30 Days of Night (film)

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30 Days of Night
Theatrical release poster
Directed byDavid Slade
Screenplay by
Based on30 Days of Night
by Steve Niles
Ben Templesmith
Produced by
CinematographyJo Willems
Edited byArt Jones
Music byBrian Reitzell
Distributed bySony Pictures Releasing
Release date
  • October 19, 2007 (2007-10-19)
Running time
114 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$30 million[2]
Box office$75.5 million[2]

30 Days of Night is a 2007 American action horror film based on the comic book miniseries of the same name. The film was directed by David Slade and stars Josh Hartnett and Melissa George. The story focuses on an Alaskan town beset by vampires as it enters into a 30-day-long polar night.

30 Days of Night was originally pitched as a comic, then as a film, but it was rejected. Years later, Steve Niles showed IDW Publishing the idea and it took off. The film was produced on a budget of $30 million and grossed over $75 million at the box office during its six-week run starting on October 19, 2007. Critical reviews were mixed.

Its success resulted in a franchise that followed, including: a prequel miniseries, Blood Trails in 2007, a sequel miniseries, Dust to Dust in 2008, and a straight-to-home video sequel film Dark Days in 2010.


The town of Barrow, Alaska (now Utqiaġvik), is preparing for its annual period of the winter with a month-long polar night. As the town gets ready, a stranger arrives from a large ship and sabotages the town's communications and transports. Barrow's sheriff, Eben Oleson, investigates and also learns that his estranged wife, Stella, missed the last plane out of town and must stay the 30 days.

That night, a band of vampires, led by Marlow, attacks and slaughters most of the townspeople, forcing Eben's family and several other survivors to take shelter in a boarded-up house with a hidden attic. Resident Wilson is forced to chase after his amnesic father Isaac out into the open, thus losing both of their lives. When the vampires use a civilian as a bait, Eben takes the chance of them torturing her to save a resident named John who was hiding underneath a hut, injured from trying to protect his wife; however, Eben is horrified to see he has turned and forced to kill him when John tries to devour him. In the police station holding cell, Marlow finds the stranger, who believes the vampires will "turn" him as a reward for his help. However, Marlow snaps his neck.

Eighteen days later, when a blizzard hits, the group uses the whiteout to go to the general store for supplies but gets stranded after the blizzard ends. They head for the station while Eben creates a diversion. He lures the vampires to his grandmother's house and uses one of her ultraviolet lights to severely burn Marlow's lover, Iris, forcing him to mercy-kill her. Eben is aided by Beau, the town snowplow operator, who kills many of the vampires with his tractor. When he crashes, Beau attempts a suicide bombing to kill the remaining vampires. However, Beau and the vampires survive the explosion and Marlow crushes his head.

On Day 27, Stella and Eben see the deputy, Billy, signaling them with a flashlight, and bring him back to the station, after finding out he killed his family to save them from a more painful death. The trio find the others have made for the utilidor, a power and sewage treatment station that still has power, and head over there, but are separated after Stella saves Gail Robbins, a young girl whose family was slaughtered by the vampire Zurial. Eben and Billy make it to the utilidor but are attacked by the vampire Arvin. Billy kills Arvin but gets bitten in the process. Eben is forced to kill him when he starts to turn.

As the month comes to an end, with the sun due to rise, the vampires prepare to burn the fuel line running through the town, which will cause it to explode and destroy evidence of their presence. Realizing Stella is trapped and that he cannot beat the vampires in his current state, Eben injects himself with Billy's blood. Now a vampire, Eben confronts Marlow and after a vicious fight, manages to kill the vampire leader, causing the remaining vampires to flee. Eben and Stella go off to watch the sunrise together, sharing one last kiss. As the sun comes up, Eben's body burns to ash in Stella's arms.




