Now, first off, I didn't really see a need for a sequel to 30 Days of Night. While it was a decent movie, it didn't really beg for a revisit. But who am I to say? Apparently, the fans of the graphic novel thought otherwise and so a movie was made. Personally, I didn't realize there was a sequel to the graphic novel, so the fact that this film is based on that graphic novel actually moved it up a few notches in my opinion, instead of it just being a sequel that was made for money. That being said, I found certain parts of the movie to be cheesy. There are times when the group is walking through the dark streets of Los Angeles, covered in blood and creeping about, that just seemed somewhat contrived and silly. It just seemed like "a movie" and not an involving story that drew you in. However, after this movie ended and I thought, "that was pretty gross and a little cheesy," I then found myself going through my house and turning on all the lights, completely unnerved. So there.
The acting is competent and believable, at least the humans and Lillith, played by Mia Kirshner. I suppose the actors playing the grunt vampires did a good job, its just that the vampires of the 30 Days of Night universe aren't your stereotypical vampires. You don't want to make out with them, they don't sparkle like diamonds and they don't give you a love nibble on your neck. They look and sound weird and if they get on you, they will rip your throat out and devour you, or perhaps bleed you out and save you for later. They have a mouth full of slanted, pointy teeth and eyes as black as pitch and they scream like little banshees to communicate, all except for their Queen, Lillith, who speaks in some strange, ancient European-sounding tongue except when she is trying to torment someone; then she speaks whispered English. 30 Days of Night: Dark Days is not for the squeamish. I don't really have a problem with blood, but there are some unsettling visuals. People on meathooks, young children in basins, people getting their heads bashed in or shot off, it's all there. So if you were disturbed by 30 Days of Night which was pretty gory at times, you have been warned. Dark Days is worse. Let's just say it revels in its R rating as if it were bathing in a bathtub of blood. Yeah, that's in there too.
In the band of vampire hunters, you might recognize Harold Perrineau as Todd, who played Michael in Lost. There's also Paul, who becomes a love (well, sex anyway) interest for Stella and lastly Amber, a girl who is not quite as tough as she thinks. They all do a competent job, but the film as a whole just failed to wow me. The gory special effects were pretty good and never looked fake (except for one green screen scene in "Alaska" towards the end of the film) and the package as a whole was ok, just not spectacular. The film looked quite crisp on Blu-ray, even though most of it takes place in dark streets and dank warehouses, etc. and the surround sound was really creepy and effective, especially when Lillith would whisper or when the vampires would scream.
There are a handful of special features, in addition to the inclusion of both the Blu-ray and DVD copy of the movie; filmmaker commentary, a behind-the-scenes featurette that was fairly interesting and informative, and finally a featurette called Graphic Inspirations: Comic to Film where you view a selection of about 10 shots from the graphic novel and the filmmakers explain how they were translated to the live action movie. This was, by far, my favorite featurette because it gave real cred to the movie since I got to see just how closely the filmmakers tried to stay true to the source material. I actually think I liked the movie more after I saw this featurette.
Overall, 30 Days of Night: Dark Days is a decent vampire flick, but it's just not the best, by far. I was completely aggravated by the ending, but again, once I saw the special feature and realized this was the exact ending from the graphic novel, I was ok with it. Well, somewhat more ok with it. After all, who am I to knock the author's vision? While this isn't necessarily one to own, if you like creepy vampire movies, you may want to check 30 Days of Night: Dark Days out on a rental. Just don't be expecting Josh Hartnett to show up anytime soon.