Stake Land (2010)

A vampire epidemic has swept across America and it’s up to Mister, a death dealing, rogue vampire hunter, to get his young accomplice Martin safely north to Canada, the continent’s New Eden.

The other day, Issy posted his Stake Land review (which you can read HERE) and quoted a little line I had made about the film. Only then did I remember I had even reviewed it, and after digging through my A-Z I noticed it had never really been seen. So since I’m lazy busy preparing Friday’s FACE OFF I thought I would put this out in the hope of a few more people sharing their thoughts on a great little movie.

I picked Stake Land up cheap when it was released on dvd, and when a new release is offered at a cut price straight away I wasn’t holding out much hope. Boy was I wrong. What I got was a brilliant and unique twist on the more modern-day vampire films (Twilight I blame you!).

The film starts with a voiceover from our young lead Martin. We are then shown a flashback to his chance encounter with his saviour simply known as Mister. Martin’s family fall victim to a vampire attack and he has no other choice but to join Mister. Martin then goes through a karate-kid style of training as Mister teaches him the ways to kill a vampire.

Their journey north through a post-apocalyptic America is slowly paced but beautiful and harrowing to look at. They bump into fellow people struggling to not just survive but start a new life. Small towns and communities block themselves in and pray for sunlight in the hope they can survive each night.

The vampires aren’t the only danger, as Mister and Martin soon find out as they meet a crazy religious cult/gang. After they save a nun simply known as Sister from being assaulted (played by an unrecognisable Kelly McGillis, not quite the looker she was in Top Gun) the gang come after them. This ramps up the action in the film and we see how good Mister is at simply staying alive. A little later on the gang come across a pregnant girl called Belle (Danielle Harris) who decides to join them on their journey.

Minor Spoilers lie ahead……………..

Any time the action lets up and we think the gang can finally rest, a curve ball is thrown in by the film’s villan and cult leader. The scene in which vampires are thrown out of a chopper into a civilian safe place shows just how evil the cult is. A refreshing twist though, as I thought this was probably the best scene in the movie.

Despite the religious ‘this is gods will‘ undertones, Stake Land is a very good film. The acting was superb, especially by Mister, it looked so authentic and beautiful yet bleak and soulless at the same time. The vampires looked great, no poor prosthetics on show here, and whilst there isn’t too much blood and gore on display there are still some shocking moments, even in the opening family scene. Not something you see everyday……….

I’m so glad I picked this film up, and it’s arguably one of the best vampire-themed films I’ve seen. Stake Land definitely offers a unique take on the modern vampire craze. We get no explanation as to how or why the vampires have taken over and I like that. We just have to accept that’s how the world is. It has action, heart, great acting and I urge people to check this out if they ever get the chance.

7 stars

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94 Comments

  1. Wordschat

     /  February 20, 2013

    Will you stake your blogging rep on this Tyson? Canada can be a refuse for those in need even those escaping Proper full names and vampires. Our east cost has looked bleak with all the snow but its beautiful all over the country. Heck we’re even used to -25C and worse! I won’t wus out, I’ll look for this to stream (if we thaw out). Cheers mate.

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  2. Glad you watched this film as I too think it’s one of the best in the genre. Very original, very unique, and blends the action with the drama very well. My one complaint was that it took itself a bit too seriously. Check out my review here-

    http://cinekatz.com/may-24-stake-land/

    I gave it a similar score.

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    • Glad you liked it Nick. I can see what your saying about the drama and seriousness, but I think with the budget etc they had, it ticks most of the boxes. Cheers buddy :)

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  3. Saw this one awhile back and it was surprisingly good. Not much of a vampire fan.

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    • Yeah I’m not a huge vampire film fan as it goes, maybe thats why I liked this one so much. Even though there is no Kate Beckinsale which some vampire films offer :)

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  4. I like Vamp films so I’ll give this a go.

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  5. No question, “StakeLand” is one of the best vampire movies I’ve ever seen. It’s so well-crafted, acted and produced, it’s a cut above the vast majority of horror movies.

