Stake Land

Film
4 out of 5 stars
Re-teaming with actor and co-writer Nick D’Amici, star of the promising, no-budget feature ‘Mulberry Street’, director Jim Mickle serves up a potent blend of post-apocalyptic road movie, vampire picture and lyrical western. Following the massacre of his family by bloodsuckers, teenager Martin (Connor Paolo) hooks up with tight-lipped vamp killer Mister (Nick Damici). Sticking to deserted country roads, they head for the rumoured sanctuary of New Eden, picking up a pregnant woman (Danielle Harris) and a traumatised nun (Kelly McGillis). More certain of their faith are opportunist preacher Jebedia Loven (Michael Ceveris) and his heavily armed survivalist flock, The Brethren, who believe the vampire plague is the work of a vengeful God.

Jeff Grace’s melancholy music underscores the atmosphere of bleak dystopian despair, leavened by flashes of humour and hope. Sparing tedious explanation and backstory, Mickle and D’Amici achieve a disturbing horror, an emotional depth and a political resonance never strained for. Instead, thanks to the actors’ performances, they grow organically out of the grim situations and sparse dialogue.

By: Nigel Floyd

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