Stella Oleson, the last living survivor of the Barrow massacre and wife of the late sheriff Eben Oleson, now lives in Los Angeles and makes a living on the lecture circuit discussing her book and the true circumstances surrounding the terrifying siege in Barrow. Despite the accepted official ruling that the population of Barrow were killed in a fluke gas explosion, Stella continues sharing her experiences in Alaska and even attempts to prove that vampires walk unseen amongst the living.
Naturally this catches the attention of some rather important players and it doesn’t take long before the vampires, with the help of a subservient human ally in the FBI, come looking for Stella in order to silence her. A small, ragtag group of vampire hunters and their shady vampire leader may be her only chance for survival. If they can avoid detection long enough to track down the whereabouts of the vampire “queen” Lilith, and kill her, they just may be able to stop another feast being planned for Alaska.
Can Dane and his crew really be trusted? Who is Lilith and can she be killed? What is the secret to vampire resurrection?
30 Days of Night: Dark Days is not only a reasonably faithful adaptation of the Dark Days comic book, with only a few changes taking place, but it is also an adequate and surprisingly well produced sequel to the original Ghost House Pictures production of 30 Days of Night. While one can never be sure what they’ll get when it comes to low budget direct-to-DVD sequels, in this particular case Ghost House, Steve Niles and Ben Ketai have actually crafted something worth checking out.
The production values were high; I had no problems with the cinematography, acting or score so on the technical tip everything here was satisfactory. Whether you enjoy Ghost House’s films or not, one can rarely knock the quality of their productions. I do think some will probably take issue with new actors filling the roles of Stella, originally played by Melissa George, but native Chicagoan Kiele Sanchez held her own quite well, even managing to outshine both veteran actress Mia Kirschner (“The L Word”) and Rhys Coiro (“Entourage”).
Concerning the story itself, I wasn’t bowled over by anything I saw as it just plows right through, ignoring sub-plots and much-needed exposition, toward the final inevitable showdown. I was a bit disappointed that we didn’t learn more about Dane and his ability to retain some semblance of humanity, his history with Lilith, the history of Lilith, the vampires and their connection with the Bug-Eaters. Genre fans familiar with the characters of Knock (Nesferatu) and Renfield (Dracula) will immediately understand what “Bug-Eater” means but it would have helped had it been explained a bit more.
The great thing about a direct-to-DVD sequel is that the public at large had no idea this film was coming out nor would they give a shit whether it followed the comic series closely or not so that really gave Ketai and Niles the freedom to reveal previously unknown tidbits of established mythology. Unfortunately 30 Days of Night: Dark Days doesn’t offer many explanations nor does it expand upon the first film aside from introducing a vampire matriarch and their process for resurrection.
Good? Sure, not bad at all but still disappointing in a non-offensive way. I wouldn’t purchase this for my collection, as I wasn’t the biggest fan of the first film, but it wouldn’t hurt to check it out as a rental.
By the way, what’s up with that front cover quote? Comparing this sequel to Twilight, a romantic fantasy film aimed at teen girls, and insisting it’s better isn’t at all encouraging. If this were to make Let The Right One In/Let Me In look like nursery school, to me that would be saying something. It just comes off as cheap, bully bandwagon marketing.