30 Days of Night author Steve Niles conceived of the story in the form of a comic, but after meeting a lack of interest in initial pitches, tried to pitch it as a film. When this did not work out, Niles shelved the idea until he showed it to IDW Publishing. IDW published the comic and Ben Templesmith provided the artwork.[3] When Niles and his agent, Jon Levin, shopped the comic around again as a potential film adaptation, Niles found that the idea "went shockingly well", with Sam Raimi and Senator International picking up the property rights based on the original concept and Templesmith's unique mood and concepts for the vampires.[4]

According to Raimi, the potential project was "unlike the horror films of recent years".[5]

Following the publication of the 30 Days of Night comic book miniseries in 2002, studios, including DreamWorks, MGM, and Senator International, bid in the $1 million range for rights to a potential vampire film based on the story. Raimi expressed interest in adapting the miniseries and was negotiating a production deal with his producing partner Robert Tapert to establish a label with Senator Entertainment, of which Senator International is the sales division.[6] In July 2002, Senator International acquired the rights for 30 Days of Night in a seven-figure deal with Raimi and Tapert attached as producers.

By October 2002, Niles was working on adapting 30 Days of Night for the big screen, keeping the film true to the miniseries, though fleshing out the characters more significantly in the adaptation process.[7] In February 2003, Columbia Pictures partnered with Senator International to work on 30 Days of Night, which was developing under Senator International's newly established production company, Ghost House Pictures. Mike Richardson, the Dark Horse Comics publisher who supported the adaptation project from the beginning, after having turned down an offer to initially publish the project, was attached as executive producer.[8] The following March, Richardson revealed that Steve Niles had turned in the initial draft for the 30 Days of Night screenplay.[9] In March 2004, however, Columbia Pictures requested that Niles's initial screenplay to be rewritten in preparation for production.[10] Sue Binder, the business manager of Ghost House Pictures, indicated that filming for 30 Days of Night was still at least a year away, as Ghost House planned to produce three films before the vampire thriller.[10] The following May, Stuart Beattie, one of the writers for Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, was rewriting Niles' 30 Days of Night draft for production.[11] Niles was pleased with Beattie's faithfully rewritten script, which was submitted to the studio in October 2004.[12] Adi Hasak also made uncredited contributions to the script.

In September 2005, director David Slade was announced to have signed on to 30 Days of Night, which would be distributed by Columbia Pictures mainly in North America and Mandate Pictures in international territories.[13] In March 2006, Slade revealed that screenwriter Brian Nelson, who wrote the screenplay for Slade's previous film Hard Candy, was writing a new draft of the 30 Days of Night script, replacing Beattie's draft.[14] The director said that filming would begin in summer 2006 in Alaska and New Zealand.[14]


In June 2006, Josh Hartnett was announced as having been cast as the husband of the married couple who serves as the town's sheriff team. Some criticized the choice because the main character (Eben Olemaun, with the last name changed to Oleson for the motion picture adaptation) was originally Inuk in the comics.[15] Melissa George joined the 30 Days of Night cast as a sheriff and wife of Hartnett's character.[16] Danny Huston joined the cast as the leader of the vampires.[17]


Filming did not begin immediately, but in a September 2006 interview, executive producer Mike Richardson said that 30 Days of Night would be shot on 35 mm film, though discussion had occurred to shoot the film on Genesis.[18] In an interview prior to filming, Slade explained that the illustrations by Ben Templesmith would be reflected in production design. Slade also considered Nelson's draft to be the most faithful to the graphic novel. He also stated his intention to make a "scary vampire film", of which he did not think many existed. "The rest of them, they fall into all kinds of traps. We're going to try to do our best... and one of the ways we have to do it is be more naturalistic than the graphic novel, because it's very over-the-top," said Slade.[19] Also, concern was expressed that while the vampires needed to communicate, talking might lessen the effect. To counter this, a fictional vampire language, with click consonants, was constructed with the help of a professor of linguistics and the nearby University of Auckland. Slade explained, "we designed this really simple language that didn't sound like any particular accent that you would be aware of, that was based around really simple actions, eating, hunting, yes, no, really basic, because that's what vampires do."[20]


By February 2007, the production phase was completed, and a rough cut of the film was prepared.[21] In April, composer Brian Reitzell was hired to score the film.[22]


Brian Reitzell composed the film's score, with Justin Meldal-Johnsen performing. A soundtrack was released by Invada Records, with an artwork by Marc Bessant in summer 2015 on vinyl.[23]


To coincide with the film's release, a novelization by Tim Lebbon was published by Pocket Star on September 25, 2007.[24] It is one of six novels based on the franchise.


