Near Dark Reviews
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.
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.
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'
While I realize this is a genre that has been "done to death" (pun intended!) I still enjoy an attempt at originality whetehr it is in the story line, the mythology or even just in the visuals.
Sadly there is very little in this film that was original or even really that interesting. Perhaps if I had seen this back in 1987 I would feel differently. But as it stands, it feels more like a Frankenstein story (pieced together from the ideas and storylines from other films) then a vampire story.
Bill Paxton's crazy ass Eldritch look-a-like Severen (awesome name, btw!) totally steals the show, even if I thought Caleb and Mae's little pitching woo was adorable. The blood transfusion scenario was a bit of a...well, an eyebrow-raiser.
Jesse: Let's put it this way: I fought for the South. We lost.
I hear a lot of talk about how great a movie this is because of the genre bending nature of the movie and the fact that it defies the rules of vampire movies. That's all well and good, but it doesn't help that the story just sucks and the characters don't make much sense.
Set in the West, a country boy encounters a random girl walking around at night, and gives her "a life home." After a strange conversation, the country boy, Caleb, for some reason still wants to get busy with this country cutey, but unfortunately for him, she's a vampire, and gets her fangs in him.
Before Caleb can make his way home, he is snatched by a family of drifting vampires who sleep during the day, feed at night, and are just assholes the rest of the time.
This batch includes Lance Henriksen as the leader of the pack, Jenette Goldstein (Pvt. Vasquez of Aliens fame), a strange little boy named Homer, the country cutey, and Bill Paxton, who is of course amazing throughout the movie.
For some reason these vamps give Caleb the chance to join their family, rather than kill him, which would seem like an easy decision for this group. What follows is scene after scene of Caleb fucking things up for these vampire drifters, with the country cutey always coming in to protect him.
The problem lies in the focus of the movie. Caleb is a lame protagonist. He's boring, makes bad decisions, and drags the movie down. The other problem lies in the country cutie. I don't know why these vampires would keep her around, she doesn't seem helpful in any way at all, and only gets these people in trouble.
On the other hand, if the movie was focused on these drifters, the more interesting villains of the movie, it could have been much better. This is evident in the bar scene, where we see the crew at work acting evil, while keeping things entertaining. It is easily the best scene in the entire movie, and of course the highlight is Bill Paxton doing his thing.
There are some decent 80s effects here, but some overly dramatic scenes, Caleb, and his country girlfriend drag this movie away from what could have been a much better vampire western.
Sarah: You people are up really late.
Severen: We keep odd hours.