Stake Land

Stake Land

3.5 2
Director: Jim Mickle, Connor Paolo, Nick Damici, Kelly McGillis

Cast: Jim Mickle, Connor Paolo, Nick Damici, Kelly McGillis

     
 

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An orphaned teenager joins a stoic vampire hunter and a desperate group of survivors as they search for a safe haven in a land overrun by monstrous bloodsuckers and ruthless fundamentalists intent on taking over the United States. His entire family slaughtered by vampires, terrified teen Martin (Connor Paolo) is rescued from certain death

Overview

An orphaned teenager joins a stoic vampire hunter and a desperate group of survivors as they search for a safe haven in a land overrun by monstrous bloodsuckers and ruthless fundamentalists intent on taking over the United States. His entire family slaughtered by vampires, terrified teen Martin (Connor Paolo) is rescued from certain death by a mysterious vampire hunter named Mister (Nick Damici), who trains him how to wield a wooden stake as they wander the wastelands in search of survivors. Before long, the duo is joined by conflicted nun Sister (Kelly McGillis), resourceful youngster Willie (Sean Nelson), and a pregnant teenager (Danielle Harris) looking for a safe place to give birth. With supplies running low and safe houses hard to come by, the group sets their sights on a place known as "New Eden," the last stronghold of humanity. But getting there won't be easy because the crazed fundamentalists who travel the roads by day are even more dangerous than the evil bloodsuckers who stalk the darkness.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Jason Buchanan
Thank Vlad the Impaler there are still some filmmakers who believe vampires should be scary rather than sparkly. Replace the zombies in AMC's The Walking Dead with demonic bloodsuckers, play up the Wild West angle of surviving in a post-apocalyptic society, and you start to get an idea of the mood writer/director Jim Mickle manages to strike in Stake Land -- an involving vampire romp, and an inspiring example of creative vision overcoming budgetary limitations. His entire family slaughtered by vampires right before his eyes, terrified teen Martin (Connor Paolo) falls in with a mysterious vampire hunter named Mister (Nick Damici), who trains him how to wield a wooden stake as they wander the wastelands in search of survivors. Before long, the duo is joined by conflicted nun Sister (Kelly McGillis), resourceful youngster Willie (Sean Nelson), and a pregnant teenager (Danielle Harris) looking for a safe place to give birth. With supplies running low and safe houses hard to come by, the group sets their sights on a place known as "New Eden," the last stronghold of humanity. But getting there won't be easy because the crazed fundamentalists who travel the roads by day are even more dangerous than the evil bloodsuckers who stalk the darkness. It's rare for a director to establish such a singular vision on such a miniscule budget, but with Stake Land, Mickle creates a universe that feels fully realized from the opening shot of a beat-up car racing down a sun-drenched country road. As strong as Mickle's grasp of vampire and Western iconography is, however, Stake Land can't help but be slightly hindered by its episodic structure and constant narration -- two factors that give it the feel of a confidently executed TV pilot rather than a solid-concept feature. Regardless, Mickle has without question created a universe capable of enduring; by constructing a convincing mythology complete with its own vernacular and filling it with characters that are worth rooting for, he proves that great things can indeed be accomplished with limited resources. The creature effects are impressive (Mickle's snarling, beastly vampires almost give the impression of a bloodsucker cross-bred with a werewolf), action set pieces are executed with style and confidence, and the cast members are all up to the task -- with Damici and McGillis coming off particularly well as the grizzled vampire slayer and haunted nun, respectively. Taking a cue from George A. Romero, Mickle quickly establishes that monsters may be the least of our protagonist's concerns as a group of religious zealots makes a gruesome grab for power, and then Mickle smartly uses that angle to bring his story full circle. Although that is the one element of Stake Land that some viewers may see as the film's most predictable, screenwriters Mickle and Nick Damici still throw in enough unique ideas and involving action sequences to distract us along the way, while cinematographer Ryan Samul keeps our eyes constantly occupied with atmospheric widescreen photography that occasionally recalls Dean Cundey's work with John Carpenter in the 1980s. Meanwhile, composer Jeff Grace (I Sell the Dead, The House of the Devil) gives the whole endeavor a pensive tone that picks up nicely whenever the action does -- ensuring that the vast majority of Stake Land's biggest flaws are fleeting, rather than defining.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/02/2011
UPC:
0030306185897
Original Release:
2010
Rating:
R
Source:
Dark Sky Films
Time:
1:38:00
Sales rank:
53,785

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Connor Paolo Martin
Nick Damici Mister
Kelly McGillis Sister
Danielle Harris Belle
Sean Nelson Willie
Michael Cerveris Jebedia
Bonnie Dennison Peggy
Greg Jones Martin's Father
Traci Hovel Martin's Mother
Tim House Sherriff
Stuart Rudin Pops the Barber
Adam Scarimbolo Kevin
Larry Fessenden Roadhouse Bartender
Chance Kelly Officer Harley
Adam Folk Soldier Crier
Jean Brassard French Canadian Cannibal
Lou Sumrall Brotherhood Man
Vonia Arslanian Dark-Haired Bartender
Phyllis Bash Old Woman

Technical Credits
Jim Mickle Director,Editor,Screenwriter
Mike Ahearn Art Director
Malik B. Ali Executive Producer
Badie Ali Executive Producer
Hamza Ali Executive Producer
Derek Curl Producer
Nick Damici Screenwriter
Sig De Miguel Casting
Tom Efinger Sound/Sound Designer
Elizabeth Fastola Costumes/Costume Designer
Larry Fessenden Producer
Adam Folk Producer
Peter Gerner Makeup Special Effects
Jeff Grace Score Composer
Daniel R. Kersting Production Designer
Brent Kunkle Producer
Greg Newman Executive Producer
Peter Phok Producer
Graham Reznick Sound/Sound Designer
Ryan Samul Cinematographer
Brian A. Spears Makeup Special Effects
Beck Underwood Art Director
Elisabeth Vastola Costumes/Costume Designer
Stephen Vincent Casting

Scene Index

2 Feature-length Cast and Crew Commentaries; ; Jim Mickle, Nick Damici, Connor Paolo, Larry Fesseden, Brent Kunkle; ; Jim Mickle, Peter Phak, Adam Folk, Ryan Samul, Graham Reznick, Jeff Grace; ; Going For The Throat: The Making Of Stake Land by Eric Stanze; ; Character Prequels: 7 Short Films from Directors Larry Fessenden, Danielle Harris, Glenn McQuaid, JT Petty, Graham Reznick; ; Video Diaries by Jim Mickle: Pre-Production-Storyboards-Visual FX-Post Production; Toronto International Film Festival Premiere and Q&A

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Stake Land 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
CraigHerndon More than 1 year ago
‎Stake Land was probably the best Vampire movie I've ever seen. It wasn't an overdone take on them, it wasn't a goofy love story, and it surely wasn't boring. Sure, they weren't classic vampires, but they were vampires nonetheless. The plot was good, the acting was superb, and for a lower-budget movie, the special effects were off the chart. A 3 and a half star movie, and I'd recommend it to any fan of horror/sci-fi movies.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago