Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Horror Movie Review: Near Dark

Near Dark

Starring: Adrian Pasdar, Jenny Wright, Lance Henriksen, Bill Paxton, and Jenette Goldstein

Directed by: Kathryn Bigelow

Written by: Kathryn Bigelow and Eric Red

Production Companies: F/M and Near Dark Joint Venture

Awards: Silver Raven Award at the 1988 Brussels International Festival of Fantasy Film

Release Date: October 2, 1987

Vampire films are a dime a dozen, so finding one that really stands out is hard. So I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered the fantastic movie Near Dark, and shocked that it took over 20 years before I came across it.

Near Dark follows Caleb, played by Adrian Pasdar better known for his role as Nathan Patrelli in "Heroes". Caleb meets new girl in town Mae (Jenny Wright). He falls for her and things seem to go well until she bites him and runs off as dawn approaches.

As Caleb heads home, he begins to feel sick as the sun rises. Before he makes it home, he's abducted by a strange band of nomads. It's soon discovered that the group are vampires, and now so too is Caleb.

Now a part of the blood-sucking brood, Caleb has to learn how to be a killer or Jesse (Lance Henriksen), the head of the clan is going to kill him.

Meanwhile, Caleb's family is searching for him. Will Caleb become a killer? And what will happen when Caleb's old family and new family meet?

Near Dark drops the more magical elements of vampirism such as turning into bats and controlling fog and such. They are still very strong, though this isn't used much, and resistant to injury even spitting bullets out that have been shot into their lungs. They also don't age as Jesse mentions having fought in the Civil War.

Near Dark isn't played for scares, but drama. There's pretty good use of gore, but it basically abandons the typical trappings of horror films, making this a compelling story of love and staying true to yourself.

Bill Paxton, as usual, steals the show as the sadistic Severen. And fans of James Cameron's Aliens will enjoy seeing Lance Henriksen, Bill Paxton, and Jenette Goldstein who played Bishop, Hudson, and Vasquez respectively.

This is a long forgotten gem worth seeking out. Especially since a remake is in the works for a 2012 release.

Related Trailers

Grey Knight

Adrian Pasdar starred in The Killing Box, released on video as Ghost Brigade and as a director's cut entitled Grey Knight. Slave traders bring back an evil voodoo entity that is accidently freed by the Confederate army during the Civil War. The entity possesses the bodies of the dead soldiers to create an army of its own bent on conquest, using the corpses of both the North and South. Grey Knight also featured Corben Burnsen, Billy Bob Thornton, Martin Sheen, and David Arquette.

I, Madman

Jenny Wright also starred in 1989's I, Madman. Virginia works at a used book store. She's really into horror novels and discovers a really good book. It's called "I, Madman" and it's about an insane doctor who cuts off people's noses, ears, and hair and puts them on his face to please a girl he likes. Only Virginia discovers that the book is nonfiction, and every time she picks up the book to read it, she sees him. The insane doctor from the book has escaped the book into our reality.

Man's Best Friend

Lance Henriksen has appeared in many horror movies including Man's Best Friend with Ally Sheedy. A genetically mutated dog is accidentally released from the lab of Dr. Jarret and ends up at the home of news reporter/animal rights advocate Lori Tanner. The dog, Max, endowed with intelligence and other special abilities, is at first lovable, but also proves to be a ferocious, unstoppable killer.

Brain Dead

Bill Paxton starred alongside Bill Pullman in Brain Dead. Dr. Rex Martin is a leading neurosurgeon specializing in the cerebral misfunctions that cause mental illnesses, whose expertise is called up by an old school chum, Jim Reston, who is now part of the mega-corporation Eunice. Reston needs Dr. Martin's help in extracting crucial data from the mind of John Halsey, once a top mathematician at Eunice, now paranoid in the local asylum. Can Dr. Martin help both Halsey and his friend, or is he getting caught up in a corporate nightmare from which he may never escape?


Jenette Goldstein also starred in 2008's Autopsy. A young woman tries to find her injured boyfriend in a bizzare and dangerous hospital.


Bill Paxton, Lance Henriksen, and Jenette Goldstein all featured in Aliens.

The Hitcher

Eric Red also wrote The Hitcher. A young man who escaped the clutches of a murderous hitch-hiker is subsequently stalked, framed for the hitcher's crimes, and has his life made into hell by the same man he escaped.

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