When I saw the original Stake Land, released in 2010, I was pretty blown away. No, it wasn’t the absolutely greatest movie of all time, and it wasn’t really groundbreaking within the genre. But it was incredibly fun and astoundingly original in its execution. What more could you really ask for in a new (ish) horror movie?
Well, for one thing, you could ask for a sequel. And you could also ask for the sequel and the original to be available for streaming on Netflix so that you may have an awesome vampire apocalypse double-feature. Lucky for you, that’s exactly what I have come here to tell you today!
There’s an old adage about catching lightning in a bottle and you can really only do it once, or something deep like that that I can’t remember, but I’m not buying it. Sometimes it is possible. Stake Land and the sequel that followed proves just that. Two lightnings in two separate bottles! Does that make sense? No? You get what I mean though, don’t you? Of course you do. You’re smarter than me, after all.
Directed by Jim Mickle and starring Nick Damici (who also co-wrote the film with Mickle), Stake Land take place after the planet has been ravaged by vampires. In a post-apocalypse setting, master vampire hunter Mister (Damici) takes in a young orphan named Martin (Connor Paolo). Mister, up until this point a lonely vampire slayer, teaches Martin the art of decimating all vampires that cross their path as they travel north in search of a place called New Eden. What follows is a tour de force vampire mayhem and well-scripted bloodshed. It is unsurprisingly gory and exciting. Let’s be honest – that’s not really that hard to accomplish in a horror film. However, it stands apart from most other low budget horror films by having incredibly strong characterization and exceptionally well-executed special effects.
The character development is quite possibly my favorite part about the original Stake Land. I was immediately drawn to the heroic Mister. Damici played the character with a stoic machismo seldom seen in the new millennium, and I was thrilled when I found out that both he and Martin would return for the sequel, Stake Land II: The Stakelander. While giving away details may spoil the plot of the sequel, all I can say is that it is set a few years after the events of Stake Land and is equally as awesome.
Fans of the first will absolutely enjoy Stakelander. Further exploring the dark world introduced in the 2010 film is nothing but a joy. It’s as if someone mixed Fallout with Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend. If that doesn’t sound like a winning combination to you, well, I don’t think we should really be friends.
But I do like you, and I do like being your friend. So if you feel the same – and I really hope you do – you should add the two films to your Netflix queue. This has been an iHorror public service announcement. Thank you for your time.
Just please remember to keep your stakes sharp and your wits sharper. You’re going to need them during your stay in Stake Land.