Stake Land is a combination of Zombieland and The Road; the setting is bleak, and the zombies are vampires. Really, that’s all there is to it. The ‘vampires’ aren’t thinking machines, they’re crazed, and honestly, the fangs and pace at which they move are really the only thing that separates them from zombies. Once again, I’d have to say, this vampire movie was a shameless attempt to appeal to that class of genre lovers who have been screaming for the last two years “We want REAL vampires!” Well, there is maybe one ‘real’ vampire in the whole movie; the rest just run amok aimlessly, with no actual objective other than eating people… you know, like zombies? There’s also little explanation as to their origin, –also like the whole zombie thing, they’re presumably just a mass plague that happened to pop up one day. Oh and by the way, SPOILER ALERT!
The story is pretty simple: Kid in peril, family slaughtered, mysterious stranger named “Mister” saves him, and drags him all over the country, teaching him to fight and ‘slay’ vampires, while the kid, Martin, waxes philosophical from time to time on their situation. Martin and Mister are looking for “New Eden” which is in Canada, and they have to fight through the crazed vampires, and a religious cult called “The Brotherhood” that believes the vampires are a plague sent by God to cleanse the earth. Martin and Mister pick up a few stragglers, all of which die horribly, one by one, until the end, when Mister abandons Martin with a pretty girl. Mister disappears, and Martin and his new girlfriend find New Eden. Yayyy.
It’s easier to get into the movie once you dismiss any feelings toward the so-called vampires, and just accept that they’re basically zombies with sharper teeth. After that, you get to appreciate the usual hack-and-slash zombie action, and the story, and even Martin’s philosophical narration. The post-apocalyptic devastation is realistic, and practical; there are still semi-functioning towns, despite rapists and murders running rampant, –which is what the world is like already, and people continue not really caring what the government is doing or where they are. The military presence is also a lot more simple: a few guys with guns who try to keep shit under control, voluntarily serving the country to the best of their ability. There’s no real organized militia. We’re left to assume the government took the last of the military with them, and the rest are dead. All in all, it’s scored 3 our of 5 stars with me, –but if you’re one of them screaming for ‘real vampires’, check it out. And tell us what you think.