Stake Land – review

Stake Land - review

Gripping apocalyptic vampire road movie STAKE LAND (out June 17) features teens, even pregnant ones, but expect no Twilight sparkles. You’re more likely to get predators to run from rather than die for. Double thumbs up from Mookychick.

Normal teenager Martin (Connor Paolo, GOSSIP GIRL) is about to learn it’s a cruel world when you’re caught in a vampire apocalypse – and the only way to survive is to harden up, forget what you ever knew about life and deal with it. Thanks to a vampire epidemic of depressingly grim proportions, humanity’s on its knees, grubbing in the dirt. With a satisfying inevitability, humanity has in a sense eaten itself and cities have crumbled to become a dystopia of abandoned, derelict hellholes. Bad luck, Martin. This is no place or time to be young…

Stake Land Anti-Twilight Viral

When Martin’s parents fall prey to the vampire plague, Martin is rescued by a bad-ass vampire hunter (Nick Damici, MULBERRY STREET) who prefers to answer to the name of ‘Mister’. He don’t talk much, but he takes Martin under his wing and together they pick their way through the wastelands searching for the only place they might be safe: New Eden. Does it exist? That’s not the point. The point is that if they thought it didn’t exist, they might as well sit down and open an artery.

Armed with a trunk full of wooden stakes and a burning need to survive, Mister and Martin recruit fellow travelers on the way, including a devout nun (Kelly McGillis, THE ACCUSED, TOP GUN) and a pregnant teen (Danielle Harris, HALLOWEEN). They also have to face The Brethren, a bunch of gothic zealots who have interpreted the apocalypse to suit their own predatory fears and needs.

Horror lovers will have a lot of fun with the bloody and imaginative vampire action, but what we at Mooky Towers loved best about STAKE LAND was that it’s unrelentingly, powerfully grim. STAKE LAND has FANTASTIC atmosphere. Everyone has to harden themselves to the reality of struggling to survive in a new, hopeless world that really isn’t worth fighting for. Concepts of honour and chivalry go out the window. Everything is hopeless, hopeless, hopeless… and even if the characters don’t talk much, you cheer with them when they struggle to (wo)man up and JUST COPE WITH THE SITUATION ALREADY, DAMMIT.

Basically, one of the most glorious things about STAKE LAND is that the good guys make surviving a vampire apocalypse look hard, not easy or sexy. They make it look like the end of the world, not a fun time. And we love them all the more for it.

With STAKE LAND, director Jim Mickle imagines a darkly terrifying world populated with the most vicious vampires in recent film history – including those in 30 DAYS OF NIGHT. It’s a gritty, post-apocalyptic road movie with a touch of the atmosphere of THE ROAD / CHILDREN OF MEN that comes pretty close to deserving its accolade of ‘the American Horror Movie of the Year’. Go watch.

STAKE LAND is released in cinemas on June 17th. Vampires to run from, not die for.

Certificate: 18

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