'Stake Land' DVD review, Written by: Karen Benardello
With the romanticism plaguing many vampire films and television shows today, including ‘Twilight’ and ‘The Vampire Diaries,’ interweaving a unique story with diverse characters and intriguing, unapologetic killings is often difficult to obtain. But the Belladonna Productions post-apocalyptic horror film ‘Stake Land,’ which is now available on DVD, defies all the current misconceptions about vampire movies; not only does it feature varied, sympathetic protagonists, but it also expertly through-provoking messages of freedom and family bonding.
‘Stake Land’ follows a young teen, Martin (played by New York native Connor Paolo), as he’s first introduced to the new vampirism epidemic that’s sweeping America. He witnesses his parents and younger sibling being killed by one of the bloodthirsty creatures, and is rescued by a stranger, simply known as Mister (portrayed by Nick Damici). Having nowhere else to turn, Martin travels across the country with his new mentor, who teaches him how to hunt down the vampires, who have a mix of zombie qualities in them.
While searching for the rural civilization known as New Eden, which has been set up in Canada as the vampires can’t adapt to cold weather, Martin and Mister kill two men trying to kill a nun, Sister Anna (played by Kelly McGillis). One of the men’s fathers turns out to be fundamentalist militia leader Jebedia Loven (portrayed by Michael Cerveris), who believes the new vampirism plague is the Lord’s work. Acting in God’s name, Jebedia and his followers search the country to find Mister to take their revenge on him. Not only do Mister, Martin and Anna have to fight off the vampires while they travel towards New Eden, they must also stay off of Jebedia’s radar.
Director Jim Mickle, who co-wrote 'Stake Land' with Damici, took an interesting, unique look into the world of vampires with the story. Instead of showcasing the world through the eyes of the vampires, who are usually highly intelligible creatures who can easily blend into society, Mickle took the risky venture of questioning what would happen if they brought on the collapse of modern civilization. As many viewers watch Mister, Martin and the other humans they meet on their journey search for a way to survive, they will surely appreciate Mickle’s message that people can’t take what they have for granted.
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