Stake Land (2011) Review
Surprisingly good, truly an old school vampire film which I have seen in a while. I wish there were more films like this around as they would save the reputation of vampires (Twilight nearly killed it forever). The film is a great piece of storytelling, which works well focusing on a classic hunter of the scourge which is vampires. Strangely it’s what I would like to see a bit more of in the walking dead here’s hoping for season 3. It’s a well-crafted atmospheric apocalyptic vision.
America is a lost nation. When an epidemic of vampirism strikes, humans find themselves on the run from vicious, feral beasts. Cities are tombs and survivors cling together in rural pockets, fearful of nightfall. When his family is slaughtered, young Martin (“Gossip Girl’s” Connor Paolo) is taken under the wing of a grizzled, wayward hunter (Nick Damici) whose new prey is the Undead. Simply known as Mister, the vampire stalker takes Martin on a journey through the locked-down towns of America’s heartland, searching for a better place while taking down any bloodsuckers that cross their path.
The best advice I can give to readers is to watch it as you would 28 days later, but in America. Tim’s Film Reviews Recommended, go watch it!
Just as always I will not be giving away any spoilers so you don’t have to worry about reading this review before seeing the film, although you may wish to wait until you have seen the film. To start off let’s talk about the acting. The acting was very good and surprising considering it was a low budget film with unknown actors, but they show the whole set of character emotions, really did not expect that from this film. The main character Mister (Nick Damici) was the stand out performance in this film with a fantastic realistic but strong character who survives at all costs, credit to him with a great performance. The rest of the cast do a great job, they all did a great job in their roles. Oh and I spotted an observer off fringe, he’s a bit evil.
So now let’s talk about something more fun like the visuals. The special effects, physical props and visual landscape shots where excellent viewing and showed the apocalyptic world in a realistic but subtle way which convinces you it’s real. The fight scenes and action scenes in general where very good with plenty of vampire slashing goodness. This was a lot more than I would have expected, in terms of visuals anyway. The best thing I felt about this films look was the way that everything was consistent from scenery to the people to the vampires, which I have always thought was very important when presenting an apocalypse. What I meant was that the action felt right. The vampire hunting, the fight scenes, and all of the different places and people they visited which all looked to fit very nicely together.
Must Watch Trailer:
The best review I found would be “Shows that a savvy mixture of characterization, atmosphere and gore-eographed suspense can make even the most familiar fright tropes feel vaguely organic again.” Robert Abele. This is a good summary of the films unique good points that are missing from most horror films. Something I didn’t mention before was the great atmosphere presented by the visual shots and great music that underscores a bleak dystopian world. My favourite scene without giving anything away would be the scene in which any clever vampire hunting scene which reminds me a little of some good supernatural episodes.