Living in the land of “Twilight” I feel pretty secure in saying that most of us here are pretty sick of angst driven misunderstood glittery vampires. Even among the teen girl set for whom the stories were written they have had their fifteen minutes of fame. Time to get back to struggle for humanity to survive in the face of blood lusting horror.
“Stake Land” released in 2010, starring Connor Paolo, Nick Damici and Kelly McGillis, written by Nick Damici and Jim Mickle, and directed by first timer Jim Mickle is a step in the right direction.
Whether a movie is low budget or simply made to look that way is difficult to tell in these days of the influence of You Tube home made movies spanning the internet, but for my dime “Stake Land” does not suffer for the gritty and unsteady appearance of “low budget.” In fact it offers a nice contrast to the slick production values of blockbuster summer released spectacles.
It is difficult to call the threat in “Stake Land” Vampires, because while these are not the aforementioned immortal extension of teen struggles with puberty, they are also not the cosmopolitan Vamps of 2009s “Daybreakers” or subculture of everyday life shown in “True Blood.” Neither are they the mysterious reversal of human morality most commonly recognized as “Dracula.” These creatures are blood lusting animalistic remnants of humanity having suffered the ravages of a plague not entirely unlike “Walking Dead” except in being a bit more animated and cunning than those; individually dangerous rather than an expression of the dangers of mob mentality that are zombies.
Drifter Mister, played by co writer Nick Damici rescues and trains young Martin, played by Connor Paolo who also narrates much of the story, as they seek out a semi mythical New Eden, a safe haven. They pick up others along the way as they pass through various dangers and safe places where humans have banded together to stave off the threat, finding in the end that the real threat is not monsters per se, but humanity itself.
“Stake Land” would seem to happily strike a medium between Vampires and Zombies that offers its fair share of fights scares and blood-letting without going over the top.