I am not your average Blu-ray collector by any means. First of all, I have so many movies I will never watch and that I bought just to collect. Rather than get all the movies I know and love first, I instead gravitate towards ones I haven’t seen yet. As a result, I still don’t have some of my favorite films on Blu-ray, yet I have Deadly Birthday Party. It seems like a cool title, trust me it is not and no matter how much of a glutton for punishment you are, you will not enjoy that film. Consequently, you have been warned. Let me get back on track though and talk about why we are here, Stake Land.
The interspersed videos are prequel type webisodes made by the production company prior to the film.
Since I don’t own it, I will just be giving thoughts on the film itself and not on any home media version. It is available for streaming on Netflix and will have a feature this weekend, but more on that later. Stake Land seems to be one of those films most consider just average, but a few view it as one of the best vampire flicks of the past decade or so. The film opens with Martin and Mister, our two heroes. Martin explains the companionship due to Mister saving him from the vampire that killed his family. As a result, Mister trains Martin on how to protect himself against the vampires as they make their way to New Eden. New Eden is a supposed sanctuary, which is probably not a bad idea since the road can be dangerous.
Along the way, we come across fortified towns and interesting individuals. First off, we meet Sister (played by Kelly McGillis, Top Gun) a nun who Mister saves. We also have Belle (perennial scream queen, Danielle Harris) a young pregnant woman also looking for New Eden. Lastly, Willie, a Marine who gives us insight into the vampire outbreak. Together, they try to out run and out smart The Brotherhood. They are a fanatical religious group who believes the vampire plague is the Lord’s work. The Brotherhood controls many of the roads, therefore our group must be cautious and safe.
It seems like many view it as The Road, just with vampires. While that may be a fair assumption, I don’t find that to be inherently bad. This film had a reported $650,000 budget which is considerably less than the 25 million dollars of The Road. While most of the time is spent in transit through the woods, many of the sets they do have look great. It really feels like a survivor type setting and that these people are struggling. I love all the use of practical effects instead of CGI at parts and most of all love the wardrobe. Almost everyone has their own style; the Brotherhood and vampires look especially creepy.
Stake Land: The Verdict (4/5)
Stake Land might be somewhat slow paced for people, but part of that is because they actually spend time on character development; unlike a lot of newer horror films. Martin really comes into his own and it is interesting to see him grow. This film is fun to watch if you love vampire films, but feel the genre has tired itself out. I highly recommend giving it a shot, especially if you have Netflix. There are certainly many worse ways to spend an hour and a half.
Now there is a reason why I did not order the Blu-ray and wait to give this a full review. Earlier this summer, Dark Sky Films secretly produced and filmed a sequel unbeknownst to anyone. They announced it on there social media pages after it was already done and in post. The Syfy channel is having the world premier of Stake Land 2 this Saturday, October 15th at 9EST. Also, it will be preceded by the original Stake Land which I hopefully talked you into watching.
For those that don’t want to be dumb and wait like me; the Blu-ray is loaded with features and commentaries.