I watched this at the Sydney Film Festival and I dug it. There was Ginger Snaps (2000) and Bigelow’s Near Dark before that, but U.S. indie offerings in the vampire genre have been somewhat wanting compared to what the British have been serving up for years: zombies (28 Days Later), for instance, and werewolves (Dog Soldiers). Some kind of antidote to the scourge of blockbusters like Blade and I am Legend seems long overdue, and Jim Mickle does it with Stake Land.
Teenage Martin (Connor Paolo) loses his family to the vampire epidemic sweeping the country, starts hanging out with a badass vampire killer known only as Mister (Nick Damici). The pair are joined by not your usual misfits—a middle-aged nun, pregnant barmaid, a marine—all trying to stay one step ahead of the bloodsucking scourge, plus some cannibalistic tribes and Fundamentalist nut jobs who drop live vamps from the sky into frontier settlements for fun, oh, and because God told them to.
Beyond 70s-era taut cinematography, and a brave take on a Matthesonian world in which the monsters evolve—get smarter—Stake Land has three essential things going for it. Read more