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Near Dark (1987)


Average Rating: 7.5/10
Reviews Counted: 47
Fresh: 41
Rotten: 6

Critics Consensus: Near Dark is at once a creepy vampire film, a thrilling western, and a poignant family tale, with humor and scares in abundance.

Average Rating: 7.5/10
Reviews Counted: 9
Fresh: 8
Rotten: 1

Critics Consensus: Near Dark is at once a creepy vampire film, a thrilling western, and a poignant family tale, with humor and scares in abundance.


Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 23,913



Movie Info

In Kathryn Bigelow's tale of vampires in the American Southwest, the creatures of the night aren't elegant, cloaked aristocrats. They're a gun-toting gang that dresses and acts like a motorcycle gang. Caleb (Adrian Pasdar), a restless young man from a small farm town, meets an alluring drifter named Mae (Jenny Wright). She reveals herself to be a vampire, who "turns" Caleb into one of her kind rather than kill him. But the rest of her "family" is slow to accept the newcomer. The ancient leader, … More

Western , Horror , Romance , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
In Theaters:
Sep 10, 2002
Lions Gate Films


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Critic Reviews for Near Dark

All Critics (47) | Top Critics (9) | Fresh (41) | Rotten (6) | DVD (30)

Long after the picture ends, you're left with potent half-images: strong-but-vague impressions that resemble the remains of dreams.

Full Review… | October 6, 2013
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

There's a ghastly humor in all this, and Bigelow brings it out without overindulging it. Faced with a nearly repulsive subject, she makes the blood flow inside it, stream out over the cuts.

Full Review… | October 6, 2013
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

Near Dark has filmmaking finesse to spare, but puts its dank characters on display rather than cadging sympathy for them. It is the Blue Velvet of date-night spook shows.

Full Review… | October 14, 2008
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

This is on the whole a striking directorial debut, at once scary and erotic, with lots of sidelong touches in the casting, direction, and script.

Full Review… | September 26, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

High-powered but pared down, slick but spare, this is a tale that introduces the unearthly into the banality of rural American existence.

Full Review… | September 26, 2007
Top Critic

Bigelow's artful handling of the magic and menace of the night is hauntingly apparent.

August 14, 2007
Rolling Stone
Top Critic

Seductively lensed, sparely scripted and superbly performed, this does away with Gothic nonsense to offer a modern take on the undead myth.

Full Review… | October 6, 2013
Total Film

One of the best vampire movies ever made.

Full Review… | October 6, 2013
Radio Times

When the viewer wants to know more about the people in the compelling images, the screen`s texture suddenly falls flat.

Full Review… | October 6, 2013
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Como terror focado em vampiros, empalidece diante de Garotos Perdidos, lançado no mesmo ano; como alegoria do submundo das drogas e de uma época em que o sexo se tornou letal, é óbvio e infantil. Como esta bobagem virou cult, não sei explicar.

February 6, 2010
Cinema em Cena

One of the better vampire films.

Full Review… | April 16, 2008
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

... both ferocious and lyrical, a moody horror film with the frontier community romanticism of a John Ford Western and the violent ferocity of a Sam Peckinpah film.

Full Review… | March 5, 2008

As much as it is a horror film and western, it is equally and perhaps more pronouncedly a romance.

Full Review… | October 30, 2007
Not Coming to a Theater Near You

Dark, bloody and very stylish, this genre-busting western-noir-vampire hybrid is a toothsome joy and definitely one of the best horror films of the 1980s.

Full Review… | September 26, 2007

An auspicious solo directing debut from Kathryn Bigelow.

Full Review… | September 26, 2007
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Lots of dull spots, a few effectively intense moments, and as much gore as the monster genre usually calls for nowadays.

Full Review… | May 8, 2007
Christian Science Monitor

Still by far Bigelow's best film, this seductive vampire tale is suffused with the unique beauty of the SouthWest and eerie pacing that enrich the narrative and elevate it to a reverie about the sanctity and unity of the family.

