The Late Show
USA, 2010, 96 min
Martin and Mister are two of the few remaining survivors of a global apocalypse caused by rampaging (and ravenous) vampire zombies, the toughest of which can be killed only by a stake through the base of the skull. Martin (Gossip Girl’s Connor Paolo) is a somewhat naïve teenager who watched his family get wiped out by the beasts, while Mister (cowriter Nick Damici) is a grizzled loner and vamp-killing expert with a car pimped out like the Road Warrior’s. Headed north to New Eden, the rumored encampment of remaining humans, the pair runs afoul of a marauding band of religious zealots called the Brethren, led by a nasty piece of work named Jebediah (an exceedingly creepy Michael Cerveris). As the two dodge crazed cultists and vicious vampires, they also come across small outposts of humanity, including a few folks (Top Gun’s Kelly McGillis among them) who want to join their caravan to the possibly apocryphal New Eden. Though firmly in the vein of take-no-prisoners horror classics, Stake Land also offers a visually gritty dystopian tale in which human beings are worse than the monsters running amok. With nary a moment wasted, this is lean, mean filmmaking with a powerful bite.