue is also risible, with some dreadful lines being delivered dreadfully. Overall the script is not good. Even the title, 13 Hrs is not explained - apparently it's how long they have to survive in the house ... but nothing is made of this in the script. A shame that a british horror film should turn out so poorly, but there you go. Basically actors off of Hollyoaks and Lads Mags (Gemma Atkinson, take a bow), My Family (that's you Gabriel Thomson) and Harry Potter (stand up Tom Felton) do not make for an endearing film when the script is as bad as this one. Just gets a 4 out of 10 from me. For a great werewolf experience, I suggest you check out the aforementioned Dog Soldiers, or Ginger Snaps, or even the reliable classics The Howling or An American Werewolf in London. They knew how to do it properly.