Near Dark review by The Grim Ringler

NEAR DARK

How can it be, dear friends, that all the really interesting and original vampire movies have all but been forgotten yet the really crappy ones about hot, gothy, wanna-be model vampires are held up as touchstones of the sub-genre? How can that be? Ah, but friends, as I stand before you, I want you all to give a big amen that companies like Anchor Bay exist so that we can get a second chance at discovering our forgotten history. Brothers and sisters, let me tell you a story.

Once upon a time there was a little old country boy, and all he wanted was to get laid, have fun, and be with his family, but alas, there came into this young mans life a woman, a striking woman that breathed mystery and walked desire, and with one look he was hers. These two spent one night together, talking, kissing, driving, but when the sun was about to rise she left him, running off for her kin and for shelter, fear in her eyes. She didnt leave though before giving the boy a bite on the throat. He was disturbed by this but thought nothing of it until he was on his way home, walking through the barren fields as his truck had stalled out, and with that sun on him he knew something was wrong. He was different, changed, his body burning when sunlight hit it, his body changed since his love-bite from the girl. Before he can make it home to his father and sister though the girl and her family, a rag-tag group of vampires that has adopted her as their own kidnap him, and it looks as if his fate is sealed. The girl though wont let her family kill the boy and demands they give him a chance to prove himself worthy of joining them He refuses to believe he is as they say, changed, and must live on the blood of the weak, and tries to escape back to his family, but the sickness is in his blood and there is no home for him now. But try as he may, he cannot bring himself to kill someone, and the days of his living on the blood of the girl, and the family is growing impatient. He watches them as they massacre a bar full of people and though he bonds with them by being shot by the bar-keep, thus buying himself a little bit more time, his time is running short. Before they can kill him though, seeing him as a parasite as he lives off of the blood of their surrogate daughter, his father and sister find him, by luck, and he escapes with them and is cured via a blood transfusion. The family isnt done with him yet though, as the youngest member of the family, an old man in a childs body, has fallen in love with the boys young sister and demands he be with her, thus setting up one final confrontation in which its the boy against his adoptive vampire family.

Brilliantly written and masterfully shot by Katherine Bigelow, this is a movie that doesnt even utter the WORD vampire, let alone make it look as if its a glamorous life. But she also doesnt sell the vampire family out as if they are monsters. They ARE a family in the film, a group united by a common fate and a common link they were all turned by someone in their ranks and it is their strength as a unit that makes the film so strong. Each one feels like a real character, with a history and motivation all their own, not something conjured out of clich and shadows, they are real people with a real purpose survival. And the boys family and he are equally real, almost the Light version of the vamp familys Dark. And the couple is the Romeo and Juliet, placed impossibly in the middle of two families that can never co-exist, in worlds that hate each other equally for what they are not.

More a western than a straight vampire film, this really did revolutionize what we thought of when we thought of vamp films. Gone was the romanticism and eroticism, replaced by bloodlust and hunger, the beautiful count replaced by ragtag gypsies whose histories match those of the nations.

Great acting (Lance Henriksen is brilliant in this film, and you will fall in love with the young woman in it, Jenny Wright), great camera-work, great writing, this is what we as horror fans WISH the genre would be.

The DVD is pretty neat, great documentary (holy COW is Katherine Bigelow hot), a nifty commentary, poster stills, a deleted scene, and some other ephemera, its nice to see this movie get the love it deserves. I highly recommend it and really hope that a new audience finds it as I did when I was a kid. Good god, kid? Man am I old c


9 out of 10 Jackasses

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