Near Dark starts late one night in a small rural American town where a guy named Caleb (Adrian Pasdar) spots an attractive woman named Mae (Jenny Wright), he introduces himself to her & they hit it off so Caleb offers her a lift home. On the way Mae stresses that she needs to be home before dawn but Caleb is insistent on at least a kiss, Mae bites his neck & runs off. As Caleb staggers home the sun begins to rise & his skin starts to burn, suddenly a large motor home pulls up in front of him, the occupants pull Caleb inside & drive off. Caleb's kidnappers turn out to be a dysfunctional family of Vampires, Jesse (Lance Henriksen) & Diamondback (Jenette Goldstein) are head of the family while Homer (Joshua John Miller), Severen (Bill Paxton) &, of course, Mae are their Vampire offspring. Caleb is slowly turning into a Vampire & soon discovers that he must kill other's so that he may drink their blood. As one might expect Caleb isn't keen on the idea & sets out to return home to his proper family...
Co-written & directed by Kathryn Bigelow Near Dark is an excellent film. The script by Bigelow & Eric Red builds the character's superbly to a point where you care for them, a unusual thing in a horror film. The way the tale is told is also refreshingly different to the usual Vampire film, the way we follow Caleb turning into a Vampire & the obvious problems that would bring are well developed & put across. The way Near Dark portrays the Vampire existence as desperate moving from one motel to another trying to avoid capture & the brutality of their lives as they stick together & try to survive. There are no traditional Vampire hunters, no garlic or stakes through the heart as it brings the Vampire right up to date & presents them as cold, sadistic blood drinking creatures of the night rather than the romanticised suave figures painted by some films. Near dark moves along at a reasonable pace but since the writing is so good I didn't mind the odd slow patch, it grips & engages & most importantly it entertains. The only real negative is the quickness & ease in which Caleb & Mae are cured of Vampirism in a 'live happily ever after' type Hollywood ending.
Director Bigelow does a great job, Near Dark has style, a great story & atmosphere. Near Dark may not be the goriest film ever but it sure is brutal, from very gory shoot outs to a vicious & sadistic scene in a bar when a couple of people have their throats slit.
With a budget of about $5,000,000 Near Dark is a very competent film & well made throughout with high production values. The acting is first class & reunites three cast members from Aliens (1986), the always watchable & excellent Henriksen, the underused Goldstein & the fantastic Paxton who could probably say the most boring line of dialogue ever & still make it sound cool, virtually everything this guy says instantly becomes quotable.
Near Dark is an excellent Vampire film that has a great story, good action & nice performances. What more can I say? Go watch it!
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