The Toast | Stake Land

Twilight fans have ruined it for every vampire fan. After Edward Cullen was introduced to the world, everyone now immediately assumes that vampires have to be brooding teenagers who sparkle. How does that work?! Vampires don’t sparkle; t

hey can’t even go into the light!

Remember real vampires? Ones that can’t go into the light and didn’t look like a boy band member? I was pretty sure I’d never see one of those again. I turned on the SyFy channel the other day and came across a vampire movie. I was hesitant at first, but ended up being pleasantly surprised. Stake Land (2012) is a story about a young boy named Martin who witnesses the gruesome slaughter of his family by a vampire. He survived after a vampire hunter, who is only referred to as “Mister” throughout the movie, intervenes and saves him.

Mister (Nick Damici) teaches Martin (Conor Paolo) how to fight and protect himself, but this isn’t a loving relationship. It’s a relationship solely based on survival since the majority of the human race has been wiped out (think The Walking Dead with vampires instead of zombies.) The goal is to make it to Canada or “New Eden,” where there is military protection and more survivors. During the travels, they come across a woman who calls herself Sister (Kelly McGillis) and she joins them. But, everyone these travelers meet along the way is not as sweet as Sister.

This makeshift “family” gets ambushed by a fundamentalist group called “The Brotherhood,” which is led by Jebedia Loven (Michael Cerveris) who sees the vampire plague as God’s work. The Brotherhood takes the family as prisoners, and one of them (the leader’s son) even tries to take advantage of Sister. When Mister kills Jebedia’s son for what he almost did, Loven punishes Mister by leaving him abandoned and defenseless in a group of vampires.

Sister and Martin escape, and to their surprise, Mister has survived his punishment and is ready to continue their journey towards safety. On the way, the trio meets a marine named Willie (Sean Nelson), and a pregnant woman named Belle (Danielle Harris) who are both looking to make it to New Eden. Willie mentions that he has also had a run in with The Brotherhood. The group decides to go after Jebedia. They successfully capture him and tie him to a tree, but this is not the last they will see of him.

What I really liked about this movie was the twist on the apocalypse scenario. Usually in these situations, the group is running from zombies and searching for a cure of the virus that most likely turned everyone into a zombie. In this movie, there is no search for a cure and the only goal is survival.

Stake Land was a gritty, fresh twist on a story (and monsters) that everyone is very familiar with and in my opinion, redeemed vampires from the sissy and sparkly reputation the currently have. If you’re looking for a vampire movie with a little more grit and less sparkle, Stake Land is the perfect choice.

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