....and hello again. Part 2 here!
Well, actually, the author here, Part 2 can't speak but if it could, it'd be saying '....and hello again. Part 2 here!' I'm rambling again. Sorry.
We go in!
30 Days of Night (2007)
This is a vampire film. That creature in the above film poster is a vampire. This ain't no sparkly, emotional, baroque looking super sulkers. Hell no. These are toothy, violent, monsters. Think the messyness of the vampires from Blade but without the nightclubs.
Pretty early on, you can tell it's based on a graphic novel. There is a really strong composition and series of colours on the screen which are gorgeous. The copious amounts of blood marry the crisp white snow a little too easily and the look of the film quickly becomes the main draw of the film.
The cast are variable, Josh Hartnett (Eben) and Melissa George (Stella) are both good, real, honest and likeable. The rest of the citizens of Barrow are sparse and aren't really fleshed out much at all, leaving them simply in the role of 'fodder' to the vampires. And speaking of the vampires, the lead Vampire is himself (itself?) a surprisingly well characterised individual, played by Danny Huston. Again, given much more to do than the others who are simply horrible monsters, the leader manages to convey a genuine intelligence which goes against the blindly aggressive nature of the vampires.
The other highlight in the cast is the always watchable Ben Foster as The Stranger. Not in more than a few scenes, he is a genuinly creepy character acted with fierce intensity. A particular highlight.
The plot of the film is a pretty simple story where a town is beseiged by vampires whilst the sun is down for 30 days. It's a slog for survival. The film really plays in episodes during several days of the 30, rather than equal focus on each days as it comes. The plot of the film starts to wear thin towards the final act but the film is always a tense piece.
There is violence too, the vampires have a sadistic and malicious streak which makes several scenes pretty grim to watch. There is not much in the way of 'scares' once the vampires have hit but the gore is ramped up. The main turning point between the creepyness of the first act and the action of the rest of the film is bookmarked by a stunning overhead shot of the town during the vampire attack. The harrowing nature of the shot is almost overcome by how stunning it is.
However, the film is pretty good but the style and tone of the film are better than the characters and the plot. Worth a watch though.
The Evil Dead (1981)
Oh yes. The cult, low budget horror film!
This is a film that if anything benefits from it's lo-fi style and effects. The film carries with it just a black sense of humour and self awareness that the film is much more than just cheap effects and bad acting.
Maybe that is one of the reasons that this film has risen to the top of the video nasty pack and is now a genuine cult phenomenon. Launching the career of Sam Raimi, the direction of the film is a major reason for the film's success. The style of creepy, many of the shots defy the low budget and are just stunning. The film's direction is inventive, effective and looks much better than the budget would have you believe.
This helps to ratchet up the tension despite the wooden nature of the actors and the naff script. Those two factors actually add to the slightly subversive feel of the film. Certainly, there is a streak of humour which is pretty funny. It almost feels slapstick in nature in many ways. Raimi himself did credit The Three Stooges as a partial influence and you can see it at certain moments in the film.
However, the film has an idea which would usually be beyond the budget of the film and so in bringing this vision to life, the film begins to look cheap in some of the makeup effects (which still remain effective) and camera quality (complete with unnatural angles and wobbling 'dolly' shots).
However, this makes the film supremely watchable whilst also remaining pretty damn scary and nasty. Genuinly deserves its cult status.