The 90's reinvention of the vampire as an affluent social butterfly, equal parts romanticist, killer and lagubrious muser of a lonely eternity, owes much to 80's catalyst's Catherine Bigelow's Near Dark, Anne Rice's series of novels and Dave Goyer's revolutionary Blade.
30 Day's helmer David Slade however (eneterprising on Steve Niles Genius graphic novel of the same name) takes the neo nosferatu a step backwards in a more Schrekian direction, which in a lesser directors hands could have spelt b-movie implosion, but in Slades, knicks a fresh vein of horror, and siphons running black.
Stark whites, blacks and red's set the tone for the snowblinded township in what proves a visually atmospheric piece rather than an outright descent into terror.
The subcuntaneous dread that seeps through the viewer as the awful tension builds is testament to Slades skillful direction and inventive use of angled shots to bottle fear, uncorking when least expected.
This helps in glazing over what is at worst mediocre acting from the core cast of survivors (Hartnett and Co.) along with the frequent plot flux and the shortcomings the time-skips create via large periods of days left unaccounted.
Its the Vampires however, that sell the piece. Untamed, fierce and guttural in tongue, these night fiends are pure scene stealers, unleashing uncensored decapitations and fountains of gore. Dissolute. void of post mortal contemplations, they have no scruples about their desire to kill unabashedly, revelling in death, as pale faced, charcoal eye'd, angular creatures of childrens nightmares.
In his rebuffal of the modern vampire myth, Slade may have created a contemporary horror classic, in this soot black miasma of uncomfortable viewing and thorny death, that even with it's flaws re-sets the bar for the horror genre.
Quite literally a masterclass in chill