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  6. Great review my man. I’ve had this sitting around for ages yet I’ve not got around to putting it on. I should do that. It has appealed to me for a while now.

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    • Cheers Mark. You should definitely give it a go, and I look forward to your thoughts if you post a review of it! I think you will like it, but there are always Anchorman size exceptions! ;)

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  7. theipc

     /  February 20, 2013

    Look at all of the love for this movie – and here I’ve been putting it off for months and months….

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    • Dude you have to give it a watch. If your blog has taught me anything it is that you will have seen a lot worse than this. Thats a money back guarantee (Catalin will cover the money back).

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      • theipc

         /  February 20, 2013

        I am actually going in to Netflix here in a minute to queue some things up – I’ll add this to the list… and I’m SURE I have seen much worse – I have only ever seen this available for rent @ around five bucks (USD) and with NF movies, at the rate I watch them, they are basically out there for pennies. Let’s see what happens : )

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    • Nice, hope you like it :P

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  8. Drop by my place tomorrow morning. You have been tagged!!

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  9. Never heard of this one. But you had me at vampires :)

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  10. Totally new to me. I’m all about finding a good fun horror flick. I’ll be giving this a look.

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    • That’s my aim complete for the day! Always good to point just 1 person in the direction of something new. Hope you like it when you see it Keith. Cheers buddy :)

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  11. Wordschat

     /  February 20, 2013

    P.S. Just searched Netflix on the PC, appears Stake Land, Suspect Zero and Sdie By Side are available there. So perhaps a little break from Walking Dead is in order for a long evening. Not tonight, its Survivor time :)

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    • Good, hope you get chance to see it, and I look forward to your thoughts!! (and about Walking Dead!)

      We don’t get Survivor over here, but I do love The Amazing Race being back ;)

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  12. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this. Low expectation played a part in that. really good, original take on the Vampire story and totally engrossing. Good review.

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    • Yeah thats how I felt and approached it really, wasnt expecting much and was genuinely surprised in a good way. Glad you liked it. Cheers John :)

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  13. I admit it is unique movie that had some moments but some of the story just didnt sit right with me.

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    • Yeah I could tell I liked it a little more than you, but at least you have seen it, thats more than a lot of people! Cheers for reminding me anyway Issy :)

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  14. This looks pretty cool Tyson. I haven’t seen this yet but it looks like something I’d like to watch.

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  15. Actually thought this was pretty good. Lots of twists and turns and unexpected moments. Definitely puts the bite back into vampires. Nice review TC. :)

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  16. Well, you probably already know this is not my cup of tea Ty. But Kelly McGillis! It’s uncanny as I just rewatched Top Gun this past weekend. She does not age well.

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    • Yeah, I mean she was meant to appear distressed and struggling to survive, but she has aged in a slightly worse (more normal) way than Tom Cruise :)

      Top Gun is just amazing though, even the soundtrack is excellent :P

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  17. Victor De Leon

     /  February 21, 2013

    I saw this a ways back and it is still in my Netflix queue. I really enjoyed it. It deserves to have more exposure. It’s a hidden gem much like “Splinter” was. Good story, decent perf’s and a neat style that was full of mood. Mister, hands down, is one of the coolest anti-hero survivalists around. Great pick and good review.

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  18. I’m not a ‘horror’ fan per se but I was recommended this one by a pal I trust (not the pal who recommended Nicolas Cage’s Trespass. He will never be forgiven). I enjoyed it. Really enjoyed that his badass name was simply ‘Mister’ too. As I am prone to do I haiku-ed the film as…

    Vamp apocalypse / New take on tired genre / Religious psychos.

    I stand by that. Good review. Fair rating.

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  19. FINALLY, a horror movie you’ve reviewed is available to me on Netflix Streaming! I’ve added it to the queue, so I’ll let you know what I thought. Of course, if I’m repulsed by it, I expect a full refund from you.

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  20. I think I will watch this. As long as there are no sparklies, I think that I am game to see old school blood and guts vampires!

