Near Dark Review 1

Director: Kathryn Bigelow

Year: 1987

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

Running time: 94mins

From a simple plot the film quickly branches out into something much stranger. We meet Caleb who pursues a girl called Mae (Jenny Wright) and they seem to get on well. After Mae gets really anxious about getting home before sunrise Caleb attempts to force the position and gets bitten on his neck and then Mae runs off leaving Caleb on his own. Something starts to happen to Caleb as he stumbles home and the sun is rising, his skins starts to react to the sunshine and begins to smoke. Within sight of home, and his family, Caleb gets picked up by a speeding RV and driven off.

What then occurs is really Caleb’s fight to return home whilst at the same time being drawn back into his new “family”. It seems important that Caleb never gives in to the urge to feed, to kill. He maintains his purity, untainted by the taking of blood from another human, although he does feed off Mae and we get sexual connotations related to these scenes. The rest of the “family” are hardcore vampires. They don’t give a damn about killing or feeding off others, in fact it becomes quite obvious that they enjoy the killing, even if just for fun.

Jesse is the father figure, wizened and aged he has seen it all;

Severen is young and abrasive, full of gusto and mouth;

Diamondback (Jenette Goldstein) is the motherly influence but still a cold hearted killer if she wants to be;

Homer (Joshua Miller) is the baby of the bunch, turned when he was still a boy but even he is also ruthless when it comes to feeding.


The Vampire Gang (l-r: Jesse, Mae, Diamondback, Homer)

The best scene in the film by far is when they enter a bar to feed and to try to get Caleb to kill for the first time. Severen (Bill Paxton) is all bravado and machismo wrapped up in cockiness, and when he is in full flow he is a sight to behold. Knowing that he is nigh on invincible gives him the space to play with his targets before ending them, and he enjoys it immensely.

Not quite the ending for the vampire gang I was hoping it would be but it is a very entertaining vampire film, without any teeth on show! It dawned on me (no pun intended) that this is actually a love story between Caleb and Mae, two star-crossed lovers from opposing houses…. sounds familiar!

Horror Rating:     
Overall Rating:    ½

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