Box office[edit]

30 Days of Night was released in 2,855 cinemas in the United States and Canada on October 19, 2007. In its opening weekend, the film grossed $16 million,[2] placing first in the box office.[25] The film grossed $39.7 million in the United States and Canada and $35.7 million overseas for a total of $75.3 million worldwide.[2]

Critical reception[edit]

On the review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 51% based on 157 reviews, with an average rating of 5.6/10. The site's critics consensus states: "While 30 Days of Night offers a few thrills, it ultimately succumbs to erratic execution."[26] Metacritic reports a weighted average score of 53 out of 100 based on 29 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[27]

Roger Ebert gave the film 2.5 stars out of a possible 4. He criticized several plot holes, such as the vampires moving with supernatural speed in some attacks, but ponderous slowness in others, but also singled out Danny Huston for being "quite convincing" as the vampire leader, and summed up the film as "well-made, well-photographed, and plausibly acted, and is better than it needs to be."[28]

Home media[edit]

30 Days of Night was released February 26, 2008 on DVD, Blu-ray, and UMD for PlayStation Portable in the United States.[29]

TV series, prequels, and sequel[edit]

A prequel miniseries Blood Trails was released in 2007.

A sequel miniseries Dust to Dust was released in 2008.

A straight-to-DVD sequel entitled Dark Days was released on October 5, 2010.[30] The script for the sequel was written by Steve Niles and Ben Ketai with Ketai also positioned as director. When filming began on October 20, 2009, Rhys Coiro and Mia Kirshner were named as leads, with Kirshner playing the lead vampire villain Lilith.[31] Other cast named included Harold Perrineau, Kiele Sanchez, Diora Baird, Rhys Coiro, and Monique Ganderton.[32] Three days after filming began, Niles revealed that Kiele Sanchez replaced Melissa George in the role of Stella Oleson.[33] The sequel was produced on a lower budget, but being straight-to-video allowed the writers to more closely follow the comic book.[34]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "30 Days of Night (15)". British Board of Film Classification. September 21, 2007. Retrieved February 12, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d "30 Days of Night (2007)". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on October 24, 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-25.
  3. ^ Sarah Dobbs & Ron Hogan (April 16, 2008). "Steve Niles interview". Den of the Geek. Archived from the original on June 21, 2008. Retrieved 2010-12-02.
  4. ^ SCI FI Wire (July 30, 2007). "30 Days grabbed Raimi's Eye". Sci Fi Wire. Archived from the original on October 11, 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-30.
  5. ^ Jonah Weiland (July 22, 2002). "Niles Looks Forward to At Least '30 Days' of Screen Time". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved October 13, 2006.
  6. ^ "Raimi Mulls 30 Days". Sci Fi Wire. July 15, 2002. Archived from the original on August 24, 2006. Retrieved 2006-10-13.
  7. ^ Ace MacDonald (October 14, 2002). "Horror is October Month". Comicon.com. Archived from the original on September 26, 2007. Retrieved October 13, 2006.
  8. ^ "Columbia Acquires 30 Days of Night". Ghost House Pictures. February 27, 2003. Archived from the original on May 15, 2007. Retrieved October 13, 2006.
  9. ^ Jonah Weiland (March 31, 2003). "Dark Horse's Mike Richardson Talks Comic Book Movies". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved October 13, 2006.
