Thursday, 9 June 2011

Futuristic Fangery

A bunch of Merkins struggle to survive in a Vampiric flavoured post apocalypse in the gloomy Stake Land, Jim Mickle's low-fi horror film. There's nothing original in this wasteland road trip as an orphaned teenager falls in with a hunter, called simply Mister, and travels north battling fangs and bible obsessed loons enroute to Canada but it's the hillbilly atmosphere and commitment to grimness that lifts this above the cliches and usual tropes. Sure the effects are cheap, the set up largely unexplained and it slumps in the final third but this is still an enjoyable bit of genre nonsense and is certainly an improvement on Mickle's Mulberry Street.

There's plenty more Vamp shenanigans in Priest with Paul Bettany. Humanity has retreated into giant walled cities after a long battle with a pandemic of blood suckers and the Church's warrior priesthood disbanded but one bitter veteran decides is enough is enough when his family are slaughtered in the wasteland and sets out to investigate. It's got some nice stylistic touches and with a much bigger budget than Stake Land there's plenty of nifty FX sequences and action but it's a by the numbers almost soulless affair that lacks any atmosphere or generates much enthusiasm. It'll probably do much better than SL as it's got a cast of familiar faces and is practically designed for the multiplexes but it's half the film it should have been.

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