Directed By: Jim Mickle
Starring: Connor Paolo, Nick Damici, Kelly McGillis
Tag line: "The Most Dangerous Thing Is To Be Alive"
Trivia: The football helmet that Martin puts on at the beginning is a Daniel Boone football helmet - a reference to directer Jim Mickle's high school
In Director Jim Mickle’s Stake Land, the world as we know it has fallen into the hands of vampires, who have slaughtered countless innocents and, in the process, transformed thousands into bloodthirsty creatures like themselves. Martin (Connor Paolo), a teenager whose family was butchered by a vampire, owes his life to Mister (Nick Damici), an experienced vampire hunter who rescued him. Together, Martin and Mister travel from town to town, looking for more survivors and taking out every undead monster they come across. Their destination is Canada, an area now referred to as “New Eden”, which is supposedly vampire-free. But on their journey, the two also manage to piss off a religious cult, which, led by an extremist named Jebedia Loven (Michael Cervaris), proves every bit as dangerous as any bloodsucker.
One of the many strengths of Stake Land is its depiction of vampires as savage, almost zombie-like creatures that kill instinctively, a far cry from the “sophisticated” vampires we’ve grown accustomed to over the years. In a flashback scene, we’re shown the attack on Martin and his family, during which the invading vampire (played by James Godwin) kills Martin’s infant sibling, draining all the blood from the baby and discarding its lifeless body as if it were an empty soda can. But as we soon discover, the few remaining pockets of civilization are just as much a threat to Martin’s and Mister’s safety as any vampire. While making their way along a deserted road, our heroes come to the rescue of a nun (Kelly McGillis) who’s about to be raped by two members of Jebedia Loven’s cult. Mister kills the attackers, and, in so doing, incites Loven’s wrath. Clearly, there are many perils in the world of Stake Land, and you can never turn your back on anyone.
A grim and gritty motion picture with a convincing post-apocalyptic setting, well-realized characters, and a story that flows organically, Stake Land ranks up there with Let the Right One In, Shadow of the Vampire, and 30 Days of Night as one of the best vampire movies of the new millennium.