Director Jim Mickle’s second feature effort is an inventive, apocalyptic tale that sees the bleakness of The Road mingled with the bloody horror of 28 Days Later.
It’s an intriguing watch, particularly when the narrative attempts to explore how religion would play a part in the carnage and anarchy of a dying American population.
The action centres around a teenage boy (Connor Paolo, probably best known to most viewers as Eric from Gossip Girl) and his mentor (co-writet Nick Damici) as they slay vampire-zombie monsters on their way to a safer part of the continent.
The bloody vampire attacks do become routinely predictable, but the script still leaves room for some tender characterisation. There’s a particularly affecting performance from Kelly McGillis as a nun who is the victim of sexual violence from the savages who run riot across the country.
Jeff Grace’s music score does jar a little, as does the abrupt ending, but this is still an admirable and interesting addition to an already crowded genre.
Stake Land (2010), directed by Jim Mickle, is available on Blu-ray disc and DVD (released 17 October 2011), distributed by Metrodome Distribution Ltd, Certificate 15. Prospective viewers may wish to read the consumer advice from the British Board of Film Classification.