June 8, 2011

Review: Stake Land (2011)

"A Post-Apocalyptic, westernized version of The Road that involves vampires? Go on, we're listening..."

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1464580/Cast Members of Note- Danielle Harris, Kelly McGillis, Connor Paolo, And Nick Damici as Mister!

In a Post-Apocalyptic world overrun with Zombies Vampires, Woody Harrelson a guy known only as Mister leads a rag tag group of survivors South to escape the plague North to find a safe haven from the Vampire onslaught. To get there, Viggo Mortensen and his son Mister and some kid he met along the way must travel along The Road a bunch of roads, which run straight through hostile lands full of marauding cannibal gangs hungry Vampires...

Confused as to what movie he's actually in, Connor Paolo stakes a Key Grip, thinking he's a plague-stricken Zombie. For the record, the body was never found.
As you can see, even we got confused as to what movie we were watching. All kidding aside though, this movie is pretty much Zombieland+The Road, but with Vampires instead of Zombies or a killer virus. No Woody Harrelson either. I know, that's kinda sad to us too.

There was some interpretive vampire dancing though.
It's nice to see a movie like this come along and breathe some much-needed life into the as-of-late stale Vampire sub-genre. Every other Horror movie (we exaggerate, I know) these days seems to involve Vampires or Werewolves moping around while shirtless, brooding and looking androgynous, all to appease an audience filled with clueless tweens and delusional old chicks; most of whom seem so emotionally starved for "romance" that they'll accept the silly version of love that these silly movies offer as realistic.

Stake Land, on the other hand, is an actual Vampire movie that is about actually Vampires; you know, savage bloodsuckers out to drain the lifeblood from any humans foolish (or unlucky) enough to cross their path, because that's why they exist?  No glitter. No pouty posing. No sissy shirtless preening. No ridiculous and dysfunctional love story. Just blood. Lots and lots of blood. It shows what might be a more realistic version of a world-gone-Vamp, and it ain't pretty.

Why aren't you sparkling!
It's worth noting, and will undoubtedly be on a ton of people's minds after seeing this one, that Stake Land bears a more-than-striking resemblance to 2009's The Road. It really does bear some similarity, but it's not in a rip-off, or even an homage type of way; it's just... similar in some ways. How can it not be? Post-Apocalyptic movies can only be so different from each other, you know? In any event, rip-off or not, it's a good story that's done well and entertains, so who cares. I mean honestly, what Horror flick out there can't be compared to a number of other movies at any given time?

You can tell that the movie was inexpensive to make, but it never feels cheap. You can see story elements present that you've seen before, but they really do take on a life of their own. And the Vampires? They're pretty awesome. Minimal CGI is used on the creatures and their bloodletting, and the end results are impressive. Above all else, Stake Land is a character-driven movie, though it does contain all sorts of violent and gory set pieces. Nick Damici was pretty cool as Mister, and it's nice to see consummate Horror Hottie Danielle Harris get a meaty role for a change.

"My neck!"
I've got to hand it to Nick Damici and Jim Mickle; they created a pretty engaging world for Horror fans to get lost in for 90 minutes or so, and managed to give us one of the most engaging Vampire flicks in recent memory. How about a sequel, boys?

Excuse me Mister, but where do you think you're going? No really, where are you going?!?

Oh, you're going to Canada. Never mind then.
***Spoilers*** Why in the ever-loving name of Jeebus would you leave a pregnant chick alone, at night, while you run off into the forest-y darkness to chase a Vampire? Her death is on your hands, you dumb bastards!

The blood flow is liberal here, as you'd expect from any decent Vampire flick. We get plenty of staking, biting, slicing, splattering, dripping... and even some shooting. Good stuff.

This being the splattering to which we were just referring.
No skin in this one, sorry.

Pregnant chicks slow you down. Also, movie bad-asses of late seem to like to wander off alone way too much.

Also, Vampires are filthy creatures.
Stake Land was a welcomed surprise and an interesting melding of two sub-genres, giving us a Post-Apocalyptic world full of bloodsuckers instead of the usual Zombies or Infected. It's nice to see a good old-fashioned Vampire flick for a change. Bloody, action-packed, and seldom boring, this is one that you need to see when you get the chance. It's been out in Limited Release and on VOD since April, so what are you waiting for?


Stake Land is available now on Blu-ray, DVD, and VOD. It's also currently streaming on Netflix.


They are in this, and it is good.


  1. I watched this last night and I really enjoyed it.I agree with all your points,and it was definitely good to see Lil Ms Harris have a meaty role.
    I don't like sequels but I would like to see what happens next.Mister can't just disappear and what about New Eden.I'd be happy even if it was done in the graphic novel format like Freddy vs Jason 2.

  2. I watched this the other night and thought it was pretty awesome, though a bit slow in some parts.

    BTW have you guys seen "The Woman" ? It's a Lucky Mckee movie based on a Jack Ketchum novel. Mad stuff, curious to hear what you guys think of it.

  3. i could live with a graphic novel too, Zocial. I need to know what happens to Mister!

    And Clarence, definitely checking out "The Woman" soon. It looks interesting, so we're all geeked to see it.

  4. 'The Woman' is amazing. You will love it.

    And yes Stake Land is fantastic.

  5. Thanks for the homophobia is referring to modern vampires as looking "gay", because there is one certain way to appear gay and this is inherently a negative thing. Good to know you have the logic of most 13 year old boys I know. Your comment is particularly unfortunate considering Kelly McGillis is a queer woman...

    1. U shud get a life,why comment if its a negitive,ur prob a sad 13 year old who spends all der days masturbating and playin minecraft

  6. No Homophobia here whatsoever, my good sir (or madam, as the case may be.)

    My comment was born out of a feeling of relief that in a day and age in Horror fandom which filled with Twilight and True Blood, a vampire film came along in which the sexuality of said Vampires mattered nil.

    It doesnt take much of a mentality at all to see that the Gay Archetype is a mainstay in the modern Vampire tale these days. Some of it is blatant, some of it is subtle, all of it is a bit sad. It's almost being treated as more of a selling point than a character attribute or a plot element.

    I have no issue whatsoever with anything LBGT, or with Movies involving LBGT plots or that feature LBGT characters... except when it's part of a trend, which it absolutely is these days.

    There is no one way to look Gay, or any other wayy, for that matter. It is interesting though that there's not many fat, slovenly, or ugly Gay characters that are burning up the Silver Screen these days, isn't it? I wonder why that is?

    You should really take issue with those in Hollywood that have no issue propagating such a trend -not because it's near and dear to their hearts- but because it will sell.

    Btw, Kelly McGillis is a great actress, and I could care less who she shares her bed with. I'll leave that bit to you.

    Sincerely yours,
    A clearly Homophobic 13 year old boy.