Near Dark Reviews

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Super Reviewer
August 27, 2010
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.
Super Reviewer
½ May 29, 2012
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.
Super Reviewer
½ August 20, 2007
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'
Super Reviewer
½ January 7, 2009
Technically it's a 2 star film, but Near Dark has enough cult panache to elevate it above its means.
Super Reviewer
September 6, 2010
A surprisingly fantastic vampire movie full of action and romance. This is what Twilight should have been like. Although I think Lost Boys is the best vampire flick of the decade, this one is a close second, it's got a great story and it's more serious than Lost Boys. I love this movie, and I highly recommend it.
Super Reviewer
October 1, 2010
It doesn't waste your time with repetitive folklore, but jumps straight into a personal story. It's a true test of human spirit, having to decide if it is worth eternal life to kill an innocent person. This is moody, cool and basically the most believable you can get with vampires. It's almost if David Lynch directed the Lost Boys, which is about the best compliment I could possibly give to Kathryn Bigelow. I don't think she's ever made anything as unique since. The performances are effective and the sequences are just way too interesting. I love the score from Tangerine Dream, it truly brings the movie together.
Super Reviewer
July 7, 2010
Near Dark is an underrated vampire film. Released the same year as The Lost Boys , Near Dark didn't succeed at the box office. This film got overshadowed by The Lost Boys. Near Dark is a terrific vampire film. The film blends elements of western films and it has a Bonnie & Clyde feel to it. Bill Paxton is awesome as Severen and so does Lance Henriksen in his role of Jesse. Those two actors are the standouts of the film, and they are amusingly evil on screen. Near Dark is lots of fun. Near is a well acted, well paced and terrifying vampire flick that all horror fans will enjoy. Near Dark is a traditional vampire film with no modern day Twilight bullshit. If you love vampire flicks such as The Lost Boys and Fright Night, then pick this one up, you'll be happy you did. This is the third best vampire film of the 1980's. This is definitely an underrated film not to be missed.
Super Reviewer
November 28, 2009
The Terminator, with vampires.
Super Reviewer
½ September 21, 2009
As you might know by now, I LOVE a good vampire film / story.

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.
Super Reviewer
May 21, 2009
Horror story is equal parts vampire film and western. While these vampires behave like a violent biker gang, they're also prone to falling in love. Second teen vampire story to be released in 1987 after The Lost Boys, is perhaps less well known, but still, a wholly original, entertaining film. Director Kathryn Bigelow's eerie and stylized film is memorably atmospheric. Dangerously-in-love couple, Caleb and Mae make Edward and Bella irrelevant.
Super Reviewer
July 30, 2009
this might be my favorite vampire movie ever!!!!!!!!! there's definitely some 80's cheese and campy overacting going on here but the atmosphere is fantastic. dunno how i missed this back in the day. it's like the lost boys meets natural born killers, tho it does go off the beam a little bit toward the end. fasten your fucking seatbelts!
Super Reviewer
January 17, 2009
i thought the "my main squeeze is a vampire" genre just got started with "twilight", but after finding this right here on flixster i knew i was mistaken. doh! not bad, but not good either, which i kinda guess sums up that relationship choice, eh? what else is on?
Super Reviewer
December 6, 2008
I thought the story was pretty lame. Either they are evil vampires or not. Vampires that have lived for hundreds of years do not take as many chances as they do.
Super Reviewer
May 5, 2007
Interesting twist on the Vampire genre with a great coke fueled 80's performance by Bill Paxton
Super Reviewer
½ September 8, 2008
Near Dark is old skool fun, fun, fun. Retro 80's vampire madness similar to Lost Boys, all the way down to bad haircuts and synthesiser music. Successfully combines the horror genre with action and hints of western. From a cowboy main character to a trapped in a bungalow shoot out. The film does well in showing the seduction of immortal life, but also the sacrifices one must make as well. Paxton is wonderful in a pure whacked out crazy kind of way and Henrikson is simply the man. Has dated a little bit and the last scene is a bit too soft for my liking. Still it avoids the serious tone that dragged 30 Days of Night on for much too long.
Super Reviewer
½ June 21, 2008
A roving gang of psychotic vampires turn a young redneck into a fellow bloodsucker, but he doesn't take to the murderous nocturnal lifestyle as well as he might. For the first 2/3 this is an atmospheric and original tale about the internal politics of the clan, but for act three the director abruptly hits the reset button and turns it into a standard nosferatu hunt complete with randomly exploding vehicles.
Super Reviewer
½ January 11, 2008
Best Vampire film ever made.
Super Reviewer
½ October 28, 2007
It was refreshing to see a vampire film lacking all of the common clichés. This one felt real, or - if such a word can be used when discussing a vampire flick - realistic. Like, this is what it would actually be like were you ever turned into a vampire.

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.
Super Reviewer
October 19, 2006
Caleb: Hey Jesse, how old are you?
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.
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