Marramgrass

Vice.

Back when I was a youth worker, I had a lot of free time during the day when everyone else was working. That brought its challenges, but one of the advantages (and I'll rank it second only after the 9 a.m. alarm) was that it allowed me to indulge one of my weaknesses: cinema.

I took advantage of our local multiplex's subscription scheme — a tenner a month for as many showings as you wanted — and took in at least one film most weeks, and often two, three or four. It was great. I don't really get to do that anymore. These days my time is flexible, but I don't regularly have an afternoon clear to sit in a darkened room with one or two other people (daytime audiences being generally small) simply for the pleasure of it.

But I'm in the midst of a very busy spell that is scattering my work all over the clock, which allowed me to clear a couple of hours this afternoon to briefly return to my old pattern with another indulgence: daft horror films.

30 Days Of Night is vampires mixed up with a hint of Romero zombie. I've been enjoying vampire stories since I discovered Anne Rice as a teenager, but none of the recent films have been great. This one isn't wonderful, either, but it is a little different.

There's not much in the way of tension, but in between the fights and blood (it's pretty graphic) it asks a few questions about attitudes to life and suffering which I wasn't expecting to find here — mainly through the efficiently drawn vampire characters who are arrogant, confident, hopeless and a little despairing ("No hope. Only pain. Only hunger."), all at once.

It's not what you'd call high art, and it's a typical contemporary 'horror' in that there's way more splatter than scare, but there's just a little bit of depth here that caught me off guard. Interesting, and I'll now need to track down the graphic novels it's drawn from and see what else is there.

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