THE PLOT THUS FAR
Martin was a normal teenage boy before the country collapsed in an empty pit of economic and political disaster. A vampire epidemic has swept across what is left of the nation’s abandoned towns and cities, and it’s up to Mister, a death dealing, rogue vampire hunter, to get Martin safely north to Canada, the continent’s New Eden.
WHAT WE THOUGHT
The enigmatic father figure and teacher, Mister, the film quickly flashes back to a vicious encounter between Martins family and the horrific vampires. Sticking with most of the rules of the vampire myth, it is soon established that stakes and sunlight are still useful in this tale of vamp vs human conflict. The pace is deliberately slow and the film painstakingly constructs a very authentic feeling vision of post-apocalyptic America. Guarded communities living in fear while supplies dwindle, drinking and sleeping together in packed bars until the sun rises and religious nutjobs taking over the wilderness to rape and murder as they please. It is this rendering of the Christian crazies that strikes the biggest false note in the story, feeling over-blown and too simple for the subtleties of much of the rest of the story and character drawing.
Some surviving factions of humans believe that God has sent the vampires to punish humanity and it is these that pose almost as much danger to our band of travellers as the dangerous breeds of vampire that stalk them. These cults are a welcome addition to the film, enhancing the aspect of danger and providing the basis for some of the film’s more memorable moments in a standout scene where a supposedly safe town is assaulted from the air. The initially nameless main character has his life turned upside down at the start of the movie, however, we do not get to see how the whole world initially turned upside down, and the cause of the vampire’s origins is rarely touched upon. His story is told through countless monologues that overlay the fantastic imagery of sparse vistas and urban decay, creating a sense of scale that is far beyond what we see on the screen. Whilst the other characters we meet do not have enough time to develop fully, they all play an essential part in the story, and although some scenes could have been far more powerful if the audience were affected by their plight, the suspense was enough to keep me on my edge of the seat throughout.
The Blu-Ray comes with two commentaries, featurettes and those delightful prequel shorts. If you remember how heavily we promoted the film during its arthouse theatrical release, you might remember the character prequels directed by related crew about some of the untouched upon elements of “Stake World”. It was a neat attempt at world-building on the indie cinema scale. The A/V Quality is pretty sharp too, but I found that a lot of background action got muddled during heavy action scenes. The uncompressed HD audio track was amazing and helped to sell the vampire kills with great ease. The Toronto Festival promo items and related material were fun, as they offered up a video diary take on selling a genre movie to the masses. I’d recommend a purchase.
RELEASE DATE: 08/02/2011