Movie Review: Stake Land (2010)

stake-land

Simply, this is a post apocalyptic zombie movie with vampires instead of zombies.  The vampires are portrayed as vicious beasts with no time for talking, who leave bodies mutilated and very much dead.  There’s no romantic, two fang pin points on the neck, blood drained and the victim turned into a vampire themselves, type story line here.

In fact, the movie isn’t really about the vampires at all.  It’s a tale about a teenage boy, Martin (Connor Paolo) rescued by a vampire hunter called Mister (Nick Damici) when the rest of his family was slaughtered by vampires.  Mister adopts Martin and teaches him the brutal craft of killing vampires, stake to the heart style.  The fangs are harvested and used as money in the small settlements that have cropped up across the country; I love that part!

Mister is an awesome character, seemingly the quiet, ruthless, no-bullshit type, with a hidden soft heart.  While it sounds cliche, he’s done perfectly with depth and finesse.  He doesn’t feel like a character, he feels like a dad.

As Martin and Mister travel north to New Eden, a city that is rumored to not even exist, they pick up and lose members of their travelling party.  They save a nun from being gang-raped by a dangerous cult, pick up a young pregnant singer from a roadhouse, and are aided by an ex-marine.

The members of the cult that worships the vampires, not the vampires themselves, are the main protagonists in the film. As the party travels, they avoid routes and areas controlled by the cult during the day, and build their defenses to protect from the vampires at night.

I saw this film after it was shown on the SyFy channel, so I went into it with low expectations.  I was pleasantly surprised.  The feel of the movie was perfect, sparking my own memories of remote forests and sparsely populated towns.  But I do find myself mis-remembering some bits, thinking of scenes from the first half of The Stand instead.  The script did feel a bit formulaic at times, like the events were perfectly timed and a bit fake.

I’m a sucker for post apocalyptic and coming of age stories, and this is definitely one I would watch again.

Rating: 4/5 ★★★★☆ 

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About Michelle_H

Michelle Hartz, Ph.Z., is the Graphic Designer at Baugh Enterprises, specializing in design for print and promotional products. She is also the Municipal Liaison for National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo) in Bloomington, Indiana. Michelle has published two of her NaNoWriMo books: Helpless, a horror story set on a wind farm; and Brains for the Zombie Soul, a parody containing nearly 101 heartwarming and inspirational stories celebrating the differently animated.

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