Stake Land centers around a man and a teenage boy trying to make their way to Canada. The kink in the chain is that the world is infested with vampires and it’s not quite so safe to be out in the open for humans anymore. The man (who’s referred to as Mister, kind of an odd character name) saved the boy (Martin) from death when his family was attacked and killed. Their quest is to make it to New Eden (aka Canada) as vampires hate the cold in this particular mythology.
The story is pretty solid without any big twists or turns. There are some decently written moments of tension and the dialog, while average, fits well with the characters. Nothing really seems out of place. While there are few innovations or unexpected moments, it’s still enjoyable to watch and has an ok ending. I only say ok because the ending is a little abrupt and tries a bit hard to be non-formulaic but still ends up that way anyway.
The production mostly is pretty good (especially for a $650K budget) although the vampire’s makeup and costuming falls pretty short looking borderline cheesy at times. The editing, sound, set design and wardrobe is solid but average. Makes me wonder where the budget went…
The talent does a fine job delivering their roles. Connor Paolo (who plays Martin) and Nick Damici (Mister) are the center pieces here and perform convincingly. The only other stand out is Kelly McGillis who plays a battered nun just trying not to become another meal. The lineup includes Traci Hovel, Gregory Jones and Danielle Harris.
I can’t say this one compares very well to other vampire classics but it’s a fine way to kill an hour and half or so. It’s worth a viewing for you to come up with your own opinion about it.
reviewed by Sean McKnight