Tonight’s the longest night of the year, so I figured it was only appropriate to celebrate with this movie. And if you like horror movies, it’s a great movie to celebrate with.
I’ll be honest, I love this movie. I’ve seen it many many times. Maybe not quite as many times as I’ve seen the Dawn of the Dead remake, but many many times nonetheless.
It’s definitely one of those movies that you can tell was based off of a comic. The pacing and the visual effects are distinctive and often quite striking. There’s a lot of focus on the juxtaposition of dark red blood against stark white snow, for example. Semi-relatedly, a less striking detail that I liked was the muted Columbia Pictures logo at the beginning.
I’m also consistently impressed with the casting for this film. The actors who play the four major characters (Eben, Stella, the stranger, and Marlow) are a group I wouldn’t have thought to put together but who work fantastically as an ensemble. They’re also all faces I’ve seen in at least one other movie this year, though none with each other.
Josh Hartnett (from Halloween: H20) really shows off his acting range with this one. I’m used to seeing him as the generally lovable, often endearingly inept or hopelessly in love young adult rather than a mostly put-together sheriff with a bit of a dark side. He pulls it off rather well, particularly because the chemistry and tension between his Eben and Melissa George’s (from Triangle, the remake of The Amityville Horror, and Turistas) Stella is palpable.
This is also a great role for Ben Foster (Pandorum) to show off his range. Until this movie, I’d only ever seen him as the clean-shaven boy next door. I’d never have pictured him as an antagonist. Even in Pandorum he’s a good guy, though slightly less clean-shaven. He pulls it off, though. His character really helps to set the dark and creepy tone for the film.
Which brings us to Danny Huston (of The Number 23 fame). Danny Huston (and the amazing makeup crew for this film) really brings Marlow to life…so to speak. The vampires are creepy enough on their own, but with the cunning, merciless Marlow at the helm, they become absolutely terrifying.
This movie is dark, quiet, and thematically appropriate for the longest night of the year, and I love it. Oddly (somewhat ironically?) enough, it never fails at re-sparking my interest in visiting Alaska one of these days. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart, though I like it so much I might make them watch it anyway.