I waited for what seemed like an eternity to see this movie! I don't even remember how long ago it was that I first saw the trailer, but it was then that I fell in love with Stake Land. It looked like what I wanted Zombieland to be, only with vampires instead of zombies. Imagine how much more awesome Zombieland could've been had it been played straight up horror and skipped all that forced comedy bullshit. So did Stake Land live up to the expectations the trailers gave me for it? For the most part, but there were a couple minor nitpicks that I'd be remiss if I didn't at least make mention of.
Stake Land is the story of a world overrun by a vampire epidemic. Most of humanity is either dead or in hiding in small, scattered strongholds. A veteran vampire hunter known only as "Mister" is traveling across the country destroying as many bloodsuckers as he can when he comes across a family under attack. He only manages to save one of them, a young boy named Martin. Mister takes the young boy in, and teaches him how to hunt while fighting to keep him safe from the vamps and a cannibalistic religious cult. Along the way they pick up more survivors and attempt to make it to Canada, where humanity has built a safe haven known as "New Eden".
First off, let me say this, Stake Land is the best vampire movie I've seen since Let the Right One In. It's nowhere near on the same level as it, but for the sad state of vampire movies today, Stake Land is a much needed breath of OLD air. No tweens, no love stories, no angst, NO sparkling. Just stakes to the heart, knives to the head, and jugular's being torn open by evil, snarling creatures of the night. You know, the way it's supposed to be. Most of the cast does a decent job, with the standout being Danielle Harris of course, but I might be a bit biased as I'm in love with her. The vampires are of the "monster" variety, as in From Dusk till Dawn, and the make-up is very well done. The gore is plentiful though not over-done at all, and everything I noticed effects-wise appeared to be practical. If there is any cg in Stake Land either I didn't notice it, or I just don't remember it.
But I mentioned nitpicks before, and minor as they may be, they're worth bringing up. First, and maybe this is just me, but if I lived in a world where I had to fight for my life every single day to survive against vampires, and I knew that said vampires would in fact die if exposed to sunlight, and I knew any time I spent resting, or trying to sleep could potentially get me killed, I think maybe I might, oh, I don't know, try and sleep during the DAY. These people get attacked every single time they stop at night to set up camp and get some sleep. And guess what they're doing tomorrow night? Yep, the same fucking thing. I realize it's easier to hide at night from all the potential threats to their safety, but if there was something I could do that would completely eliminate at least one of those threats, arguably the biggest threat, you can bet your ass I'd do it. My other nitpick would be a huge spoiler if I gave too many details, so I'll just say that the third act of the movie had probably the most interesting twist to it, but everything really felt rushed because they waited so long to put things into motion. For my fellow video game enthusiasts, let's just say the final "boss fight" was pretty damn anti-climactic.
Neither of those things detracts too much from the proceedings though, Stake Land is a fine entry into a vampire genre that has all but lost it's..."teeth" with the horror community. The tweens and Twi-tards have taken our vampires and it's going to take more movies like Stake Land to get them back.