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30 Days of Night: Dark Days (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109942&d=1210373647

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109943&d=1210373647

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )


Studio and Year: Sony Pictures - 2010
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 92 minutes
Genre: Horror

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English/French/Spanish/Portuguese DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese
Starring: Kiele Sanchez, Rhys Coiro, Diora Baird, Harold Perrineau, Mia Kirschner
Directed by: Ben Ketai
Music by: Andres Boulton
Written by: Steve Niles & Ben Ketai
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: October 5, 2010

"Dark days in dark times"

Film Synopsis:

Almost a year has passed since Barrow Alaska's population was decimated by vampires. Stella, mourning her husband's murder, has been travelling the world trying to convince others that vampires exist. When a group of lost souls offers her a chance to exact revenge upon the vampire queen, Stella joins their mission to stop evil from striking again.

My Take:

30 days of night: Dark days is a sequel to 30 days of night and picks up where the original left off. It finds Stella widowed, grief stricken and seeking to exact revenge on all vampires after the decimation in Barrow Alaska. She receives a letter from someone calling himself Dane who advises that there are vampires in Los Angeles. After arriving in LA she makes her presence known to the vampires by publicly acknowledging their existence and frying a few of them at an evening seminar with a high powered solar lamp/device. This also garners the attention of a small band of people who have been secretly conducting their own war on the undead. They contact Stella, convince her to join their group, and using their limited resources, which includes the mysterious Dane, go in search of the vampire queen, Lilith.

Being a fan of the horror/action genre I typically enjoy films involving monsters and guns. I liked 30 days of night but after seeing the trailer for 30 days of night: Dark days I didn't have high expectations. Based on the graphic novel by Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith this sequel plays out by the numbers at a base level with a limited budget and a sort of B movie feel. Other than Kiele Sanchez's Stella the remaining characters are cardboard cutouts from essentially any similar genre piece. Pacing is on the money but the predictably shallow plot offers little in the way of enticing suspense or engaging action. Like the rest of the film the finale is easy to see coming and leaves the door open for the story to continue. Despite its shortcomings genre fans will probably find that 30 days of night: Dark days satisfies in a check your brain at the door kind of way.

Parental Guide:

The rating is for bloody violence, language, and some sexual content.

AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

Audio: 86

  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

Video: 86

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

30 days of night: Dark days comes to Blu-ray Disc from Sony featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 24 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 2.6 Mbps.

This film has an intentionally dark and singular chromatic visual style that doesn't lend itself to vibrant colors and vivid high gloss video quality but predominantly leans toward darker color schemes, and grittier textures that provide the look that the filmmakers use to drive the story's components. This is done to good effect. Shadow delineation is good overall and revealing of visible details within dark backgrounds and low lighting. Stable contrast and deep blacks allow scenes containing mixed content to appear gradationally satisfying with crisp whites and dynamic highlights. Resolution is discerning as images are characterized by definitively rendered detail that gives the video appreciable dimension and texture. This is the case in all but a few instances where definition softens and doesn't retain the same level of lucidity. Grain is visible and rendered in fine even layers that provides texture while never appearing obtrusive.

The lossless DTS-HD Master Audio isn't as aggressive as I anticipated but is sneaky good and mates well with the source material. Dialogue is rendered clearly and seamlessly holds sway over the front soundstage. Imaging and sound effects reproduction are on point as the sound field comes to life and engages the listening position where appropriate. Rear channel activity is primarily utilized for atmospheric presence however discrete audio cues are effectively blended in. Excellent dynamic range and palpably rich low frequency effects invigorate the music and action based elements/jump scares. The end result is a well integrated and involving surround mix that sounds great.

Bonus Features:

  • Audio commentary with writer/director Ben Ketai and producer J.R. Young

  • (HD) Graphic inspirations: Comic to film - interactive feature which compares the graphic novel to the film adaptation

  • (HD) The gritty realism of Dark Days - 10 minute production featurette

  • (HD) Previews: Red hill, Game of death, Faster, The experiment, Harry Brown, Taken, 30 days of night, Breaking bad, Fearnet.com

  • BD-Live enabled

  • Bonus DVD of 30 Days of night: Dark days

Final Thoughts:

Based on the graphic novel by Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith, 30 Days of night: Dark days the sequel to 30 Days of night, is a base level, paint by the numbers genre entry with a predicable storyline and B movie feel. It's a direct to video affair that comes to Blu-ray from Sony sporting solid audio/video quality and fan friendly bonus features that highlighted by a decent audio commentary track by writer/director Ben Ketai and producer J.R. Young. Genre fans will probably appreciate it more than most but if you're curious it's worth a rental.


Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS20 1080p High Definition Front Projector (Calibrated by Jeff Meier)
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100 16x9 Screen
Anthem AVM50v THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-83 Universal disc/Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Oppo 970HD universal disc DVD Player (480i HDMI)
Philips TSU9400 Pro Series Touch Panel Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Better Cables, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package
post #2 of 10
Thanks for the review. I'll probably check it out, maybe watching the first one again first for a back to back movie night special.
post #3 of 10
I really liked the original 30 days of nights.
Looks like another future "bargain impulse buy" some night when I am vulnerable and walking down the best buy BD row...

Thanks Ralph!
post #4 of 10
I watched this a couple nights ago. While the video quality is quite good for a direct to video release, I found the story line to be quite dull. I actually enjoyed the first 30 Days of Night a lot (would have to give that movie a 3.5/5), but the sequel was a bummer and Ralph is spot on with a 2/5 here. I was expecting more.
post #5 of 10
I really enjoyed the first as well, and was expectedly skeptical of the sequel's direct-to-video status; then I saw the trailer and was even more pessimistic. More confirmation that a blind-buy isn't justified. Thanks Ralph. I've been buying too many horror's I later wish I hadn't lately anyway.
post #6 of 10
I was hoping for a good story as well but I'm spending too much in October anyway so this will be a rental. Thanks for the review.
post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 

You're welcome Chad and Robert..

post #8 of 10
I always hope for that surprise diamond in this genre - and rarely get it.
I liked,and own, the first one but had a feeling this would be rental only. Your review really spells it out.
post #9 of 10
I liked the first one, but based on your review, Ralph, I think I will pass on the sequel.
post #10 of 10
Your review was right on, Ralph. Kind of interesting. Decent enough for a low end flic. Just nowhere near the same level as the first one.
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