David Slade’s graphic-novel adaptation displays so much promise in its first 20 minutes that you can sense aficionados anticipating serious B-movie bliss. The premise is ingenious: A remote Alaskan town suffers four weeks of nonstop darkness, which makes it the perfect vacation spot for those who hate sunshine but like helpless populations bursting with type O. As locals prepare for their long month’s journey into night, the sheriff (Hartnett) keeps running across unexplained oddities: incinerated cell phones, a kennel full of canine corpses, that mysterious stranger (Foster) with a knack for making apocalyptic pronunciations and chewing scenery. The more Slade (Hard Candy) leads up to the inevitable, the greater the feeling that he has studied John Carpenter movies and learned how to use atmospherics to his advantage.
Then come the bloodsuckers, led by ham-for-all-seasons Danny Huston—along with a reliance on the cliché stuttercam effect that action films are apparently now legally bound to include—and the spell is broken. Despite the clever twist of fighting vampires with an ultraviolet lamp (good thing grandma grew pot), this horror-flick fondue settles into an extended cat-and-mouse sequence dotted with the occasional dollop of gore. Day 30 can’t come soon enough.
Cast and crew