Saturday, 4 October 2014

Film #4: 'Stake Land'

At last year's Horrorthon I saw a film called 'We Are What We Are', a remake of a Mexican film of the same name. I loved it! It was dark, grim, tense, drama about a family of cannibals dealing with the death of the mother while the father tries to keep things in order for their yearly cannibalistic ritual.
It was a well-handled drama about cannibals rather than an all-out blood splattered horror about people murdering and eating other people. The cast, particularly the daughters, were great in their roles, the whole thing just worked.

The film was directed by Jim Mickle, and written by Jim Mickle and Nick Damici, who also brought a film called 'Stake Land' to the screen before that.




'Stake Land' tells the story of the grizzled Mister as he travels across America in search of 'New Eden', a place free from the ravages of the vampire plague that has turned the country into a living nightmare.
'Stake Land' could easily have been a zombie movie, the "vamps" behave in a very similar way to standard zombies, but with some intelligence still festering in their rotting, flesh-consuming minds, but I'm not so sure it makes a difference either way. The story is fairly standard and characters are actually quite well drawn and the focus here, so even if it was werewolves or brainslugs or pod people this core of the film would still be the same.
Mister finds a young boy, recently orphaned by a vamp attack, and takes him with him as they travel in search of New Eden avoiding The Brotherhood - a group of religious nuts who believe that the vamps are the work of God whose leader looks like an evil Richard O'Brien.
Along the way they meet more people, some live, some are eaten, some are used as bait, some get slaughtered in an attack on a small town - one of my favourite scenes in the movie - and the ones that don't die just have to keep on living in the gauntlet of death that the world have become.

Yes, this film would have probably been much the same if it was zombies instead of vampires, but that's the strength of the characters in this movie. Much like a grieving family of cannibals in 'We Are What We Are' Mickle has somehow put some very really human drama into a very bizarre situation.
While 'We Are What We Are' is a stronger film, I would still recommend 'Stake Land'.

'Stake Land' is on Netflix UK & Ireland for anyone who wants to check it out.

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