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Christopher Webster [Film Festival 10.25.10] post apocalyptic movie review horror vampires



Year: 2010
Directors: Jim Mickle
Writers: Jim Mickle / Nick Damici
IMDB: link
Promo trailer (no actual footage): link
Review by: Corridorstyle
Rating: 8 out of 10

And you thought being a teenager was already tough enough. Welcome to Stake Land kid.

With his feature follow up to "Mullberry Street" U.S director Jim Mickle brings us a post apocalyptic view of a near future where mankind is beset by a virus which turns it's victims into Vampires, leaving the survivors to pick through the crumbled remains of humanity while keeping one eye over their shoulder.

The States depicted in Mickle's ravaged future are far from United as survivors gather in small communities, clinging to whatever they can in order to preserve what little they have left, material or otherwise. It's a world where strangers are viewed suspiciously and night comes around all too quickly.


More a road movie driving through a land inhabited by vampires than an outright fang flick the success or otherwise of the film hinged largely on the lead characters undertaking the road trip. Martin (Connor Paolo) is a young man with no option but to grow up fast or die as he's left to fend for himself after losing his parents to the virus. Fortunately for him fate delivers help in the form of Mister (Nick Damici), a rogue vampire hunter who seeks out those others flee from. Together they set off Northwards to Canada's New Eden, a supposed virus and vampire free zone and a chance to rebuild a more normal life. While vampires are the immediate foe, the duo will also face danger in the guise of desperate survivors in dog-eat-dog mode along with religious cult nuts who see the virus as humanity's comeuppance, believing everyone must kneel at the alter and face their retribution at the hands of God.

As the film's co-writer Damici understood his character and the importance of his interaction with Martin and the individuals they would meet on their journey. As "Mister" he carries a touch of Kris Kristofferson about him and turns in a stellar performance as the reluctant non-hero for those he comes in to contact with. Paolo too knows his place and nails his character arc to the tee, serving well as Mister's foil in the film's inventive set pieces against vampire and human alike.

During the journey various characters join the road trip, a rather haggard Kelly McGillis included, each bringing their own personal battle with the demons they walk amongst. However, the director ultimately takes the brave decision to not let the story get bogged down with excess baggage, choosing instead to stay with the main protagonists and keep the story moving forward.

The stars of the film were undoubtedly Damici and Mickle. Damici for both writing and bringing to life the fantastic battle-worn character Mister, and Mickle for maintaining great tone and pace of a film which rarely stuttered. Great looking with inventive vamps and vamp kills, and with a score that juices the fun, we're never afforded full relief from this grim future world but Mister's enthusiastic approach to his daily grind makes this a buzz of a journey.


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John (10 years ago) Reply

Kelly McGillis (September 18, 2010) brings "Stake Land" to TIFF.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PsN85NOkNB4

Stake Land ( September 22, 2010 ) - Midnight Madness Day #9 - Red Carpet
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BxOsQVF8HQU

[Midnight Madness] September 24, 2010 - Stake Land Q&A 1/2 TIFF10
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Ahncyb7XMo

[Midnight Madness] September 24, 2010 - Stake Land Q&A 2/2 TIFF10
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VotUH1i4TXo


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