Stake Land

A few things don't work, but it's immersive and original.

Stake Land is intense. There's really no way to describe how viciously it pulls you in. You're immediately thrust into all the shock, horror, and gore. It's so hardcore it makes The Walking Dead look like Cinderella. I've seen my fair share of zombie/vampire movies, but I was not prepared for this one. It reminded me a lot of Feast, without the humor. Any humor. No humor here.

They toned it down on the gore in the second half, which I was grateful for. Of course, they turned up the "emotional gore," if you will, so it was still devastating. I was really bummed we had to lose Belle. She was a great character. She fought so hard. All that hardship she went through, just to die before she even had her baby. It really sucks that they had to lose their whole party.

Mister was an interesting character. In a movie like this, I feel like you don't see someone like that very often. He had such strong morals. He always did the "right thing," without hesitation. He didn't care about other people slowing him down; he just took them on, because it would be wrong not to.

There are a couple things you half to wonder about. They referred to vampirism as a "plague." I guess you could see it as just the vampires themselves being a plague. I like to have some realism in a movie, though. Assuming it was just some kind of disease, I feel like I could accept either them having some kind of wood-related weakness, or them having an extreme sensitivity to the sun, but not both. If you're going to have both in there, there's got to be some sort of magical aspect to it. I guess I just would've liked a little bit more explanation about that. But realistically, in that situation, no one would have one, anyway.

That brings me to the second thing, which is Jebedia. How could he survive like that? It's practically proof that you have to accept his explanation, that he had favor with some kind of god of the vampires. No other vampire turned out like he did. Then again, it's all in the early stages, so maybe they did and they were just less violent about it. Maybe they just went into hiding and lived off animals. There's only so much they can do with the time they've got, I guess.

It was a little bit weird that they didn't have an emergency plan at the checkpoint. Like, "in case of breach, everybody get to the bunker," as opposed to, "everybody run around screaming so 50 of you can die."

I was so paranoid by the end of the movie, that I was afraid Peggy was going to be some kind of mutated day-vampire. I didn't trust her at all. But I guess she was alright. I don't think it was necessary for Mister to leave. He was going to New Eden anyway, so why not go with Martin and Peggy? I get the whole "you're a man now, you can survive on your own" thing, but that doesn't really mean he needed to leave. Maybe he just didn't want to get too attached. It's really interesting, though, that he left his necklace. He was always telling Martin not to think about the past, to let anything and everything go, but then he left him something to remember him by. I wonder if that's supposed to be significant, or if the writer didn't even think about it?

I hated that we didn't find out what was in New Eden. I guess they wanted to end it on a slightly-up but still neutral tone. It wouldn't have fit the tone of the movie at all if they got there and it was all safe and wonderful. That would've been too storybook. And it would've been just too much of a downer if it wasn't a safe place. But we know they got there, at least. It really is an ending, an end of their journey to New Eden, if nothing else. I'd rather have just left it with them on the road, though.

I liked a lot of the camera choices. A little cliché maybe, but they worked. Especially the dance scene at the checkpoint. So impossibly idyllic, and then, bam, it all comes crashing down. The effect they used the last time we saw Willie alive was interesting, too. When they opened the morning with just a shot of Martin and Peggy, it was a dead giveaway Mister was gone. The shot of Belle holding a gun juxtaposed against her pink tulle skirt was a little trite, but I liked it anyway. The general look and feel of everything was really stark. Not overproduced.

There were a few things that didn't work, but watching this was still a powerful, gripping experience. The world you're pulled into is harsh, bleak, violent, and devastating. I don't really ever want to think about it again, which I guess could be considered success for a horror movie.

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