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  21. Nicely done man. Not actually heard of this but sounds decent. Not seen a decent vampire flick in ages so this sounds like it’ll do the job nicely.

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    • Cheers buddy. It’s a great little movie, hope you get chance to see it. Not that I see many vampire films but this one is very memorable :)

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  22. I was just looking at this on Netflix last night when I was searching for something to watch. I ended up watching The Burrowers instead. Sounds like I can safely add this one to my queue.

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    • How was The Burrowers? Heard mixed stuff about that, keen to watch it though.

      Hope you like this if you see it, just a cool vampire movie that is a little different. :)

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    • Cheers, think I will watch it sooner rather than later. I don’t often turn off movies but The Raven (and ABC’s of Death) have both been switched off before the mid-point very recently! :)

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  23. This surprised me and I really liked it :D

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  24. Paul

     /  February 21, 2013

    I really enjoyed this. I saw it a couple of years ago and it got me back into vampire movies.

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  25. Nice to see so much love for this movie. I also found it to be a very pleasant surprise when I first saw it. Here’s my review in case you want to read it: http://atothewr.com/2012/02/18/stakeland-2/

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  26. Ah, I read most the review, just didn’t read the spoilers part. I love your writing, buddy, but I don’t usually like reading reviews of films I haven’t seen, so that’s why I don’t read a lot of the content on here :( But this is a really good review, and it’s made me want to check it out if I get the chance :D

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    • Thats cool. I dont really do spoilers, but this was an early review, and only gives away a little event. Nothing too bad……but thats great that it made you want to check it out, thats why I do what I do.

      But you can vote on the new face off, please help my team! ;)

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      • But I don’t mind reading reviews of ones I haven’t heard of, that’s why I read this one :D

        Hahah okay, I’ll check it out!

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        • Just happy you read any of my work buddy, its all appreciated. Cheers :)

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        • I’ll visit your blog more :D

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        • As well as give me more reviews and desert island lists? ;)

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        • Hahaha yes yes friend, I’m so disorganized! I’ll email you my Harry Potter 8 review right now and finish my The Green Mile review, and maybe start my desert island list… The problem is, I can hardly see myself watching a specific movie everyday for the rest of my life! Even eight! Maybe once a month or every two weeks, but I think I’d get so tired of it… I’ll scratch my brain though, lol.

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        • You know there’s no rush really!! It’s tricky picking 8 but I have faith in you! ;)

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  27. Wordschat

     /  February 24, 2013

    Wow you’re touching 80 comments on this Tyson. I just finished watching it. I give it 3stars. Perhaps I’ll get a few replies when I write a review on it and Blancanieves tomorrow. Now back to Walking Dead by new AMC obssession.

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    • So you werent too keen on it? Look forward to reading your thoughts. Lots of love for it here which I was happy to see, but always good to see differing opinions! :)

      Have fun with your game, such a good story :)

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      • Wordschat

         /  February 24, 2013

        Not playing the WD game yet still watching the show. As for Stake Land I liked it just didn’t quite feel the love. Its no Drive :)

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  28. I definitely enjoyed this one. :)

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    • Agreeing with me again, you’ve changed Layne :P

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      • I’m way too tired to fight with you, Tyty. Just wait till I’ve had some right proper sleep and I’ll be back to my disagreeable ways. :-p

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        • Good to hear. If you havent already seen, I watched and reviewed a really nice lovely film Silver Linings Playbook. Feel free to tell me it was rubbish and De Niro was useless. Then I will know normal Misty is back. Until then I dont know if I can trust this nice agreeing girl ;)

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        • IT WAS RUBBISH AND DE NIRO WAS USELESS!!! ;) Nah, I haven’t seen it yet but I’m pretty sure I’m going to enjoy it, lol. And yeah, never trust the nice agreeing girl. NEVER. ;)

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        • Yeah shes back! :P

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  29. I loved this flick, especially when it rained bodies from the sky. :-)

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  1. Review: Stake Land (2010) | The Sporadic Chronicles of a Beginner Blogger
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