STAKE LAND (2010) Reviews and overview


Stake land

‘The most dangerous thing is to be alive’

Stake Land is a 2010 American vampire horror film in the zombie apocalypse vein directed by Jim Mickle (We Are What We AreMulberry Street) from a screenplay co-written with lead actor Nick Damici (CondemnedLate PhasesDark Was the Night).

The plot revolves around an orphaned young man being taken under the wing of a vampire hunter known as “Mister”, and the battle for survival in their quest for a safe have

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A young boy (Connor Paolo) is about to learn how cruel the world can become. Martin was a normal teenager before the country collapsed in an empty pit of disaster and a vampire epidemic swept across the nation’s abandoned towns and cities. It is up to Mister (Nick Damici), a death-dealing, rogue vampire hunter, to get Martin to safety.

Armed with a trunk full of wooden stakes and a desperate will to stay alive, Mister and Martin make their way through locked-down towns, recruiting fellow travellers along the way. Among them are a devout nun (Kelly McGillis) and a pregnant teen (Danielle Harris, Halloween, Halloween II)…

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“Mickle combines George Romero’s social commentary and Terence Malick’s spacey poetics, yet the expressive rendering of rural locations is distinctive and the vision of societal breakdown fully imagined […] In fact Mickle’s observation of a devastated working-class America is so sharp that the horror elements, though effectively handled, come to feel like an afterthought.” Chicago Reader

“A vampire post-apocalypse road movie with blood, brains and heart — and not just in the literal, splattered-on-the-screen sense. It’s a good little genre piece, edgy rather than slick, and well worth a look.” Empire Magazine 

“Despite its undeniable ambition and good intentions, Stake Land is just too derivative to distinguish itself from its peers. The tone is unremittingly somber and earnest, but sadly fails to wash due to weak performances and the lack of an interesting story. Events unfurl at a snail’s pace, without enough depth of characterization to make the audience care about the situations.” Eye For Film

“Jeff Grace’s melancholy music underscores the atmosphere of bleak dystopian despair, leavened by flashes of humour and hope. Sparing tedious explanation and backstory, Mickle and D’Amici achieve a disturbing horror, an emotional depth and a political resonance never strained for. Instead, thanks to the actors’ performances, they grow organically out of the grim situations and sparse dialogue.” Time Out London

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“As with director Jim Mickle’s previous Mulberry Street (2006), there’s a crude interest in the devolution of American society—but we’re a long way from George Romero’s satiric shopping-mall shut-ins when the main grist for the mill is a violent, evangelical cult called the Brotherhood, just as awful as the vamps. The whole movie aches from tired blood.” Time Out New York

Choice dialogue:

Mister: “Which @sshole’s President now?”

Cast and characters:

Connor Paolo … Martin
Gregory Jones … Martin’s Father
Traci Hovel … Martin’s Mother
Nick Damici … Mister
James Godwin … Barn Vamp
Tim House … Sheriff
Marianne Hagan … Doctor Foley
Stuart Rudin … Pops The Barber
Adam Scarimbolo … Kevin
Vonia Arslanian … Dark Haired Bartender
Kelly McGillis … Sister
Michael Cerveris … Jebedia Loven
Heather Robb … Screwdriver Vamp
Danielle Harris … Belle
Eilis Cahill … Scamp
Sean Nelson … Willie
Larry Fessenden … Roadhouse Bartender
Chance Kelly … Officer Harley
Angelique Biasutto … Little Girl / Victim
Jean Brassard … Benoit
Adam Folk … Soldier Crier / Vamp
Lou Sumrall … Brotherhood Man
Phyllis Bash … Mama
Bonnie Dennison … Peggy
Eric Stanze … Radio Newscaster
Jim Mickle … Local Radio Voice #1
Graham Reznick … Local Radio Voice #2

Filming locations:

Pennsylvania, upstate New York, and the Catskills Mountains

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