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The Cinematic Katzenjammer: May 24: Stake Land


May 24: Stake Land

"Martin was a normal teenage boy before the country collapsed in an empty pit of economic and political disaster. A vampire epidemic has swept across what is left of the nation's abandoned towns and cities, and it's up to Mister, a death dealing, rogue vampire hunter, to get Martin safely north to Canada, the continent's New Eden."

Stake Land is not your ordinary horror film. In fact, I wouldn't even fully classify it as horror, minus a few scenes. It's much more of a character driven drama that just happens to be set in a post-apocalyptic world overrun by vampires, cannibals, and a cult called The Brotherhood. It's a rather serious film (sometimes even too serious) and focuses much more on the characters and their struggles than it does the gore and blood baths (or glitter) you'd expect to see in a vampire movie. It really catches you off guard as being something much more than you'd think it would be and, while not without its faults, turns out to be a pretty good movie. 

Of course, it still has it's true horror moments. 

Stake Land follows the story of a boy named Martin (Connor Paolo), who survives a vampire attack on his family only because he's saved by a man simply called Mister (Nick Damici). Mister, as it turns out, is some freak of nature awesome vampire hunter who knows how to kill them and does it well. Mister takes Martin under his protection and together they decide to travel north to New Eden, a place said to be a sanctuary in a world of chaos. They travel through a destroyed America, that looks eerily realistic to what you might see if some sort of war or disease broke out. This is the film's biggest strength as the setting itself haunts you, with each new environment having its own character unsettling atmosphere. As the two journey, they run into trouble with The Brotherhood (who control most of the land), and also stop at small settlements, trading for supplies with vampire fangs, a new currency for a new world. It's in these little pockets of populations that Stake Land continues to show how things really may play out come a similar situation (minus the vampires). 

It's a blue collar glimpse to the end of the world. 

Overall, I would recommend Stake Land. It's not without it's faults, as the film, at times, takes itself way too seriously and you feel like you're watching a melodramatic vampire soap opera. Martin has a voice-over throughout the film and, while it does add to his character development, it can be rather distracting at times. Although much, much better than most cheap budget horror films, Stake Land does suffer from the occasional God-awful line of dialogue as well. However, with such incredible settings, environments, great makeup work and effects, and a soundtrack that strings a constant unsettling feeling throughout, Stake Land is definitely worth the time and money. 

The Good:
an overall eeriness to the film that really gets under your skin and disturbs you
The Bad:
the film trying to hard to be more of a drama than it is
The Ugly:
again, minus the vampires, it shows a creepy world that may actually come into place if some catastrophe were to happen

Overall: 7.2/10


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