Caleb, a young cowboy out for a night of fun, meets Mae, a beautiful and mysterious young girl with whom he becomes instantly besotted. Mae is a strange young woman who runs off at the first sign of daylight...but not before biting Caleb on the throat. As the sun rises higher and Caleb finds himself suddenly sick and getting steadily worse, a van load of drifters stop and all but kidnap him within sight of his father and younger sister. In the van is Mae and her "family" - a group of outlaw vampires who are not too thrilled with the addition of Caleb to their group. Led by 300+ year old Jesse, his woman Diamondback and the brutal Severen, the vampires reluctantly show Caleb the ropes as they drift across the Midwest. But Caleb's father and sister are looking for him, and soon Caleb will have to choose between his old family and his new one.
This is a stunningly innovative and brutally bloody vampire film which never once uses the word "vampire." The dirty, cruel, white trash bloodsuckers could be anyone on the run from the law. This is almost more of a crime spree/road story a la "Natural Born Killers" than a horror movie, and this is exactly what makes it so effective. Stand out scenes include a slaughter at a honky tonk and a shootout at a hotel in the daylight hours. The characters are all well-drawn and complex and the stark scenery throughout - filled with dust and desert and not much else - just adds to the overwhelming sense of isolation, emptiness and death. The murders are incredibly sadistic and gruesome and should please gore fans. The ending - though it disappointed many - is simplistic and surprisingly upbeat, just adding to the grim fairy tale mood of the story. 9 on a scale of 10 for this powerful, desolate vampire tale.
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