Wednesday, April 16, 2008

30 Days of Night: Blood Trails – review


Directed by: Víctor García

First aired: 2007 (internet)

Contains spoilers

30 Days of Night: Blood Trails was a good marketing gimmick that has ended up on its own DVD. Essentially it was a series of 7 free webisodes that appeared on (and having gone to see if they are still there I have been politely informed that the site’s videos can not be viewed outside the US). They told the story of what occurred in New Orleans before the events of 30 Days of Night and were used as a teaser into the film.

This fit in nicely with the first graphic novel, in which some scenes take place in New Orleans, but then fell apart when the actual film expunged all that sub-story. This is now available on DVD and my first reaction is that it should have been an extra on the movie DVD – but, of course, that wouldn’t have pried extra cash from my wallet.

Andrew Laurich as GeorgeThe story surrounds George (Andrew Laurich), a junky trying to get clean and trying to get his girlfriend clean. We first see him covered in blood, running up to a police officer and being pushed to the floor, his warnings of an impending attack ignored. The film then jumps back two days.

Marilyn Johnson as JudithIn order to get clean, George is working for Judith (Marilyn Johnson). She is aware something is happening amongst the vampires and her network are trying to crack the servers the vampires use. She sends George to meet a contact who has got a code disc. By the time George gets to him he is dying but writes a code, in his own blood, on George’s arm. As George tries to complete his mission, more and more people die. The vampires are aware of their activities and are trying to tie all the loose ends.

an attackThe film is gory, which is good, the effects being complimented by judicious use of darkness and fast cuts, but it suffers from shaky cameras. This was not as apparent when watched in very small online streaming video but is all too readily apparent on the DVD. The DVD allows you to play the separate episodes or play all, but it has not cut the film into one complete piece so you are constantly interrupted with “Next time on”’s and opening credits. That said, the webisode nature ensured that the whole thing was a rollercoaster of action to keep folks interested.

Templesmith artworkThis, of course, meant that characterisation was kept to a minimum but, then again, as a reader of the graphics it was nice to see what occurred just before the Barrow attack. I also liked the fact that there was some original Ben Templesmith artwork used within the production.

a vampireWhen I mentioned the webisodes, I stated that “for a freebie it is rather good.” However, here is the rub, this is now something that folks need to spend money on. Yet I still feel a little bit of loyalty to the project. The acting wasn’t Oscar winning but was comfortably good enough for what it was originally designed as. The entire thing is very short, but that again is due to its origins. It should probably have never been released as a stand alone, but fans are going to want it. I’m going to have to say 3.5 out of 10 and point out again that it was a marketing tool, on a larger screen the shaky camera becomes an issue, the characterisation is poor, it is very short and as a freebie it was much more worthwhile. Had this been released as a full on filmmaking project it probably would have scored a little less and if you are not a fan (and perhaps a die hard one at that) of either the film, the graphics or the genre generally you can most likely lower this score and ignore the product.

The imdb page is here.


Anthony Hogg said...

This one was sneakily available for hire at a local video library.

There I was thinking it was some kind of miniseries...only to find out it was just some webisodes stitched together. What a crock. You're on the money with the "Next time on's". They were bloody irritating with a "play all" option.

That said, they're well-made and all...but still. Sheesh.

Oh, and the "making of" docos that serve as "special features", are a complete waste of time.

Looking forward to catching the actual movie on DVD, though.

Taliesin_ttlg said...

I stand by my thoughts:

fair play as a freebie
nice for the completist...
...otherwise avoid
should have been an extra on the main film

You are absolutely right about the extras