At first glance, 30 Days of Night may not seem like the ideal candidate for a direct-to-video sequel. Though in all fairness, what IS the ideal candidate for a direct-to-video sequel? In any event, the original film opened in 2007 to middling critical reaction and the number one place at the box office. It eventually made almost $40 million domestically and another $35 million worldwide, easily recouping it’s $30 million dollar production budget. Since it’s based on a relatively popular comic book series, the original did pretty well, and horror on home video has a decent track record, why not throw a few million at a sequel and see what happens?
30 Days of Night: Dark Days picks up right where the last one left off, only Sony’s swapped out Melissa George and replaced her with Kiele Sanchez in the role of Stella hoping no one will notice. Which wouldn’t be so bad, after all this sort of thing happens all the time, but the lovely Ms. Sanchez looks absolutely nothing like Melissa George and the opening scene is the exact same scene we saw at the end of the last one. After the massacre in her hometown of Barrow, Alaska, Stella is spending her time trying to alert the public to the existence of vampires, a daunting task to say the least. Her attempts draw the attention of a small band of vampire hunters who bring her in on their plans to take down Lilith, a sort of vampire queen who’s burrowed deep in an underground lair in Los Angeles. After a bit of uncertainty, Stella decides to join them in their fight against the vampires.
Sony’s gamble, which is basically the equivalent of throwing pickles on a wall and hoping yours wins the race, doesn’t really pay off here. Yes, I just made a Billy Madison reference. That said, Dark Days isn’t nearly as bad as some might think going in. It’s passable, a completely watchable vampire flick that takes absolutely no chances and adds nothing to the genre or the original film, but at least does so with a modicum of competency. It also features a pretty decent cast including the striking Diora Baird, Lost‘s Harold Perrineau, Entourage‘s Rhys Coiro and of course, the aforementioned Kiele Sanchez who you may recognize from Lost and A Perfect Getaway. All put in better performances than you usually see in these kinds of low-budget sequels. Sadly, it’s just not enough to save it. The film only has a few decent kills and takes place mostly in Los Angeles, a town that, as far as I know, sees normal sunrises and sunsets every day. There are no 30 Days of Night to be found in this film, and certainly fewer than 30 reasons to actually see it.