THE ZONE has my review of Jim Mickle’s post-apocalyptic vampire movie Stake Land.
Between Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend (1954) and Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire (1976) there are no shortage of works that use vampires as a means of engaging with such existentialist themes as loneliness, alienation and self-loathing. Indeed, the rather individualistic idea that people out there are somehow less alive and therefore different to us also features in zombie films like Edgar Wright’s Shaun of the Dead (2004) and Ruben Fleischer’s Zombieland (2009). Beating a critically acclaimed path to this already well-frequented watering hole is Stake Land, a film that combines the post-apocalyptic seriousness of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road (2006) with the post-apocalyptic silliness of Kevin Costner’s The Postman (1997) with all the problems this entails:
Though never all that original or overflowing with important things to say, Stake Land could have been an interesting addition to the tradition that uses elements of art house cinema to revitalise tired old horror tropes. Similarly, it could have been a harmless action movie in which a stone-cold badass leads a group of people through a vampire-infested post-apocalyptic landscape. However, by attempting to be both things at once, Stake Land succeeds at being neither. This is a slow, ponderous, underpowered and ludicrously pompous film that comes nowhere close to adding up to the sum of its parts.
Disappointing to say the least.