Thursday, August 9, 2012

My Crappy Review: Near Dark (1987)

I can't help but wonder what could have happened to Near Dark, if The Lost Boys wasn't released. It was the late 80's. The hair was big, the jackets were denim, and vampires were on the brink of being cool again. Near Dark is by no means a perfect film, but I found the story more interesting than the much played out "too cool for school" vampires of The Lost Boys.

In Near Dark, the vampires are dirty, gritty, and overall more interesting. Plus, Kathryn Bigelow directs Bill Paxton, Lance Henriksen, and Tangerine Dream does the soundtrack. Should I say more? I should, because this is an unusual take on the vampire movie. Bigelow uses the modern day vampire story and blends it with the tropes of a western film, which is both a strength and a weakness. It's ambitious and in turn suffers from being laid out too thin. There is some great tension and the bar scene is iconic, but overall, the film feels rushed. The characters, not fully realized. The ending, interesting, but not earned.

Near Dark begins as Caleb (Adrian Pasdar) meets a beautiful girl, Mae, in his small town. He wastes little time in getting to know her, this is young love after all, and also discovers that things aren't quite right with Mae. In fact, Mae is a vampire and her family happen to be vampires too. Vampires who live in a van.

In a moment of passion, Mae bites Caleb only to begin the transformation for him to become a vampire. A grueling, sweaty, not fun, process. Once Caleb makes it through, the party really starts.

While it's not a perfect movie, it is quite fun to watch Bill Paxton go full Nic Cage in a particular bar scene. Near Dark is a nice entry to the vampire genre.

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