Friday, 30 September 2011

Today's Review: Stake Land

In case you haven't had enough of post apocalyptic movies, zombies and vampires, here's an amalgamation of them all. Stake Land displays a ruined America, struck with an epidemic of Vampirism. There are small pockets of survivors, but mostly the streets are deserted during the day and filled with blood suckers at night. But a man known only as Mister (Nick Damici) is braving it all, travelling north to a supposed haven in Canada. Accompanying him is Martin (Connor Paolo), a boy whom Mister rescued from the clutches of vampires after his family was massacred. Mister is training Martin to be a badass vampire slayer, but is also intent on keeping him alive. But the obstacles they face on their journey may get the better of them.

Stake Land is a pretty good movie. It reminds me a lot of The Road, except a lot less cripplingly depressing and more gory and badass. They could have gone down the zombie route, but replacing them with vampires that kind of act like zombies gives a real up close and personal experience when guns just don't work well and stakes through the heart do. The fight scenes are often intense given this close quarters element.

Surprisingly the main villains aren't the vampire themselves, but instead a shady organisation known as The Brotherhood, who are intent on keeping the virus alive, convinced it is the Lord's work. This extra threat, while somewhat cliche, helps to enhance the menace and make you root for the characters along the way. Action scenes are broken up nicely by the various townships that Mister and Martin visit, but as the lines start to blur the sense of danger and urgency increases. While the build up is certainly suspenseful though, the ending leaves a bit to be desired. Still, it's not the destination, it's the journey, and I was so pulled into the journey that I almost didn't write last night's review.

There are great performances all around in this movie, and for a movie I'd never heard of before I was very pleasantly surprised. While it may not be perfect, this is one of the best horror movies I've seen in a while.

My rating: 4/5

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