  10. ^ a b Kyle Hopkins (March 3, 2004). "Bloodthirsty in Barrow". Anchorage Press. Archived from the original on October 4, 2006. Retrieved October 13, 2006.
  11. ^ "Steve Niles Talks Movies". Comic Continuum. May 4, 2004. Retrieved October 13, 2006.
  12. ^ "30 Days Moves Forward". Sci Fi Wire. October 13, 2004. Archived from the original on July 10, 2006. Retrieved 2006-10-13.
  13. ^ Tatiana Siegel (September 7, 2005). "Slade has eyes for Col's 'Night'". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on December 6, 2007. Retrieved 2006-10-13.
  14. ^ a b Edward Douglas (March 24, 2006). "David Slade on 30 Days of Night". SuperHeroHype.com. Retrieved October 13, 2006.
  15. ^ "Hartnett in Flight with Sony 'Night'". June 15, 2006. Archived from the original on October 19, 2006. Retrieved October 13, 2006.
  16. ^ "30 Days of Night, Melissa George and Josh Hartnett". MelissaGeorge.co.uk. July 31, 2006. Archived from the original on September 28, 2007. Retrieved October 13, 2006.
  17. ^ Borys Kit (September 11, 2006). "'Night' dawns for Huston in Col horror pic". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on October 12, 2006. Retrieved 2006-10-13.
  18. ^ Robert Sanchez (September 28, 2006). "Exclusive Interview: Part II With Dark Horse's Mike Richardson". IESB.net. Retrieved October 13, 2006.
  19. ^ Daniel Fienberg (April 13, 2006). "'Candy' Director Prepares for '30 Days of Night'". Zap2It.com. Archived from the original on September 27, 2006. Retrieved 2006-10-13.
  20. ^ Cindy White (October 15, 2007). "Director David Slade shines a light on Josh Hartnett and Melissa George to bring a new vision of vampires to the screen in 30 Days of Night". SciFi Weekly. Archived from the original on April 20, 2008. Retrieved 2009-02-05.
  21. ^ Andy Khouri (February 24, 2007). "NYCC, DAY 2: MYSPACE MYSTERY PANELISTS REVEALED!". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved April 6, 2007.
  22. ^ "Brian Reitzell: 30 Days of Night" (PDF). Film Music Weekly. April 3, 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 10, 2007. Retrieved April 10, 2007.
  23. ^ Barkan, Jonathan (January 29, 2010). "Invada Announces '30 Days Of Night' Vinyl For Record Store Day 2015". BD. Retrieved January 29, 2015.
  24. ^ Lebbon, Tim (September 25, 2007). 30 Days of Night novelization. Pocket Star. ISBN 978-1416544975.
  25. ^ Pamela McClintock (October 21, 2007). "Audiences sink teeth into 'Night'". Variety. Retrieved October 21, 2007.
  26. ^ "30 Days of Night (2007)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved November 14, 2009.
  27. ^ "30 Days of Night". Metacritic. Retrieved November 14, 2009.
  28. ^ Ebert, Roger. "30 Days of Night Movie Review (2007) – Roger Ebert". www.rogerebert.com.
  29. ^ "30 Days of Night – DVD Sales". The Numbers. Retrieved December 2, 2010.
  30. ^ "30 Days of Night: Dark Days Home Video Specs and Release Date". Dread Central. July 9, 2010. Archived from the original on July 12, 2010. Retrieved July 8, 2010.
  31. ^ "Update: '30 Days of Night: Dark Days' Gets October Blu-ray/DVD Date". Bloody Disgusting. July 9, 2010. Archived from the original on July 10, 2010. Retrieved July 8, 2010.
  32. ^ "BD's Got Your 30 Days of Night: Dark Days Casting!". Bloody Disgusting. October 19, 2009. Retrieved January 8, 2010.
  33. ^ "Kiele Sanchez Takes Over For Melissa George in 30 Days of Night: Dark Days". ReelzChannel. October 23, 2009. Archived from the original on March 9, 2010. Retrieved January 8, 2009.
  34. ^ Nicholson, Max (July 23, 2010). "Dark Days Interview: Steve Niles". IGN. Archived from the original on December 13, 2010. Retrieved August 18, 2010.

External links[edit]