Full Review… | August 21, 2006

One of the best vampire movies ever made....if you liked "The Lost Boys", you'll love this!

May 6, 2005

Southern-fried vampire-noir romance action horror tragedy. I love this movie.

April 3, 2005

Audience Reviews for Near Dark

This is a film that borders between the world of supernatural vampire films of today, and the grittiness of an eighties action film. Taking a lot of the supporting cast of James Cameron's "Aliens" and thrusting them into the world of vampire outlaws isn't all that unnerving. What makes the film pop has nothing to do with the close knit clan of vampires. These characters are all based on their appearances: Jesse (Henricksen) is a cryptic, ancient warrior who is animalistic in his actions, Mae (Wright) is sweet and innocent, and Severen (Paxton) is a crazed, bloodlust loving killer. Their appearances, the action that shapes the film and makes it step into action movie territory, but then the scenes where they hunt are obviously more based in horror. Bill Paxton is electric in his role, looking fanged and always hungry. The scene where they stop in a bar and feed, would have scared me every night before bed for weeks afterward when I was younger. It's chilling even now, watching his cockeyed stare surveying a man as he tries to protect himself, with blood dripping down his face as easily as sweat. Highly recommend watching this, one of Kathryn Bigelow's earliest films that has some seriously creepy performances.

Spencer S.

Super Reviewer


Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer


A sexually charged tale of vampirism created decades before it was considered vogue by Pattinson-worshiping pre-teens.
When young Caleb is picked up by a marauding band of night-walkers, he is forced to learn how to survive in his new skin without abandoning what he knows to be right.
Created in the midst of the Reagan Revolution, with it's intense focus on private gain as opposed to the public good, young Caleb must learn to see his fellow humans not as equals, but rather as something to be exploited. He must learn that a way of life is something that has to be taken from others, even if that means taking their very lifesblood.
Politics aside, Bigelow deftly blends horror and the Western in a way that is, pardon the pun, very infectious. Accented by a Tangerine Dream score, this moody coming of age story is sadly underrated. Overshadowed by The Lost Boys, which hit cinemas a mere three months before the release of Near Dark.
Structurally, the film is a bit sloppy. Some scenes are awkwardly forced in to satisfy sub-plots and the end feels a bit slapdash. Also, the dialogue hasn't aged particularly well.
For example:
Caleb: What's going on?
Severen: It's not what's going on, it's what's coming off....your face.

So while not without it's flaws, Near Dark is a dark and fun piece of 80's cinema.

Reid Volk

Super Reviewer


Hell yeah, what a cast! my dream team almost, Paxton, Henriksen, Goldstein, Wright, perfect. I dont like the desert feel for the vamps but this is still an awesome bloodsucker. The classic bar scene is violent and sadistic yet you wanna join them haha Wright is cute and Henriksen rules as always, Bishop as a vampire lol!

Almost the best of the 'Aliens' cast in a desert based vampire flick, seriously! 'Private Hudson' is reborn as 'Severen' hehe over the top and totally bad ass, Bigelow delivers another truly adrenaline pumping (blood draining) flick which came before 'Point Break', this woman knows how to make a good action thriller.

'I taught Severen everything he knows, but not everything I know'

Phil Hubbs

Super Reviewer

Near Dark Quotes

Loy Colton:
What in the God Damn Hell is goin' on here?
– Submitted by Alex B (24 months ago)
It's finger-lickin' good!
– Submitted by Tina R (2 years ago)
Hey, Jesse, remember that fire we started in Chicago?
– Submitted by Tricia M (2 years ago)
What do you people want?
Just a couple more minutes of your time... about the same duration as the rest of your life.
– Submitted by Tricia M (2 years ago)
I'm gonna separate your head from your shoulders. Hope you don't mind none.
– Submitted by Tricia M (2 years ago)

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