Directed by Kathryn Bigelow
Reviewed by MaT, added on Jan 1 2005
Near Dark can be summed up as an "R" rated "Lost Boys". A ragtag group of vampires led by Lance Henriksen begrudgingly take in a small town cowboy named Caleb, played by Adrian Pasdar, after he is bitten by one of the clan. Naturally, he doesn't want to kill or drink people's blood which pisses the clan off and sets up what we like to call, conflict, in the movie biz.
How this film has achieved cult status is beyond me. The only good thing going for it is the outrageous vampire Severen played by Bill Paxton. He goes so crazy and over the top with his character that the movie seems to completely stop when he's not in the scenes. Lance Henriksen does an admirable job as the leader, but his talents are mostly wasted.
The main plot thread is the love story between Caleb and Mae, the vampire that bit him. She desperately wants him to learn to kill so they can be together for eternity, but he seems to have a bit of a problem in the killing department. Considering him a loose cannon, the other vampires decide that they want to kill Caleb. During this time, Caleb's father and his little sister are randomly driving around the desert trying to find him(?!), and wouldn't you know it, they happen to be staying at the same motel as the vampires. Cue the sister kidnappings, gunbattles, vampire blood transfusions (no, I'm not joking) and some crazy burning undead bodies.
There was some good stuff in this film. I enjoyed Bill Paxton immensely and a lot of the vampire burning and gore effects were nice. Jeanette Goldstein played one of the vampires, and all I could think about was "Terminator 2" when the T-1000 mimics her and stabs her husband through the mouth. I also enjoyed the big gun battle scene with the cops. It was pure camp, but it was filmed pretty well.
On the downside, these vampires, for all the whining and screaming when sunlight hits them, seem to last pretty long while out in the sun. It takes about 2 minutes for them to get burned to a crisp, and even then they keep going. Not only that, but they have some crazy Wolverine regeneration capabilities. Every night, no matter how burned they were during the day, they return to normal. They also seem to have an endless supply of bullets, which is strange. Do vampires need to carry bullets around? Of course! These vampires get into firefights with cops every other day. Yeesh.....
Another thing that bothered me was that no matter where Caleb or his sister are at, the vampires always know where they are. And this is in daylight by the way. They drive around in stolen cars, putting up tin foil in the windows and spray painting them black so the sun won't get them, and randomly kidnap Caleb or his sister whenever the writer runs out of ideas, which annoyed me to no end. Plus the ending sucked. Sucked hard.
This movie had some good gore and a great performance by Bill Paxton, but other than that it was completely forgettable.