Thursday, 25 February 2016

Stake Land (2010)

What we've got here is a zombie apocalypse movie with the zombies replaced by vampires.  It's quite a clever idea for breathing a little freshness into the (arguably, if you're as big a fan as I am) overplayed zombie formula.

Stake Land's vampires are bestial killers of perhaps animal-level intelligence.  As such, they can be switched in pretty easily in place of the 'fast' zombies such as those found in a lot of modern zombie films: they surge to attack in the same way, and are just as eager to rip out the throat of every human they meet.

The difference of course is in the methods by which the monsters can be dispatched.  On the one hand sunlight kills them, so if you're outside in the day time you're reasonably safe from them. On the other hand you need a wooden stake to kill one - hitting them in either the lower brain or the heart - so the old "shoot 'em in the head" trick is not on the cards unless you have a bow and arrow.

The film centres on a young man named Martin who is saved from vampire attack by a taciturn drifter he knows only as "Mister".  The pair begin a long journey northward in search of "New Eden", which is said to be safe from the pandemic that causes the creatures.  Of course there are plenty of dangers along the way, including the psychotic humans that all but inevitably pop up in zombie apocalypses.  In a refreshing change though, they also encounter functional communities where people are doing the best they can to help each other.

If you're at all a fan of the zombie genre, you should check this film out as it's an interesting variation on the theme.

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