By EW Staff
October 15, 2007 at 04:00 AM EDT
Kirsty Griffin

Can vampire movies really rise from the dead? 30 Days of Night, an adaptation of the spine-chilling 2002 graphic novel by Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith attempts to resurrect the worn-out genre with something sorely missing after years of campy spoofs and stylized suckfests: realism. ”I didn’t want to transgress into fantasy,” says director David Slade (Hard Candy), who vetoed superpowers like flight and gave his bloodsuckers chiseled, feral teeth instead of Dracula-style fangs. ”It’s not fun horror. These vampires, they feed like dogs.”

The carnage takes place in Barrow, Alaska, a town with no sunlight for 30 days each winter, which allows a horde of vampires to attack unlucky locals, including a sheriff (Josh Hartnett) and his estranged wife (Melissa George). The premise guarantees blood and guts aplenty, but Hartnett insists that the movie is more nuanced than the average horror pic. ”There’s obviously some gore in it,” he says, ”but the thrills come more from the suspense than from the slasher moments.”

Even more unusual: The movie was actually made on vampire time — seven weeks of shooting entirely at night. ”After a certain point, you do go a little crazy,” says Hartnett, who got used to sleeping through the day and eating breakfast in the evening. ”It really messes with everyone’s head,” Slade notes gleefully. ”People become strange.”We presume craft services stocked up on garlic bread.

  • Movie
  • R
  • 108 minutes
  • David Slade
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