Silver Screen Resolution, Take Two: Near Dark

For my 2018 Resolution Project, I decided to take a page out of Lane’s book and do my own Silver Screen Resolution (hence the Take Two part of the title). There are a lot of movies out there I haven’t seen but feel like I should have, or movies that I’ve simply wanted to see and have yet to get around to it. With a deadline of some kind, now I’ll have to finally make a point to find them, get them, and watch them. My rules for the resolution are slightly different in that:

  1. They must be spec-fic (this has not changed).
  2. The movie will not be one that is in theaters or that would be part of a Sound Off!
  3. They don’t have to be popular — or even something folks have heard about.

But I’ve decided to take my resolution to the next level as well, since I had more than 12 movies on my list that I wanted to see. And since we’re in “Take Two” mode, I might as well up the ante: I will instead be seeing two spec fic movies per month rather than just one. And first up is Near Dark.

Ever since Carey mentioned Near Dark in her October list of vampire movies, I’ve wanted to see it. I mean, Bill Paxton, Lance Hendrikson, and my favorite badass herself, Jenette Goldstein. Three awesome people straight from Aliens? Yes, please!

Mild spoilers ahead


The story begins in small-town Oklahoma. Where folks wear cowboy boots and hats, and they own farms and cattle — not your typical setting for a vampire story. Caleb (Adrian Pasdar) is just your average guy going out for a drink or two before spotting a pretty girl named Mae on the street. He puts on the charm, and despite her odd mix of interested and stand-offish behavior, agrees to give her a ride home. Unfortunately for him, Mae is a vampire who can’t quite resist giving Caleb a nip.

We all know what happens after that — once you’ve been bitten by a vampire, you’ve got some problems. Especially when the sun comes up. Poor Caleb starts getting burned pretty badly before being abducted by Mae’s vampire “family” right in front of his father and sister. Here he meets the head of the group, Jesse (Hendrikson) as well as Jesse’s main squeeze Diamondback (Goldstein), the highly unpredictable and psychotic Severen (Paxton), and a very old vampire stuck in the body of a child, Homer (Joshua Miller). Unlike other vampires in movies, they live the less-than-glamorous life, looking more like homeless folk living out of an old RV (which, I guess, technically they were) where they’ve taped up the windows to avoid the sun. They’re less than thrilled to see Mae’s made Caleb into a vampire, but they’re determined to get him to give in and eat some people.

None of it goes according to plan.

It’s not a very long movie at only 94 minutes, which is a shame because I felt it could have been even better with a bit of additional fleshing out. It’s fun, to be sure, but I can see why Lost Boys beat this movie out in terms of popularity. It feels like it’s lacking something, and even now I can’t exactly put my finger one it. It just needed…more. Despite some of the action, which is intense when it shows up, for the most part it’s a slower sort of movie. And some things aren’t explained very well. Such as why Jesse and Diamondback make such a drastic decision at the end.

On the flipside, it’s most certainly a different kind of vampire movie. It’s very atmospheric, which I feel like is a thing that Katheryn Bigelow does as a director. Looking at The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, she certainly has a thing for quiet but poignant moments. And I really, really liked some of the burned vampire moments and effects. The makeup artists did a bang-up job on those. Bill Paxton as Severen was a delight. That man knows how to be batshit crazy. There’s always one individual that not only loves being a vampire, but relishes the violence and blood that he has the power to create. It’s the sort of role that you can tell he probably had a good time doing. Everyone as a whole did a fine job with their respective roles, and I did like the concept of drifter vampires. Personally, I’m tired of the decadent, perfect vampires that no one can resist. Here we’re treated to hardcore, traveling in sunlight in a crappy vehicle, not-at-all-pretty vampires. Hell, the lost boys and this group would enjoy each other’s company, and together they’d eat Edward Cullen for breakfast.

Sadly, this movie seems to be hard to find these days. I got lucky in that the inter-library loan system worked out, and I was sent a copy. The end is a big of a surprise (you might giggle to yourself like I did), but I’m always a sucker for happy endings so it worked out for me. I say if you get the chance to see it, go for it. Be ready for blood and violence, the occasional crispy vampire, and a vampire movie that sets itself apart from the rest.

Images courtesy IMDB.com.

4 Comments

  • Carey Ballard January 18, 2018 at 2:18 am

    I’M SO PROUD! Seriously, though. I’m glad you enjoyed it. It’s a hell of a vampire flick. Bigelow is one of my favorite directors.

    Reply
  • Nicole Taft January 18, 2018 at 9:27 pm

    It was definitely fun! I loved Bill Paxton in this.

    Reply
  • Shara White January 18, 2018 at 10:05 pm

    I so want to watch this one day. Come on, Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime!

    Reply
    • Carey Ballard January 19, 2018 at 12:38 am

      I think you have to hunt it down for the true cult film experience. 😀 😀

      Reply

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