While this reviewer absolutely hated the graphic novel "30 days of night" was adapted from, it had nothing to do with the story, but, rather the virtually headache-inducing artwork. Thankfully, Director David Slade, has brought a unique vision to the tale, making a modern day vampire tale feel accessible and disturbing in a gritty, realistic atmosphere.
Josh Hartnett stars as the Sheriff in Barrow, Alaska, a tiny town isolated from the rest of society, and thrown into total darkness for 30 days each year. Unfortunately for the sheriff and the town residents, vampires have decided to take advantage of this time period, cutting off all lines of communication to the outside world, and besieging the town. "30 Days of Night" is aided greatly by a rapid pace, that never lets up, and a dark, looming quality, reminiscent of the John Carpenter remake of "The Thing." Isolation is its own terror, and the fact that residents have to battle the harsh cold as well as very realistic looking vampires, makes for some great scares. The only disappointment comes in the film's last few minutes, wherein the writer just couldn't come up with an original ending. AARGH!
SONY has provided the correct 2.40:1 aspect ratio for this 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 release. While intentionally not having a vibrant, colorful atmosphere, the cooler colors are well rendered, and the impact of rich red for blood scenes, packs a whallop. There is great detail in every scene, and minor grain and halos, can't prevent this from still being one of the best looking transfers of 2008! The dvd sports the same aspect ratio, but grain is more obvious throughout. Colors are fine, but the overall image, by 480 resolution, lacks the great detail found on blu-ray.
SONY has provided a Dolby TrueHd 5.1 mix. It's fantastic! From the opening credits through the entire film's duration, bass, discrete and panning effects are utilized in creative ways to add incredible tension to the film. With some of the most continuous bass effects on any blu-ray thus far, dialogue and other effects are still flawlessly balanced. BRAVO! The dvd offers a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. As with the blu-ray, the mix is wonderfully aggressive, and certain to give any subwoofer a run for its money. Balance is perfect.
The extras offered on both formats are the same, with blu-ray getting HD upgrades.
An audio commentary with Hartnett, his co-star and the film's producer, is included and fun, although not great.
An extensive documentary exploring the film's production is outstanding! Presented in a diary-like format, it offers tons of great footage and info.
There are numerous trailers included.